Professor Emerita William Goodwin; Aurelio Chair Emerita of the Appreciation of Scripture; Social and intellectual history of early Christianity

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Paula Fredriksen, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is Aurelio Professor of Scripture emerita at Boston University and Distinguished Visiting Professor emerita in the Department of Comparative Religions at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2018. Educated at Wellesley College, Oxford University and Princeton University, she has published widely on the social and intellectual history of ancient Christianity, and on pagan-Jewish-Christian relations in the Roman Empire. Author of Augustine on Romans (1982) and From Jesus to Christ  (1988; 2000), her Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews won the 1999 National Jewish Book Award. More recently, she has explored the development of Christian anti-Judaism, and Augustine’singular response to it, in Augustine and the Jews  (2010), and has investigated the shifting conceptions of God and of humanity in SIN: The Early History of an Idea (2012). Paul: The Pagans’ Apostle (2017), won the 2018 Prose Award from the American Publishers’ Association. Her most recent study, When Christians Were Jews (2018), places the Jesus movement’s Jewish messianic message within the wider world of ancient Mediterranean culture, politics, and power.

Current CV


When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation
By Paula Fredriksen
Yale University Press
October 23, 2018
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Paul- The Pagans’ ApostlePaul: The Pagans’ Apostle
By Paula Fredriksen
Yale University Press
August 22, 2017
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sinSin: The Early History of an Idea
By Paula Fredriksen
Princeton University Press
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Augustine and the JewsAugustine and the Jews
By Paula Fredriksen
Yale University Press


On Passion of ChristOn ‘The Passion of the Christ’: Exploring the Issues Raised by the Controversial Movie
By Paula Fredriksen
University of California Press
February 1, 2006
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From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus (Yale Nota Bene)
By Paula Fredriksen
Yale University Press; 2nd edition
November 1, 2000
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Jesus, Judaism, and Christian Anti-Judaism: Reading the New Testament After the Holocaust
By Paula Fredriksen, Adele Reinhartz
Westminster John Knox Press; 1st edition
November 1, 2002
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Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity
By Paula Fredriksen
Vintage Press
December 5, 2000
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Augustine on Romans
By Paula Fredriksen
Chico: Scholars Press
November 1, 1982
Buy it now from Society of Biblical Literature



  • RN 104 World Religions: Western
  • RN 202 From Jesus to Christ: Origins of Christianity
  • RN 301/601 Varieties of Ancient Christianity
  • RN 498/798: Topics in Ancient Christianity: Augustine on God, Time and the Bible
  • STH TT/TH 720 Development of Christian Thought (lecture/seminar)
  • STH TN 823 Jesus of Nazareth and Current Research (research seminar)

Current CV


What do Homer, Beethoven, and you have in common? Addressing the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2013 on the future of the Humanities, Paula Fredriksen explained:

The Spencer Trask Lectures at Princeton University were founded in 1881, and have featured scholars in a wide variety of areas, from Niels Bohr to Susan Sontag to Eric Hobsbaum to Alfred Kazin. In October 2007, PAULA FREDRIKSEN had a turn. Her three lectures on “Sin: The Early History of an Idea” provided an aerial survey of the vibrant vitality of the idea of sin in the first Christian centuries. For ancient Christians, an impulsive bite of fruit came to explain absolutely everything else, from the death of God’s son to the power politics of the empire that eventually worshiped him. The lectures will be transformed into a book, to be published by Princeton University Press.

“God, Blood, and the Temple”

“Flesh and the Devil”

“A Rivalry of Genius”



Christianity and Roman Society, by Gillian Clark.
Journal of Early Christian Studies 13 (2005) 530-53
“What Does it Mean, to Read Paul ‘Within Judaism’?”
Journal of Biblical Literature 141.2 (2022): 359-380.

Philo, Herod, Paul, and the Many Gods of Ancient Jewish ‘Monotheism
Harvard Theological Review 115.1 (2022): 23-45.

Paul, Pagans, and Eschatological Ethnicities: A Response to Denys McDonald.
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 45.1 (2022): 51-65.

Protestant Bible Scholarship Antisemitism, Philosemitism and Anti-Judaism Chapter 5 “Circumcision is Nothing” A Non-Reformation Reading of the Letters of Paul.
Protestant Bible Scholarship: Antisemitism, Philosemitism and Anti-Judaism, edited Argen Bakker, René Bloch, Yael Fisch, Paula Fredriksen, and Hindy Najman (Leiden: Brill JSJ Suppl. Series; 2022), 79-105.

