Paperback and E-book publication

Paul, a Hellenistic Jew? - Peter van 't Riet - 2020
Paul's Youth and Early Years, Volume 1

A book about the Hellenistic-Jewish character of the Letters of Paul.
Translation: Dick Broeren Sr.
Paperback edition ISBN/EAN: 978-90-76783-54-3.
E-book edition ISBN/EAN: 978-90-76783-54-3.
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Cover Luke the JewMany scholars and readers of the Bible have a romantic image of Paul: born in a pious Jewish family, educated in Jerusalem at the feet of the famous Pharisaic scholar Gamliel and fluently speaking Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin. However, does this fit in with the data from the genuine letters of Paul?

In this book the author shows that the above mentioned image of Paul is especially derived from the Acts of the Apostles, in which the evangelist Luke has adapted the image of Paul to his own almost Pharisaic idea of the messianic time. In contrast however, Paul himself presents a completely different Christology (doctrine about Christ) in his letters. His language and way of thinking are more cognate with the Hellenistic, Greek speaking Judaism of his days.

The author discusses successively: 1) Hellenism, the dominant culture of the Greek-Roman world of those days; 2) the Hellenistic Judaism of the Diaspora, which differed greatly from the Aramaic Judaism of Jesus and his early disciples; 3) the Septuagint, the Greek Bible translation, which had already existed about 300 years in the days of Paul and which deviated in many respects from the Hebrew Bible.

Next the author researches what of these three phenomena could be found in the letters of Paul. Which turned out to be a lot more than he presumed at the start of his research. The Hellenistic Judaism is so intertwined with Paul’s thought that the most obvious conclusion is that Paul has spent his youth and early years in a Hellenistic-Jewish milieu. This background clarifies many difficult passages in the letters of Paul and leads to a better understanding of his theology.

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