The Mythmaker. Paul and the Invention of Christianity

Maccoby H.

Maccoby’s account of Paul is nothing short of a thorough shredding. If Paul was a trained Pharisee, why don’t his arguments have the sound logical structure he should have learned in Pharisee School? Isn’t there something a little funny about the way Paul whipped out Roman citizenship papers whenever he got into trouble? And just what was the nature of the famous disagreement between Peter and Paul? Maccoby’s Paul was, in short, a cunning rogue who pieced together a new religion from bits of this and that, and then dressed the whole thing up with a sprinkling of out-of-context Torah quotations. Does he denigrate Paul too far? Perhaps. Does he fail to account adequately for the rise of Christianity? Perhaps. But can we ever read the letters of Paul the same way again after Maccoby has scrutinized them? Undoubtedly not. Agree or disagree, Maccoby’s volume makes a strong counterargument to those who, having reclaimed Jesus as a Jew, wish to extend the same courtesy to Paul. If this book becomes available again, grab a copy at once. And check out Maccoby’s other books as well.