OHPS Paul and Israel with Matthew Thiessen
Oxford Handbook of Pauline Studies, edited by Matthew V.  Novenson and Barry Matlock (New York: Oxford University Press), published on line October 2021.

Conversion as ‘Sea Change’: Re-thinking A.D. Nock’s Conversion,” Choice, Change, and Conversion: Celebrating Arthur Darby Nock.
edd. Robert Matthew Calhoun, James Kelhoffer and Clare K. Rothschild WUNT (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2021), 93-111.

“Al Tirah! (‘Fear Not!’): Jewish Apocalyptic Eschatology, From Schweitzer to Allison, and After.” “To Recover What Has Been Lost”: Essays on Eschatology, Intertextuality, and Reception History in Honor of Dale C. Allison, Jr.
edd. Tucker S. Ferda, Daniel Frayer-Griggs, and Nathan C. Johnson. NovTSup (Leiden: Brill, 2020), 15-38.

“How ‘High’ Can Early High Christology Be?” in Monotheism and Christology in Greco-Roman Antiquity
edited Matthew V. Novenson (Leiden: Brill, 2020), 293-319.

“Ethnic Eschatologies: A Response to Jennifer Eyl”; “Nostra Sententia and Historical Imagination: A Response to Brent Nongbri”; “Ad Astra: A Reply to Troels Engberg-Pedersen”; “No, Seriously: How Jewish Is God? A Response to Eric Barreto,” in SYNDICATE Symposium on Paul: The Pagans’ Apostle,
Matthew Thiessen. June/July 2020

“Origen and Augustine on Paul and the Law,” Law and Lawlessness in Early Judaism and Early Christianity.
edd. David Lincicum, Ruth Sheridan, and Charles Stang. WUNT (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2019), 67-87.

“How Jewish is God?” JBL 137 (2018)- 193-212

“Putting Paul in His (Historical) Place: A Response to James Crossley, Margaret Mitchell, and Matthew Novenson,” Journal of the Jesus Movement in it’s Jewish Setting, Issue 5 2018

“Jews, Judaism, and St. Stephen in Augustine’s City of God,” KAMPF ODER DIALOG? Begegung von Kulturen im Horizont von Augustins De civitate Dei, ed. Christof Müller (Würzburg: Echter Verlag, 2015), 293-306.

“If It Looks like a Duck, and It Quacks like a Duck. . . : On Not Giving Up the Godfearers,” A Most Reliable Witness. Essays in Honor of Ross Shepard Kraemer, edd. Susan Ashbrook Harvey et al. (Providence: Brown Judaic Series, 2016), 25-34.

“ ‘Are You a Virgin?’ Biblical Exegesis and the Invention of Tradition,” Jesus and Brian: Exploring the Historical Jesus and his Times via Monty Python’s Life of Brian, ed. Joan E. Taylor (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015): 151-65.

 “Why Should a ‘Law-Free’ Mission Mean a ‘Law-Free’ Apostle?” Journal of Biblical Literature 134.3 (2015): 637-50.

Paula Fredriksen and Oded Irshai, “Include Me Out: Tertullian, the Rabbis, and the Graeco-Roman City,” Identité a travers l’éthique, ed. K. Berthelot, R. Naiweld et D. Stoekl ben Ezra (Turnhout: Brepols 2015): 117-32.

“Arms and The Man: A Response to Dale Martin’s ‘Jesus in Jerusalem: Armed and Not Dangerous,’ ” JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 37.3 (2015): 312-25.

Paul, the 10 Commandments, and Pagan ‘Justification by Faith.

“How Later Contexts Affect Pauline Content, or: Retrospect is the Mother of Anachronism,” in, Jews and Christians in the First and Second Centuries: How to Write Their History, edd. Peter J. Tomson and Joshua Schwartz. CRINT 13 (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 17-51.

“Jewish Romans, Christian Romans, and the Post-Roman West: The Social Correlates of the contra Iudaeos Tradition,” Conflict and Religious Conversation in Latin Christendom: Studies in Honour of Ora Limor, ed. Israel Yuval and Ram Ben-Shalom (Brepols 2014) 17-38.

Review of David Nirenberg’s  Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition.

The Confessions as Autobiography,” Blackwell Companion to Augustine, ed. Mark Vessey. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2012) 87-98.

