Paula F. Fredriksen (born January 6, 1951, Kingston, Rhode Island) is an American historian and a scholar of religious studies. She held the position of William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University through 2010 and is now the William Goodwin Aurelio Chair Emerita of the Appreciation of Scripture.
She served as historical consultant for the BBC production The Lives of Jesus (1996) and for U.S. News and World Report 's "The Life and Times of Jesus" and was featured speaker in the Frontline documentary From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians (1998), based heavily on her book From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus.
Fredriksen earned her B.A. degree with Phi Beta Kappa in Religion and History in 1973 from the Wellesley College and a year later got a diploma in theology from Oxford University. In 1979, she earned a Ph.D. in the history of religion from Princeton University and until 1980 was the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Stanford University.
Fredriksen began her career as a lecturer at the Department of Religion of Princeton University in 1978. From 1979 to 1980 she was a faculty at the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University. She relocated to the University of California, Berkeley, where from 1980 to 1986 she was an Assistant Professor at the Department of History and from 1986 to 1989 worked as an Associate Professor at the Department of Religious Studies, of Pittsburgh University.
In addition to the historical Jesus, Fredriksen is also interested in the social history of Christianity from its beginnings to the fall of the Roman Empire. She has published two books on St. Augustine, both focused on his attitudes towards Jews and Judaism. In contrast to other historians of Christian anti-Semitism, she regards Augustine as having a more enlightened, indeed revolutionary, attitude towards Jews and Judaism than many of his other Christian contemporaries.
One of the editors of her book From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus was the New Testament scholar E.P. Sanders. Along with Geza Vermes, she is often regarded as one of the most influential scholars interested in replacing Jesus within a Jewish context.
She has held that much of the scholarship regarding Jesus from the 19th and 20th centuries has an anti-Judaic (and/or anti-Semitic) bias, a theme explored in her book Jesus, Judaism, and Christian anti-Judaism: Reading the New Testament after the Holocaust. Her book From Jesus to Christ, (Yale University Press, 1988) received its publisher's Governors' Award. Her book Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity (Knopf 1999) won a National Jewish Book Award.
- Augustine on Romans, Chico: Scholars Press, 1982.
- From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus (Yale Nota Bene), Yale University Press, 1988 (2nd edition, 2000).
- Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity, Vintage Press, 2000.
- Jesus, Judaism, and Christian Anti-Judaism: Reading the New Testament After the Holocaust, Adele Reinhartz, Westminster John Knox Press; 2002.
- On The Passion of the Christ: Exploring the Issues Raised by the Controversial Movie, University of California Press, 2006.
- Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism, Doubleday Religion, 2008.
- Sin: The Early History of an Idea, Princeton University Press, 2012
- Jesus and Brian: exploring the historical Jesus and his times via Monty Python's Life of Brian, chapter 12 'Are you a virgin?' Biblical exegesis and the invention of tradition. Book edited by Joan E.Taylor, Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015.
- When Christians Were Jews: The First Generation, Yale University Press, 2018
- Introduction to Fredriksen's book From Jesus to Christ.
- Your Questions to Paula Fredriksen from Beliefnet.com.
- Jesus, Paul and the Origins of Christianity, video lecture at Princeton University
- Paul, Pagans and the Redemption of Israel video of lecture at University of Minnesota
- When Jesus Celebrated Passover, op-ed in Wall Street Journal
- U.S. Public Records Index Vol 1 & 2 (Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.), 2010.
- Paula Fredriksen
- "Paula Fredriksen" (PDF). Boston University. February 2019. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
- Peter Monaghan (August 1, 2013). "Attack on Religion Scholar Puts His Book on Jesus in the Spotlight". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
- Augustine on Romans. 53. Chico, California: Scholars Press. 1982. p. 107. doi:10.2307/3166329.
- Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judaism. Yale University Press. 2008. p. 528. ISBN 0300166281.
- David Van Biema (December 7, 2008). "Was Saint Augustine Good for the Jews?". Time. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
- Paula Fredriksen (June 10, 2009). "The Nazi of Nazareth". Tablet.
- Fredrikson, Paula, "Controversial 'Passion' presents priceless opportunity for education - A toxic film delivers a dangerous, but teachable, moment", Chrtistian Science Monitor, Feb 2, 2004.
- Paula Fredriksen, On ‘The Passion of the Christ’: Exploring the Issues Raised by the Controversial Movie, University of California Press, February 1, 2006.
- Members of the AAAS
- "2017: Paula Fredriksen & Hartmut Lehmann". Retrieved April 15, 2019.
- Van Biema, David (7 December 2008). "Was Saint Augustine Good for the Jews?". Time. Retrieved 8 May 2019.