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Paul's Three Paths to Salvation
Gabriele Boccaccini
Foreword by David Bentley Hart

HARDCOVER; Published: 9/29/2020
ISBN: 978-0-8028-3921-3
Price: $ 33.99
200 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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“We no longer need to separate Paul from Judaism in order to claim his Christianness,” writes Gabriele Boccaccini, “nor do we need to separate him from the early Jesus movement in order to state his Jewishness.” With this guiding principle Boccaccini unpacks the implications of Paul’s belonging simultaneously to Judaism and Christianity to arrive at the surprising and provocative conclusion that there are in fact three paths to salvation: 

  1. For Jews, adherence to Torah.
  2. For gentiles, good works according to conscience and natural law.
  3. For all sinners, forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Three Paths to Salvation is an attempt to reconcile the many facets of Paul’s complex identity while reclaiming him from accusations of intolerance. Boccaccini’s work in reestablishing Paul as a messenger of God’s mercy to sinners is an important contribution to the ongoing conversation about Paul’s place in the contemporary pluralistic world.

Table of Contents

Foreword by David Bentley Hart
1. Paul the Jew and Paul the Christian
2. Paul the Convert Who Never Converted
3. Paul the Apocalyptic Jew
4. Paul the Messianic Jew
5. The Eschatological Gift of Forgiveness
6. The Divine Christology of Paul the Jew
7. Justified by Faith, Judged by Works
8. Paul the Apostle to the Lost Sheep among the Nations
9. Paul the Herald of God’s Mercy toward Sinners

“I find much to admire in Gabriele Boccaccini’s attempt to reconstruct Paul’s own vision of salvation. . . . This is a splendid and necessary book.”
— David Bentley Hart
from the foreword
“Thanks in large part to the efforts of Gabriele Boccaccini, New Testament scholarship today is busy interpreting Paul within Second Temple Judaism. The interesting work now is in the details: sorting out which features of traditional interpretations can stand and which need to be revised or jettisoned. In this fascinating book, Boccaccini threads this needle in his own inimitable way: Augustine and Luther rightly perceived Paul’s preoccupation with divine grace, but they did not comprehend the apostle’s taxonomy of Jews, gentiles, and sinners, a taxonomy at home in the ancient Jewish apocalypses. Anyone interested in the Paul-within-Judaism debates really must read this book.”
— Matthew V. Novenson
University of Edinburgh
“Gabriele Boccaccini’s focus on the topic of ‘salvation’ in Paul’s texts arguably plays to a traditional Christian theological preoccupation, but one considered less relevant in traditional Jewish studies. However, Boccaccini’s expertise in Second Temple Jewish apocalypticism, Enochic traditions in particular, combined with a commitment to read Paul within Judaism, warrants reconsideration of the potential relevance for both Christian and Jewish research. The investigation undertaken helpfully demonstrates the wisdom of his introductory assertion: ‘The recognition [from a Paul-within-Judaism perspective] that Paul was and remained all his life a Jew and a Torah-observant Jew cannot be taken as the conclusion of our inquiry; it is only the starting point.’”
— Mark D. Nanos
University of Kansas
“In this very accessible book, Boccaccini opens up a fresh look on the debates on Paul. His wide knowledge of Second Temple Judaism and his focus on Enochic traditions helps to overcome the impasses of the current debate on “Paul Within Judaism.” With his provoking view that for Paul, Christ is not the only path of salvation, nor one of two different paths (for Jews and gentiles), but a third path, for sinners, Jew and gentiles alike, Boccaccini opens up a fresh angle for the discussion. He wisely avoids any ideological one-sidedness and helps to perceive the tensions in Paul’s thought.”
— Jörg Frey
University of Zurich
“Boccaccini has suggested a creative new path for understanding Paul that does not require slandering Judaism, and this engaging book deserves to be part of the ongoing conversation.”
The Journal of Theological Studies
“Exemplifies the fruitfulness of reading Paul within Judaism.”
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
“Offers a bold and sweeping re-reading of Paul’s view of salvation.”