“2010 Saint Augustine Lecture: Augustine on Jesus the Jew,” Augustinian Studies42.1 (2011): 1-20.

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Review of The Jewish Annotated New Testament, edd. A-J Levine and Marc Z. Brettler; The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ, by Daniel Boyarin; and Kosher Jesus, by Shmuley Boteach. Jewish Review of Books 3.1, Spring 2012: 22-24.

“Judaizing the Nations: The Ritual Demands of Paul’s Gospel,” New Testament Studies 56 (2010):232-252

“Historical Integrity, Interpretive, Freedom: The Philosopher’s Paul and the Problem of Anachronism”
St. Paul Among the Philosophers, Edited by John D. Caputo and Linda Martin Alcoff. (Indiana University Press, 2009) 61-73

“Mandatory Retirement: Ideas in the Study of Christian Origins whose Time Has Come to Go”
Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 35 (2006) 231-246.

“Christianity and Anti-Judaism in Late Antiquity: Polemics and Policies, from the Second to the Seventh Centuries”
With Oded Irshai. The Cambridge History of Judaism, Volume 4: The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period, edited Steven T. Katz (Cambridge: The University Press 2006) 977-1035.

“Compassion Is to Purity as Fish Is to Bicycle. Thoughts on the Construction of ‘Judaism’ in Current Research on the Historical Jesus”
Apocalypticism, Anti-Semitism, and the Historical Jesus: Subtexts in Criticism, ed. J.S. Kloppenborg and J.W. Marshall. Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Supplement Series 275 (London: T & T Clark International 2005) 55-68.

“Preface,” “Gospel Truths: Hollywood, History, and Christianity”
On THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, ed. P. Fredriksen (Berkeley: University of California Press 2005) xi-xxiii; 31-47.

“Paul, Purity, and the Ekklesia of the Gentiles”
The Beginnings of Christianity, ed. R. Pastor and M. Mor (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Tzvi 2005) 205-217.

“Christians in the Roman Empire in the first three centuries AD”
Companion to the Roman Empire, edited David Potter (Oxford: Blackwell 2006) 587-606.

Christian Theology and Judaism”
The First Christian Theologians, ed. G.F. Evans (Blackwell Publishing 2004) p85-101

“What ‘Parting of the Ways?’ Jews and Gentiles in the Ancient Mediterranean City”
The Ways that Never Parted: Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, ed. A.H. Becker, and A. Yoshiko Reed (Tubingen: Mohr 2003): p35-63

“What Does Jesus Have To Do With Christ?”
Christology: Memory, Inquiry, Practice, ed. A.M. Clifford and A.J. Godzieba (Maryknoll N.Y.: Orbis Press 2003) p3-17

“Gods and the One God”
Bible Review (February 2003) 12, 49

“Augustine on God and Memory”
Obliged by Memory : literature, religion, ethics , ed. Alan Rosen (Syracuse: University of Syracuse Press 2005)

“Why was Jesus Crucified, but his Followers were not?”
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 29.4 (2007): 415-419

“The Birth of Christianity and the Origins of Christian Anti-Judaism”
Jesus, Judaism, and Christian Anti-Judaism: Reading the New Testament after the Holocaust, ed. P. Fredriksen and A. Reinhartz (Westminster/John Knox Press 2002) 8-30.

“Paul at the Races”
Bible Review (June 2002) 12, 42

“Dining with the Divine”
Bible Review (October 2002) p14,62

“Augustine and Israel: Interpretatio ad litteram, Jews, and Judaism in Augustine’s Theology of History”
Studia Patristica XXXVIII (2001): p119-135

“Lambs Into Lions”
Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance by H.A. Drake, The New Republic (Johns Hopkins University Press 2001 p35-38)

“Ultimate Reality in Ancient Christianity: Christ and Redemption”
Ultimate Realities: A Study of the Comparison of Religious Ideas, ed. Robert C. Neville, John Berthrong and Peter Berger, (S.U.N.Y. Press 2000) p133-156

“Patristic Prama and Pramana: Augustine and the Quest for Truth”
Religious Truth: A Study in the Comparison of Religious Ideas, ed. Robert C. Neville et al. (S.U.N.Y. Press 2000) p109-126

“Allegory and Reading God’s Book: Paul and Augustine on the Destiny of Israel”
Interpretation and Allegory, ed. Jon Whitman (Leiden: E.J. Brill 2000) 125-149

