Paul and the Construction of Early Christian Identity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


E. P. Sanders’ reconstruction of ancient Judaism resulted in an increasing interest in Paul’s relation to Judaism. While scholars before Sanders commonly assumed that Paul converted to Christianity and thus developed a religious identity separate from Judaism, Sanders’ view of Judaism as a religion of grace forced scholars to problematize Paul’s relation to his religious identity. Three major scholarly trends can be distinguished. Some scholars maintain, in spite of Sanders, that Paul rejected Judaism and developed a ‘Christian’ identity of sorts. Others take an intermediate position, arguing that Paul only repudiated those parts of Jewish tradition that separated Jews from non-Jews while otherwise being basically faithful to his religious heritage. Finally and most recently, still other scholars argue that Paul remained fully Jewish after becoming a follower of Jesus and that, consequently, he never developed a religious identity separated from Judaism


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Religious Studies


Original languageSwedish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Pauline Studies
EditorsMatthew V. Novenson, R. Barry Matlock
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780191756573
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020 Jul 10
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks Online
PublisherOxford University Press