The Mythmaker: Paul & the Invention of Christianity. Hyam Maccoby.
Harper & Row, 1986.
Now here’s a paradox: how can someone so obviously prejudiced, who is not ashamed to take cheap shots during the course of his argument and who hypothesizes so imaginatively, still be able to write a persuasive book? Strange but true. Maccoby’s main contentions are ones which require further research on my part:
1. Paul was not a Pharisee
2. Jesus was a Pharisee
3. Contemporary Jews saw nothing strange or wrong about Jesus or his teachings
4. Paul created modern Christianity against the wishes (and the Jewish practices) of the Jerusalem Christian Church
5. Paul created modern Christianity by blending elements of Gnosticism, mystery cults, and Judaism.
Maccoby’s strength lies in his (claimed) understanding of the Jews and Pharisee of the time. His argument also carries, because the only text he uses to any significant degree is the N.T. itself. I must find the fully annotated & referenced version called Paul, Pharisaism, and Gnosticism.