“Embodiment and Redemption: The Human Condition in Ancient Christianity”
The Human Condition: A Study of the Comparison of Religious Ideas, ed. Robert C. Neville, John Berthrong and Peter Berger, (S.U.N.Y. Press 2000) p133-156

“Secundum Carnem: History and Israel In The Theology of St. Augustine”
The Limits of Ancient Christianity. Essays on Late Antique Thought and Culture in Honor of R.A. Markus (Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan 1999) p26-41

Entries and essays on “Apocalypticsm,” “Propositiones ex ep. ad Romanos,” “Inchoata Expositio,” “Massa,” “Paul,” “Tyconius”
Saint Augustine through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, A. Fitzgerald, general editor (Grand Rapids: Eermans 1999)

“My Quest for the Historical Jesus”
Bostonia Magazine (Summer 1999) 87-90

“‘Who Do You Say I Am?’ The Modern Quest for the Ancient Jesus”
The World and I, December 1999, 285-299

“MAD MEL. The Gospel according to Gibson”
The New Republic, July 28 & August 4, 2003: 25-29

“Responsibility for Gibson’s Passion of Christ”
The Responsive Community 14.1 (2004) 59-63

“History, Hollywood, and the Bible: Some thoughts on Gibson’s Passion”
SBL Forum Feature web site March 2004; republished in Journal of Religion and Film. Vol. 8

“GOSPEL TRUTHS: Hollywood, History, and Christianity”
Perspectives on the Passion (New York: Miramax 2004): 31-48

“No Pain, No Gain?”
Mel Gibson’s Bible, ed T. Beal and T. Linafelt (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2005): 91-98

Guide to the Late Antique World, ed. Peter Brown, G. Bowersock, and O. Grabar (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 1999)

“The Holy City in Christian Thought”
THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING: Jerusalem from David to the Present, ed. Nitza Rosovsky (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996) 74-92.

“Two Souls and the Divided Will”
with G.G. Stroumsa, Self, Soul and Body in Religions Experience, ed. A Baumgarten (Leiden: Brill 1988) p198-217

“Excaecati Occulta Iustitia Dei: Augustine on Jews and Judaism”

Journal of Early Christian Studies 3 (1995) p299-324

“Did Jesus Oppose Purity Laws?”

Bible Review XI.3 (1995) p18-25, p42-47

“Torah Observance and Christianity: The Perspective of Roman Antiquity,”
Modern Theology 11 (1995) 193-202.

“What You See is What you Get: Context and Content in Current Research on the Historical Jesus”

Theology Today, 52.1 (1995) p75-90

“From Jesus to Christ: The Contribution of Apostle Paul”

Jews and Christians Speak of Jesus (Minneapolis: Augsburg/Fortress 1994) p77-90

Entries on “Law,” “Love,” “Repentance”
The Oxford Companion to the Bible(New York: Oxford University Press 1993)

“Vile Bodies: Paul and Augustine on the Resurrection of the Flesh”

Biblical Interpretation in Historical Perspective. Studies in Honor of Karlfried Froehlich, ed. M. Burrows and P. Rorem (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1991) p73-85

“The Dangling Conversation”
Review essay on Alan Segal, Paul the Convert; A. Malherbe, Paul and the Popular Philosophers; and Studies in Paul and John, ed. R. T. Fortna and B. Gaventa, in Books and Religion, Spring 1991.

“Judaism, the Circumcision of Gentiles, and Apocalyptic Hope: Another Look at Galatians 1 and 2”

Journal of Theological Studies, N.S. 42 (1991) p532-64

“Apocalypse and Redemption in Early Christianity: From John of Patmos to Augustine of Hippo”

Vigiliae Christianae 45 (1991) p151-83

“Jesus and the Temple, Mark and the War,”
Society of Biblical Literature Seminar Papers 29 (1990) 293-310.

“Beyond the Body/Soul Dichotomy: Augustine on Paul against the Manichees and the Pelagians”

Recherches augustiniennes XXIII (1988) p87-114

“Paul and Augustine: Conversion Narratives, Orthodox Traditions, and the Retrospective Self”

Journal of Theological Studies, N.S. 37 (1986) p3-34

“Tyconius and the End of the World”
Revue des etudes augustiniennes XXVIII (1982) p59-75

“Hysteria and the Gnostic Myth of Creation”
Vigiliae Christinae 33 (1979) p287-290

“Augustine and his Analysts: The Possibility of a Psychohistory”
Soundings LVI, No. 2 (1978) p206-227

