Paul lies at the core of the constant debate about the opposition between Christianity and Judaism both in biblical interpretation and public discourse. The so-called new perspective on Paul has not offered a significant break from the formidable paradigm of Christian universalism versus Jewish particularism in Pauline scholarship. This book liberates Paul from the Western logic of identity and its dominant understanding of difference.
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. He applies it to interpret the dynamics of Jew-Gentile difference reflected particularly in meal practices (Galatians 2:1-21and Romans 14:1-15:13) of early Christian communities.
Paul and the Politics of Difference argues that by deconstructing the hierarchy of social relations underlying the Jew-Gentile difference in different community situations, Paul promotes a politics of difference. This affirms a preferential option for the socially ‘weak’ – solidarity with the weak. Paul’s politics of difference is invoked as the potential for liberation in a vision of egalitarian justice in the face of contemporary globalism’s proliferation of difference.