God’s War: A New History of the Crusades

At long last: a new comprehensive treatment to replace dated views of the crusades. Don’t miss God’s War, by Christopher Tyerman, if you have an interest in the subject. From Harvard University Press:

“A stunning reinterpretation of the Crusades, revealed as both bloody political acts and a manifestation of a growing Christian communal identity. Tyerman uncovers a system of belief bound by aggression, paranoia, and wishful thinking, and a culture founded on war as an expression of worship, social discipline, and Christian charity… Drawing on all of the most recent scholarship, and told with great verve and authority, God’s War is the definitive account of a fascinating and horrifying story that continues to haunt our contemporary world.”

And from Publisher’s Weekly (via amazon):

“Tyerman demolishes our simplistic misconceptions… Abjuring sentimentality and avoiding clichés about a rapacious West and an innocent East, Tyerman focuses on the crusades’ very human paradoxes: ‘the inspirational idealism; utopianism armed with myopia; the elaborate, sincere intolerance; the diversity and complexity of motive and performance’… God’s War is that very rare thing: a readable and vivid history written with the support of a formidable scholarly background, and it deserves to reach a wide audience.”

See previous posts on the crusades in context here and here.

Gnosticism Revisited

Yesterday I called attention to Bruce Chilton’s remarks about gnosticism, particularly the way neo-gnostics cherry-pick ancient sources, with which I am largely in agreement. A gnostic pastor named Father Jordan feels very differently. Meanwhile, Jim Davila writes as follows:

“Many, perhaps most, religions can be accused of misconstruing and selectively reading their own scriptures to suit later agendas. Some go as far as falsifying history (for example, Christian fundamentalist creationists and Muslims who deny that a Jewish Temple stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem). If people today want to be Gnostics (and it’s not for me to tell them whether they should be or shouldn’t), I would rather they be Gnostics who support women’s rights and the prudent use of the earth’s resources and who aren’t anti-Semitic. If any of that is untrue to ancient Gnostic scriptures or doctrines, so be it. (But if they want to claim that these are the actual values of ancient Gnostics, I will, as usual, call them on any historical inaccuracies.)”

I agree with what Jim says here, but I do think neo-gnostics tend to cherry-pick with more abandon than most, without realizing they’re doing so. This is how I responded to Father Jordan in comments on his blog:

Father Jordan
Contemporary Christianity too must cherry-pick in order to be a coherent functioning religion… Are not “neo-Christians” unlike their ancient counterparts? Doesn’t ancient Christianity have a history of anti-Semitism, misogyny, elitism, and dualism?

Yes, but this isn’t exactly news. Neo-gnosticism often comes as an antidote to a traditional Christianity weighed down precisely by the above baggage. It’s a mystery to many that the sources of that antidote have just as much (if not more) baggage. There’s more ignorance and misperceptions about gnosticism than about traditional Christianity, and reports like this don’t exactly reinforce one’s faith in any discerning ability of the laity.

Father Jordan
What really bothers Chilton (a scholar for whom I have a great deal of respect) is that “Neo-Gnostics” (us, presumably) accept The Secret Mark as a genuine text. The thrust of his article here isn’t really about how dishonest “Neo-Gnostics” are, but how Secret Mark is an obvious forgery. So we’re really guilty by association.

I hate to break the nightly news, but scholars who like the gnostic gospels tend to be the same ones who defend the authenticity of Secret Mark.

Father Jordan
Here’s the thing: I don’t know of a single Gnostic who identifies with Secret Mark, or considers it to be a legitimate or authentic Gnostic text. Not one. At best it’s a peripheral curiosity. Gnostics are not standing up in churches or the PTG saying “this proves Jesus was gay!”. Gnosticdom (!) as a general rule is just not interested in Secret Mark, and every Gnostic I know familiar with the text rejects it as a total forgery.

Neo-gnostics I know either (a) prefer to give Secret Mark the benefit of the doubt without knowing quite what to make of it, (b) accept and identify with it as gnostic, or (c) have never heard of it before. I haven’t run into a single neo-gnostic who rejects it as a forgery/hoax. We mix with different breeds, obviously.

Father Jordan
What scholars like Chilton so often fail to grasp is that the role of history is simply not as important to us as it is to Christians… Most Christians keep trying to wring “what really happened” out of their Gospels, whereas we’ve never been about that. We’re more interested in what is happening, our own alchemical reaction to these catalytic texts.

And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, so long as one is upfront about it. But as I’m sure you know, many people who read (say) Elaine Pagels walk away convinced that gnosticism is really what Jesus was about, and claim accordingly.

As a secular-minded Unitarian, I have nothing against gnosticism per se. People should believe as they want, though with Jim Davila, I prefer that those beliefs not conflict with basic human decency (i.e. respect for Jews, women, gays, the earth and its natural resources, etc.). But history matters too — especially to those of us who love it — and it irks when adherents like the neo-gnostics believe their sources to be purer than those against which they are often reacting.

Chilton on Neo-Gnosticism

Bruce Chilton reviews Gospel Hoax in The New York Sun. It’s a decent review, though readers will know that I think Carlson’s case is more conclusive than Chilton allows yet seems to want to say.

I like Chilton’s sidebar about the modern love-affair with gnosticism:

“Gnostic sources have been routinely confused with history, and some documents that are obviously from the second and third centuries (‘The Gospel of Thomas,’ ‘The Gospel of Philip,’ ‘The Gospel of Mary,’ and most recently ‘The Gospel of Judas,’ for example) have been touted as reporting the truth of the story that the New Testament supposedly distorts. ‘Secret Mark’ fed this naïve enthusiasm, and profited from it.

“Publicity and naïveté have encouraged the rise of a form of neo-Gnosticism, a fashion greatly encouraged by recent discoveries and alleged discoveries. In embracing these ancient sources, the neo-Gnostics are unlike their ancient counterparts. They want to embrace the earth, not subjugate it; they don’t wish to be elitist. Above all, they want to insist on the gender-equality of women with men. You need to cherry-pick Gnostic sources, and ignore a great deal of what they say, to make that picture work as an account of the Nag Hammadi library. Neo-Gnostics do just that, and falsify history. Many ancient Gnostics were openly anti-Semitic, taught that the physical world was the hopelessly corrupt product of a false god, and insisted that only the predestined elect could know the divine truth. These are persistent tendencies, rather than a set of precise ideas that all Gnostics repeated, but they are facts that can’t be denied.”

A lot of Unitarians (my group) are neo-gnostics, and they cherry-pick religious documents better than most. The laity needs some serious education about gnostic documents, and, needless to say, The Da Vinci Code is the last place to get it.

A Great Irony: Paul and the Pillars’ About-Face

In “Judaism, the Circumcision of Gentiles, and Apocalyptic Hope: Another Look at Galatians 1 and 2” (JTS 42 (1991): 532-64), Paula Fredriksen distinguishes between inclusion and conversion of Gentiles. The early inclusion of Gentiles cohered with apocalyptic belief; the later controversy over their conversion owed to the delayed apocalypse. Fredriksen writes:

“From its inception, the Christian movement admitted Gentiles without demanding that they be circumised and observe the Law…until 49 CE, evidently… What had changed between c. 30 and c. 49 CE, and why? Posing the question puts the answer…The kingdom did not come. Time drags when you expect it to end. Put differently, millenarian movements tend, of necessity, to have a short half-life. As the endtime recedes, reinterpretations and adjustments must reshape the original belief, else it be relinquished to unintelligibility or irrelevance.” (pp 558-559)

We thus have an irony. In the earliest days of apocalyptic fervor, Gentiles were (naturally) admitted into the Christian movement as Gentiles, without needing to become proselyetes. This is probably what Paul refers to in Gal 5:11: the period before his conversion when he zealously urged circumcision on these pagans who were sharing indiscriminate eucharist fellowship with Jews. After his conversion he not only accepted Gentiles as the other apostles did, but he saw them as his prime mission, and began evangelizing abroad.

But twenty years is a long delay for the kingdom — and a long time to be fending off persecutions from wider Judaism. The success of Paul’s large-scale mission would have made the issue more poignant: Can Gentiles really go on being included as implied equals without converting? The apostles had increased misgivings and knew they had to evolve accordingly. Paul, on the other hand, wasn’t about to relinquish this aspect of the millenial dream: the Gentiles were his babies.

Paul began as a foe of Christianity, and of Gentiles in particular. The other apostles began as apocalyptic enthusiasts, welcoming Gentiles as they were. Yet Paul ended up championing the pagans uncompromisingly, while the pillars ended up imposing conversion requirements — and circumcision, no less — in act of treachery and revenge.

Top 10 Passages of the Bible

Via Eucatastrophe, here’s a rather mundane list of Top 10 Passages in the Bible:

Genesis 1: The Creation Story.
Exodus 20: The Ten Commandments.
Psalm 23: The Lord is My Shepherd.
Isaiah 53: The Suffering Servant passage.
John 1: In the beginning was the Word.
Matthew 5: The Sermon on the Mount.
Luke 23: The Passion Narrative.
Romans 8: Those Led by the Spirit.
I Corinthians 13: The Greatest of These is Love
Revelation 21: A New Heaven and a New Earth

My list looks a bit different:

(1) Ecclesiastes 1:14; 4:2-3; 9:2-3a. Suggests little meaningful difference between good and evil: “I saw everything done under the sun; all is vanity and chasing after wind… I thought the dead, who have already died, more fortunate than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is the one who has not yet been, and has not seen the evil done under the sun… The same fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil. As are the good, so are the sinners. There is an evil in everything under the sun, that the same fate comes to everyone.”

(2) Romans. The entire letter, which deals with ethnic conflict and serious theological dilemmas, more positively than on a previous occasion (Galatians). The most carefully structured and considered of all the NT epistles.

(3) Mark 11-13. Jesus in Jerusalem: hailed a messianic liberator, curses a fig tree for no fault of its own, threatens the temple, arrogantly refuses to explain by what authority he does the things he does, obliquely opposes Caesar’s taxes, and caps it all off with the great apocalypse, “The Abomination of Desolation”.

(4) Job 38-41. God railroads Job: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Who determined its size? Who shut in the sea when it burst from the womb? Have you commanded the morning and caused the dawn to know its place? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightning? Can you hunt prey for the lion? Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Is the wild ox willing to serve you, and will it spend the night at your crib? Will you dare put me in the wrong?”

(5) I Samuel 8-12. Israel’s demand for a king, Samuel’s warning of the evils inherent in kingship, the election of Saul by lottery, and finally, Samuel’s ominous farewell-address to the people of Israel.

(6) Lamentations. Take something away, and you show people what they had: “How lonely sits the city that was once full of people. Like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations, a princess among provinces. Weeping bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks. The roads to Zion mourn; Jerusalem remembers…”

(7) Luke 15:11-16:8a, 16:19-31. The three best parables in the gospels lined up back-to-back: “The Prodigal Son”, “The Shrewd Manager”, and “The Rich Man and Lazarus”. A father contends with two equally lousy sons, attempting reconciliation. A landowner’s hands are tied by the shrewd survival tactics of his own manager. And a rich man burns in Hades, for no other reason than because he is rich.

(8) James 3:6-8. On gossip and slander: “The tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed on our members as a world of iniquity. It stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue — a restless evil, and full of deadly poison.”

(9) I Corinthians 15. Paul’s murky view of the resurrection: “But someone may ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?’ How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body… Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable… The perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”

(10) Micah 2:1-2; 6:10-12; 4:1-4. Diatribes followed by a vision of something better: “In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established as the highest of the mountains. People will stream to it, and everyone shall beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks, and sit under their own vines and fig trees.”

Why Christianity Happened

James Crossley is telling us why Christianity happened from a secular perspective, and in a “socio-historical context as part of an explanation for the emergence of Christianity from John the Baptist and Jesus to the Jerusalem conference (c. 26-50 CE)”. I had the privilege of looking over parts of this book before it went to the press. James is now providing overviews of the book’s chapters; I’ll update this post as they appear.

Chapter One: Social History and Secular Approaches
Chapter Two: The Origin of Jesus’ View of the Law
Chapter Three: Sinners
Chapter Four: From Jewish to Gentile Sinners
Chapter Five: Networks, Recruitment, and Conversion

Guest Blogger: Alan Segal on Life After Death

I’d like to raise a series of questions about resurrection and life after death, which summarize some of my chapters in Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in the Religions of the West. This seems to be a perennial question. But I am also fascinated by the fact that the same symbols that governed life after death in New Testament times are still very understandable today and still operate in similar ways. For example, I found that resurrection was born in apocalyptic sects (like that which produced the book of Daniel about 165 BCE). This therefore is the biblical doctrine, though it arises fairly late in OT history and but a blink before the rise of Christianity. It promises bodily resurrection to those who have been martyrs, which helps explain the expectations surrounding Jesus’ death. And it promises that martyrs, who have sacrificed their bodies for the faith, will get them back when God brings about the coming kingdom. It is not only a solace to martyrs but also to freedom fighters. And this doctrine later becomes the expectation of all. But it is not the only doctrine available in NT times.

On the other side of the social spectrum, there is the doctrine of immortality of the soul. It is characteristic of the upper classes, but only those who interact significantly with the Greco-Roman aristocracy. This is because the doctrine’s origin is to be found in Platonic thought, though Jewish intellectuals like Philo show us that it could be tailored to fit Jewish sensibilities—especially Jewish notions of God’s ethical behavior. This doctrine essentially says that we will discorporate on death and that our souls, which contain our thinking and memory, will survive us. I said that this is characteristic of a class of people that valorizes the life of the mind. It says our thoughts and experience survives us. The body, in contradistinction to resurrection, is unimportant and carries no personal identity.

We have to realize, as well, that many Jews, especially in the aristocracy of Judea—those called Sadducees—did not believe in any form of afterlife at all. That means that a belief in the afterlife is not automatically important in Judaism. Furthermore, that means that the Sadducees must have interpreted their Bible tradition as having no evidence of an afterlife. For sure, this means that their “Bible” would have contained no book of Daniel. It also means that they interpreted every other book in the Bible to say that there was no afterlife. That means they took a naturalistic interpretation of Ezekiel 37 and Isaiah 24-27. It is inconceivable, however, that their Bible didn’t have these important books in it.

The problem is the Pharisees, as I have said before. The Pharisees believed in tehiat hametim, a term taken from Isaiah 26:19. But they are not apocalyptic sectarians. However, I point out that they thrive some century and a half after the sectarians who produce Daniel. They “borrow” the notion, as it were, from an earlier sect. Nevertheless, they are in the power game politically in first century Judea. To resolve the issue, I have partly to rely on Paul, who talks about the transformation from body to body, a very ambiguous and incompletely understood doctrine in 1 Corinthians 15. Also, I try to point out that the term tehiat hametim” does not actually mean resurrection in the sense of the re-animation of the corpse. If the Pharisees had wanted that term, they would have developed it from the parallel verse in Isaiah 26:19 where the technical term hakamat haneveilot is available. That term explicitly means that the corpses will get up. By using the less explicit term, I contend, the Pharisees and later the rabbis were fudging the afterlife. They did not want to be more explicit.

This makes our job in understanding Paul more difficult, rather than less difficult. The canonical Gospels all explicitly or implicitly accept a literal resurrection of the corpse. The story of the empty tomb makes this explicit. It tells us what the canonical position is on Jesus, even though, as is clear, it cannot any longer be thought to be the exact story of the believer. But that is the point. The Gospels are written after it is clear that the end of the world is not coming immediately after the resurrection of Jesus. One or two generations had passed and their corpses had all deteriorated to bones or even to dust.

Paul, who wrote before the Gospels, never mentions the empty tomb, though he certainly goes out of his way to tell us that Jesus was buried. I suspect that he saw this as a victory over the Roman oppressors because they rarely granted permission for crucified criminals to be buried with honors. It is also clear that the resurrection body is a spiritual body. But it is nowhere clear that it is the physical body of the Gospels. It may be the same body transformed but that is far from clear in Paul’s 1 Corinthians 15 essay on the subject. It seems out of the question that it is merely the flesh revivified as he says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom (1 Cor. 15:50). But what it is positively is ambiguous. The metaphor of the grain of wheat suggests two bodies because the ancient world thought that the seed disappeared and was reborn. Other parts of the passage suggest a single body transformed. What is clear to me is that it does not automatically cohere with the Gospel story. And why should it? He did not know the finished Gospel tradition. The real question is: “Why do the Gospels ignore Paul?”

To return to the contemporary world for a moment: Fundamentalist and evangelical varieties of Jews, Christians, and Muslims (I’m restricting myself to those who have a developed biblical notion of resurrection) are knowledgeable about their scriptural tradition and affirm resurrection. They also know that martyrdom is a cost which may be asked of them personally. The majority of Americans however are the equivalent of mainline and normative. Whether Jew Christian Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or nothing at all, most Americans affirm a form of immortality of the soul, though some call that immortality of the soul resurrection because they know that is the core of Christianity. In fact, more Americans believe in an afterlife than actually believe in God. And when they do believe, they believe in a form of immortality that is consonant with immortality of the soul. So the same social and ideological connection that was established in the Hellenistic world is influencing our religious lives today, though there is no theoretical reason why we could not have changed metaphors completely. The differences between immortality of the soul and resurrection are still informing our religious life today.

Why Paul Took Up the Collection (Rom 15:25-32)

Mark Goodacre is putting together pieces of the Galatian puzzle: from dating the letter after I Corinthians (I, II, III), to Paul’s uncharacteristic lack of travel plans, to recognizing that Gal 2:1-10 refers to the event reported in Acts 15:1-29 rather than Acts 11:27-20 (I, II). When the pieces come together, it really does look like Paul’s missionary work in Galatia was unsuccessful (I, II), confirming what I’ve thought since reading Philip Esler’s work. One of Esler’s key points is that Paul learned from his failure in Galatia, hitting on a more successful way of resolving ethnic conflict in Rome. But Esler assumes the Galatian failure more than argues it. Mark is now providing the argument.

I want to address something which came out in one of Mark’s posts, where Michael Pahl objects to using Paul’s lack of travel plans as an indicator of failure in Galatia. Because Michael thinks Paul was on his way to the Jerusalem council as he wrote the letter, uncertain of his future, he would have had no travel plans at this point:

“Paul is uncertain how the council will go, uncertain how the ‘pillars’ will respond given Peter’s and James’ apparent reneging on their prior affirmation of Paul’s gospel. He is uncertain how the Galatians will respond, uncertain about this whole region he has just recently poured his life and energies into. Paul is certain about his call and his gospel revelation, but he’s uncertain about almost everything else related to his personal ‘mission.'”

Of course, this scenario depends on an early dating of Galatians, even though a time after I Corinthians seems more likely. But for the sake of argument, Mark countered:

“I find this suggested scenario implausible given the direct analogy that Romans provides. In that epistle, Paul is about to set off for Jerusalem (15.25-26), and he is anxious about how he will be received (15.30-2), and he has plenty of time to make advanced travel plans. On balance, an alleged Pauline journey to Jerusalem to take place just after the writing of Galatians is not fully persuasive as an explanation for the lack of travel plans in the epistle.”

To which Michael made a rejoinder in comments:

“I’m not sure that Romans provides a good analogy… In Romans, Paul is ‘on top of the world’ — he has evangelized the entire northeast quadrant of the Roman Empire, he’s a well-established apostle in that region with his own solid base of churches, and he’s quite confident in his gospel and its application among the Gentiles. That’s very different than the scenario suggested by Galatians, certainly if it is written before the Jerusalem council. In Romans, Paul is in a position to hope and plan whatever he wants for his ministry; in Galatians he’s not.”

I then suggested, again in comments, that Paul was anything but “on top of the world” by the time of writing Romans, and I would like to spell this out a bit more now.

Not only had Paul acquired a nasty reputation by the time of writing Romans (on which see especially Thomas Tobin’s Paul’s Rhetoric in Its Contexts), his remarks in Rom 15:25-32 speak volumes when we read between the lines to all the bitterness and anxiety. As I argued in “Treachery at Antioch”, the pillars had back-stabbed Paul by breaking the Jerusalem agreement (Gal 2:1-14). Yet Paul continued taking up the collection despite this. He was not doing this so much to fulfill his end of the bargain, because that bargain was null and void. He was taking up the collection as an aggressive ploy.

