Paul lies at the core of the constant debate about the opposition between Christianity and Judaism in biblical interpretation and public discourse as well. The so-called new perspective on Paul has not offered a significant break from the formidable paradigm of Christian universalism vs. Jewish particularism in Pauline scholarship. This book seeks to liberate Paul from the Western logic of identity and its dominant understanding of difference, which tend to identify Pauline Christianity as its ally.
Drawing attention to the currency of discourses on difference in contemporary theories as well as in biblical studies, the author critically examines the hermeneutical relevance of a contextual and relational understanding of difference and applies it to interpret the dynamics of Jew-Gentile difference reflected particularly in meal practices (Galatians 2:1-21 and Romans 14:1–15:13) of early Christian communities.
This book argues that by deconstructing the hierarchy of social relations underlying the Jew-Gentile difference in different community situations, Paul promotes a politics of difference, which affirms a preferential option for the socially “weak,” that is, solidarity with the weak. Paul’s politics of difference is invoked as a liberative potential for the vision of egalitarian justice in the face of contemporary globalism’s proliferation of differences.