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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Paul and the Politics of Diaspora
Charles, Ronald

Minneapolis: Fortress, 2014 pp. xii + 305. $39.00


Description: It is a commonplace today that Paul was a Jew of the Hellenistic Diaspora, but how does that observation help us to understand his thinking, his self-identification, and his practice? Ronald Charles applies the insights of contemporary diaspora studies to address much-debated questions about Paulís identity as a diaspora Jew, his complicated relationship with a highly symbolized ďhomeland,Ē the motives of his daily work, and the ambivalence of his rhetoric. Charles argues for understanding a number of important aspects of Paulís identity and work, including the ways his interactions with others were conditioned, by his diaspora space, his self-understanding, and his experience ďamong the nations.Ē Diaspora space is a key concept that allows Charles to show how Paulís travels and the collection project in particular can be read as a transcultural narrative. Understanding the dynamics of diaspora also allows Charles to bring new light to the conflict at Antioch (Galatians 1Ė2), Paulís relationships with the Gentiles in Galatia, and the fraught relationship with leaders in Jerusalem.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, Galatians, Literature, Methods, Other Methods

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Review by Don Garlington
Published 9/1/2016
Citation: Don Garlington, review of Ronald Charles, Paul and the Politics of Diaspora, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2016).


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