“Gospel Chronologies, the Scene in the Temple, and the Crucifixion of Jesus”

Review essay on five books of feminist theology
SIGNS: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 6, No. 2 (1980) 328-34

“Who Do You Say I Am?”
M. Casey, From Jewish Prophet to Gentile God; J. D. Crossan, Jesus: The Life of a Jewish Mediterranean Peasant; and J. P. Meier, A Marginal Jew, in Books and Religion, Spring 1992

“Thank Goddess!”
The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image, by Ann Baring and Jules Cashford; In the Wake of the Godesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth, by Tikva Frymer-Kensky; and Her Share of the Blessings: Women’s Religions among Pagans, Jews, and Christians, by Ross Shepard Kraemer, in The National Review, March 1, 1993: 54-56

“Desert Storm”
Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Herschel Shanks; Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. James H. Charlesworth; and The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered by Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise: The New Republic, March 7, 1994: 41-45

“Lambs into Lions”
Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Coercion, by Hal Drake: The New Republic, June 18, 2001: 35-39

“Who He Was”
The Changing Faces of Jesus, and Providential Accidents: An Autobiography, by Geza Vermes. The New Republic October 15, 2001: 48-54.

“Like Father, Like Son”
Christ. A Crisis in the Life of God, by Jack Miles. The New Republic, March 18, 2002: 38-41

“Everywhere at Home”
DIASPORA. Jews amidst Greeks and Romans, by Erich Gruen. The New Republic. July 8 & 15, 2002: 37-41

Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity, by Larry Hurtado.
Journal of Early Christian Studies 12.4 (2004): 537-41

“Just Like Everybody Else, Only More So”
The Cultures of the Jews, ed. David Biale. The Jewish Quarterly Review. 95.1 (2005) 119-130

“Beautiful People”
The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity, by Benjamin Isaac. The New Republic, March 21, 2005: 25-29

“Textual Healing”
Augustine: A new Biography, by James J. O’Donnell. The New Republic, July 11 and 18, 2005: 27-33

“The Prophet in History”
Jesus and Judaism, by E.P. Sanders. The New Republic 26 May 1986: 39-41

Studies in Paul and John, ed. R. T. Fortna and B. Gaventa. Interpretation, Spring 1992

Paul’s Gospel in an Intercultural Context: Jew and Gentile in the Letter to the Romans by William S. Campbell.
Interpretation, April 1993

The Religion of Jesus the Jew by Geza Vermes
Journal of Jewish Studies xliv, no. 2 (1993) 319- 22

Conversion and Text
The Cases of Augustine of Hippo, Herman-Judah, and Constantine Tsatsos, by Karl F. Morrison. The Catholic Historical Review 79 (1993) 41-45

A Noble Death. Suicide and Martyrdom Among Christians and Jews in Antiquity, by Arthur Droge and James D. Tabor.
The Journal of Religion 73.4 (1993) 638-39

Savoir et Salut. Traditions juives et tentations dualistes dans le christianisme ancien by Gedaliahu Guy Stroumsa.
The Jewish Quarterly Review 85.1 (1995)

Text and Commentary, 3 vols., by J. J. O’DonnellJournal of Religion 74.3 (1994) 390-92

Judeophobia. Attitudes toward Jews in the Ancient World by Peter Schäfer.
Church History, Summer 1998

Early Christian Thought in its Jewish Context, edited by John Barclay and John Sweet, and Paul and the Mosaic Law: The Third Durham-Tübingen Research Symposium on Earliest Christianity and Judaism, edited by J.D.G. Dunn
Journal of Jewish Studies 48.2 (1997) 374-76

The Human Christ. The Search for the Historical Jesus, by Charlotte Allen.
National Review, July 20, 1998, pp. 47-49

The Immerser: John the Baptist within Second Temple Judaism, by Joan Taylor.
Journal of Jewish Studies 50.1 (1999) 160-161

Augustine: Christian Truth and Fractured Humanity, by Carol Harrison.
Speculum 77 (2002) 927-30

Jewish Law in Gentile Churches. Halakhah and the Beginning of Christian Public Ethics, by Markus Bockmuehl.
Journal of Religion 83 (2003) 128-129

Befriending the Beloved Disciple. A Jewish Reading of the Gospel of John, by Adele Reinhartz.
Horizons.Journal of the College Theology Society. 2002

Augustine’s Commentary on Galatians, ed. Eric Plumer.
Journal of Religion 84 (2004) 480-81