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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Reading Corinthians and Philippians within Judaism: Collected Essays of Mark D. Nanos
Nanos, Mark D.

Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2017 pp. xix + 208. $25.00

Description: The commentary tradition regarding 1 Corinthians unanimously identifies the "weak" as Christ-followers whose faith was not yet sufficient to indulge in the eating of idol food with indifference, as if ideally Paul wanted them to become "strong" enough to do so. Commentaries also do not hesitate to explain that Paul advised the Corinthians that he behaved like non-Jews (e.g., ate idol food) in order to win non-Jews to Christ, convinced that he was free from any obligation to observe Jewish covenantal behavior--except when he expediently chose to mimic Jewish behavior in order to win Jews to Christ. Similarly, commentators continue to conclude that in Philippians Paul called Jews "dogs" for upholding the value of undertaking circumcision, and that he renounced such identification as "mutilation." None of these interpretations likely represent what Paul meant originally, according to Nanos. Each essay explains why, and provides new alternatives for re-reading Paul's language "within Judaism." In this process, Nanos combines investigations of relevant elements from Jewish sources and from various Cynic and other Greco-Roman contemporaries, as well as the New Testament.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Phillipians, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Judaism, Theological Approaches, Comparative Religion, Judaism

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Review by Gregory Lamb
Published 5/28/2020
Citation: Gregory Lamb, review of Mark D. Nanos, Reading Corinthians and Philippians within Judaism: Collected Essays of Mark D. Nanos, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2020).


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