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By Daniel Boyarin

Daniel Boyarin turns to the Epistles of Paul because the religious autobiography of a first-century Jewish cultural critic. What led Paul—in his dramatic conversion to Christianity—to this sort of radical critique of Jewish culture?

Paul's well-known formula, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, no female and male in Christ," demonstrates the genius of Christianity: its trouble for everybody. The genius of Judaism is its validation of family tree and cultural, ethnic distinction. however the evils of those idea structures are the obverse in their geniuses: Christianity has threatened to coerce universality, whereas ethnic distinction is likely one of the such a lot afflicted matters in glossy history.

Boyarin posits a "diaspora id" to be able to negotiate the pitfalls inherent in both place. Jewishness disrupts different types of identification since it isn't nationwide, genealogical, or perhaps non secular, yet all of those, in dialectical pressure with each other. it's analogous with gender: gender identification makes us diversified in many ways yet now not in others.

An exploration of those tensions within the Pauline corpus, argues Boyarin, will lead us to a richer appreciation of our personal cultural quandaries as female and male, homosexual and immediately, Jew and Palestinian—and as human beings.

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