A Jewish View of Paul – A Skype Interview with Mark Nanos

I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Mark Nanos via Skype regarding his take on the Apostle Paul as summarized in the most recent “Counterpoints” volume edited by Michael Bird entitled “Four Views on the Apostle Paul.” Nanos presents a Jewish view of Paul that seeks to deal with why Judaism has viewed him in such a negative light and how the so-called ‘New Perspective on Paul‘ does not go far enough in their re-framing of the Apostle because they are still working from within the Christianity-versus-Judaism categories. For Nanos the problematic old understanding of a Lutheran Paul as fighting against a Judaism consisting of legalistic works-righteousness has been simply exchanged for a Paul fighting against a ‘Jewish ethnocentric exclusivism and particularism (p.162).’ Although this may be a helpful observation, there were still many questions that remained regarding many of Nanos’s interpretive decisions and some important places of neglect that are addressed in this particular interview. If you have 45 minutes to spare, you may want to check it out. I apologize for the poor video quality (the bad aspect ration cutting off the top of the screen, the sound, forgetting to move the mouse cursor off the screen, etc.) it’s my first time editing on iMovie.

A special thank you to Jonathan McLeod and Alex and Katy White for their outstanding collaborative effort on our group presentation on Nanos’s view on Paul for the Pauline Theology Seminar at Criswell College Fall 2012.

4 Replies to “A Jewish View of Paul – A Skype Interview with Mark Nanos”

  1. The problem with asking questions about ‘Jewish views’ on anything is that it presupposes one know what ‘Jewish’ is commonly understood.

    Here’s some (brief) biblical history to illustrate the point:

    God promises Abraham ‘a nation’ (Judah) and ‘a company of nations’ (Israel) – Gen 35.11
    Jacob and Esau (2 Hebrew boys) are born – Gen 25.25
    Esau sells his birthright to Jacob – Gen 25.29
    God ‘calls’ Jacob to ‘Israel’ – Gen 32.28
    Israel goes into Egypt – Gen 46.1
    Judah inherits the right to rule Israel (the nation) – Gen 49.10
    Joseph inherits the right to the name ‘Israel’ – Gen 48.15-16

    Saul becomes King of (all) Israel – 1 Sam 10.1
    Ishboleth becomes King of (all) Israel (not Judah) – 2 Sam 2.10
    David becomes King of (all) Israel – 2 Sam 5.3
    Solomon becomes King of (all) Israel – 1 King 1.39
    Rehoboam becomes King but the House of Israel rebels. Rehoboam is King of Judah only – 1 Kings 12.17
    Jeroboam becomes King of Israel – 1 Kings 12.20
    The Israelites wage war against the Jews – 2 Kings 16.6
    Israel is taken to Assyria – 2 Kings 17.6; 18.11, 1 Chron 5.26
    Judah is taken to Babylon – 2 Kings 24-25
    Judah returns from Babylon – Ezra 1.5
    Israel does not ….

    John Hyrcanus forcibly converts 12 tribes of Edom into the tiny House of Judah (3 tribes of Israel) making most ‘Jews’ Edomites (such as the King of the Jews Herod)

    (Is any of the above incorrect?)
    So if a ‘Jewish perspective’ likely means seeing Paul through the eyes of an Edomite, what value is there in that? Shouldn’t we be trying to see Paul though the eyes of an Israelite instead?

    That is, unless zone hasn’t a clue that Jewish, Israelite, Hebrew (House of Israel, House of Judah) are different things .. in which case why should we give that academic any consideration at all (not having carefully researched their subject)

    1. Enjoyed the video. Thanks, Mark D. Nanos does has interesting perspectives on Paul, which makes more sense than the Sunday school blabber I grew up with, but people tried I suppose.

      This previous comment that was left has completely fallen into the realm of ridicule for one obvious glaring fact: Where on earth did the person come to the nonsensical conclusion that there were 12 Edomite tribes at the time of the John Hyrcanus conquest? And how do they assume that Edom had a greater population than Judah? Such an irrational assumption appears to reek with the blatant anti-Semitic claim one finds viral on the net that ‘Modern Jews aren’t really Jews, but descendants of other people’.

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