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August 15, 2012

CONTACT: Noah Wiener
The Biblical Archaeology Society
Phone: (202) 364-3300 ex. 241


WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 15, 2012)—The Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) presents its newest FREE eBook: Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity. In this latest publication from BAS, top Biblical scholars examine the controversial role of Jewish law and tradition in early Christianity. While Christianity was open to both Jews and Gentiles, some contended that converts had to first become Jews in order to become Christians. Others considered the outward signs of Judaism to be unnecessary for Christian life.

Paul, the author of much of the New Testament, discussed the role of Judaism among Jesus’ followers in a number of his letters. Although the Apostle Paul preached justification on the basis of faith in Christ, he was himself a Pharisee and addressed the role of Jewish traditions and the status of Israel in the new covenant.

This eBook considers the relevant writings of Paul and brings to light some of the difficult theological issues for Jews and Christians that persist to this day. The three-article collection drawn from Biblical Archaeology Review and Bible Review consists of the following:

“Paul’s Contradictions: Can They Be Resolved?” by Princeton University professor John G. Gager, looks at how the Apostle Paul seems to be at war with himself on the subject of Israel. Is there a way out of his contradictions? Yes, the author argues, but only if we first get past misconceptions about Paul that date to the earliest stages of Christianity—even to Paul’s own times.

“Laying Down the Law: A response to John Gager,” by Ben Witherington, III, professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, explores whether Paul preached the gospel of Jesus Christ for Christians alone—as John G. Gager proposed in Bible Review—or whether his message was intended for both Jews and Christians.

“Paul, ‘Works of the Law’ and MMT,” by Martin Abegg, professor and codirector of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute at Trinity Western University, Canada, examines how the Dead Sea Scroll known as MMT is valuable in helping us to understand the theology of the Apostle Paul. Abegg suggests MMT may represent—for the first time—the “works of the Law” decried by Paul in his letters to the Romans and Galatians.

This FREE eBook may be downloaded by visiting: