I would like to thank the following people who took part in the production of this text:
First and foremost, an anonymous reader of my previous book for the University of California Press, who by commenting that I am (I hope, was) singularly uninformed about Paul set me going on the wonderful adventure (for me) that resulted in this book. This reader commented then that I should either drop all references to Paul in my work or learn something about him. I hope that she or he does not now regret having given me the second alternative. To somewhat garble a famous statement of William Wrede: “It is harder for one who half understands him to interpret Paul's doctrine than for one who knows nothing about him.” 
Second, the friends and colleagues (and especially the patient Pauline scholars among them) who read and listened to and critically but fairly commented on various chapters of the book or, in some cases, the whole thing. I list them alphabetically here: R. Howard Bloch, Elizabeth Castelli, Ruth Clements, David Cohen, Carolyn Dinshaw, Moshe Halbertal, James R. Hollingshead, Karen King, Steven Knapp, Menahem Lorberbaum, Adele Reinhartz, Jonathan Schorsch, Alan Segal, Antoinette Wire, and Noam Zion.
I would especially like to mention here Professor W. D. Davies, who not only graciously accepted the dedication as a tribute but also offered his usual sharp critique and pointed out some of the places where my argument needed buttressing (against ideas of his). I hope that my buttresses hold up in his eyes. Richard B. Hays, a new friend and colleague whom Paul has brought me, has been supererogatorily generous to a usurper from another discipline into one that he has cultivated so assiduously for twenty years. He consulted with me tens of times on the telephone, read several chapters more than once, and read the entire book in a near-final version. There remain significant areas of disagreement between us in our interpretations of Paul, as well as equally important sites in which we agree totally. I have tried to take account of his objections, strengthening and clarifying my argument where I could, but at some level we continue to read Paul differently. For his Paul, the Jesus Christ of history, the Rabbi of Nazareth, is much more significant than for mine, and much follows from this difference of perception. I pray that this difference will be the sort of difference of which the Rabbis spoke when they said “Controversy for the sake of Heaven, in the end will perdure,” by which I understand that it will be revealed in the end that somehow, “These and these are the words of the living God.”
A first version of the overall thesis about Paul was presented at Duke University on the eightieth birthday of W. D. Davies. The frank but friendly responses of an extraordinary collection of Pauline scholars—and not least, the celebrant—on that occasion showed me much of what I had to do to make the theory at all plausible. Versions of the thesis have also been presented at the SBL, Pauline Epistles Section, at the Hartman Institute, and at a conference on “Jews and their Others” at Lehigh University. Chapter 7 was first presented at a conference on asceticism at Union Theological Seminary, for the invitation to which I thank Vincent Wimbush. I thank him as well for his encouraging critique of a very early version of this book. Chapter 8 was first presented (and published) as a colloquium of the Center for Hermeneutical Studies of the University of California at Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union. It was also presented at the “Cultural Reading of the Bible” Cassassa Conference at Loyola Marymount University in May 1992. The formal responses and wide-ranging discussion on both of those occasions were of enormous help in reworking the chapter, as were also the responses and critiques of the editorial board of Representations, where another version has been published.
I would like to thank the University of California, Berkeley, for research grants proffered in the process of producing this book and the University of California President's Research Fellowship, during the tenure of which I did final revisions on this book while pursuing the project for which I received the grant. I also thank The Shalom Hartman Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, an island of pluralism in a sea of reaction, without whose material and intellectual environment my work would have been a lot less pleasant and a great deal slower. The last chapter has been considerably reworked in the wake of a highly useful discussion there. Since I imagine that most of the participants would continue to vigorously disagree with me, I especially treasure their willingness to engage me seriously and critically.
Jonathan Boyarin, brother to me both κατὰ σάρκα and κατὰ πνεῦμα, has been so crucial in my intellectual and ethical formation that I cannot imagine my work without him. Chapter 10 in particular reflects our interaction, and a substantially different version has been published under our joint authorship in Critical Inquiry.
The members of my fall 1991 graduate seminar at Berkeley, “Paul, Platonism, and Palestinian Judaism,” deserve a special vote of thanks for their critical patience. To a great extent, the ideas promulgated in this book are a product of our joint discourse. I am especially indebted to Charlotte Fonrobert, who has read through most of the Pauline corpus with me. I have benefited greatly from her knowledge and insight into Pauline exegesis. None of these people—especially not the graduate students—are in any way responsible for the defects of the discussion.
Finally, I thank Chana Kronfeld, perfect colleague and coeditor of our series in which this book is appearing, and Doris Kretschmer, an empowering and enabling editor.
Some of the chapters have appeared in earlier forms in the following publications: Critical Inquiry, Paragraph, Representations, The Ascetic Dimension in Religious Life and Culture (ed. Vincent Wimbush), diacritics, Union Seminary Quarterly Review. I thank the editors of all of these publications for permission to reprint material.
1. William Wrede, Paul (1908; reprint, Lexington: American Library Association, 1962), 85, quoted in Stephen Westerholm, Israel's Law and the Church's Faith: Paul and His Recent Interpreters (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1988), 16. [BACK]