Understanding the hostile nature of gift-giving in honor-shame cultures becomes crucial here:

“The delivery of a gift represented a challenge to the recipient requiring an appropriate response if shame was to be avoided and honor maintained. To make a gift was not an innocuous and friendly social gesture (as in most Northern European and North Atlantic cultures today), but the opening gambit in an exchange that could soon take a nasty turn… For every coin that dropped into Paul’s collection bags was a physical reminder that the Jerusalem leaders had breached the Jerusalem agreement. Paul’s delivery of the money had the deliberate intention, or the anticipated effect, of pushing them back toward honoring that agreement.” (Esler, Conflict and Identity in Romans, p 130)

The collection, in fact, was a slap in the face to the pillars, perhaps even a way of putting into practice Paul’s dictum in Rom 12:20: “If your enemy is hungry feed him, because in doing so you will heap burning coals on his head” (Esler, ibid). And when we further realize that the collection was never exactly for the poor anyway — more a “franchise fee” for the apostles themselves, as Donald Akenson anachronistically puts it — that really puts the pillars on the spot: Paul is now giving them “their” money out of spite, and as a way of turning the tables in his favor.

Guest Blogger: Alan Segal

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Alan Segal has accepted an invitation to be a guest blogger on The Busybody. Most readers will recognize the name, but for those who don’t a bio is provided below. Alan will be blogging about a few things over the next couple of weeks or so: Paul’s view of the resurrection, afterlife views in general, and the way the media battle between The DaVinci Code and The Passion of the Christ relates to internal Christian disputes. Please give Alan a warm welcome.

Alan F. Segal is professor of Religion and Ingeborg Rennert Professor of Jewish Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University in Manhattan. When appointed he was the youngest full professor in the humanities in the university. He was chair of the Department between 1981-1984 and occasionally thereafter.

He was born in Worcester Massachusetts, educated at Worcester Academy, Amherst College (B.A. 1967), Brandeis University (M. A. 1969), Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion (B. H. L. 1971) and Yale University (M. A. 1971, M. Phil. 1973, Ph. D. 1975). His studies included English Literature, Psychology, Anthropology, Comparative Religion, Judaica, Christian Origins, and Rabbinics.

Before moving to Barnard College at Columbia University, Professor Segal was appointed to Princeton University for two three-year terms starting in 1974 and to the University of Toronto with tenure. He received tenure at the University of Toronto in 1977, less than three years after beginning his teaching career.

He was also invited to the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies in Aspen Colorado and to leadership training at Aspen’s Wye Plantation in Maryland. While living in Israel in 1977-1978 on a Guggenheim Fellowship, he lectured at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, and Bar Ilan University. He has served as guide on trips to Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, and Israel and traveled extensively in Europe. He has held fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Annenberg Institute, the Mellon Foundation, and the J. S. Guggenheim Foundation.

In the summer of 1988 at the Jubilee celebration in Cambridge England, he became the first Jewish member of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas to address the society. He was elected into membership of the American Society for the Study of Religion and the American Theological Association. He was also the first American not living in Canada to be elected president of the Canadian Society for Biblical Studies.

Professor Segal’s publications include Jews and Arabs: A Teaching Guide (UAHC Press), Two Powers in Heaven (Brill), Deus Ex Machina: Computers in the Humanities (Penn University Bulletin Board), Rebecca’s Children: Judaism and Christianity in the Roman World (Harvard University Press), The Other Judaisms of Late Antiquity (Scholars Press). Paul the Convert: The Apostasy and Apostolate of Saul of Tarsus was published by Yale University Press in Spring 1990 and was the Editor’s Choice, the main selection of the History Book Club’s summer list. It was also a selection of The Book of the Month Club.

Professor Segal’s latest book is entitled Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion (Doubleday, 2004). It is the Editor’s Choice, the featured Summer Selection of the History Book Club, as well as an alternate selection of the Book of the Month Club and the Behavioral Science Book Club. It was voted one of the four best books in religion in 2004 by the AP. He has also written many scholarly articles for journals in the United States, Canada, and Europe.