James was Jesus’ brother and the leader of the Jerusalem Church—either elected or directly appointed by Jesus depending on which source material you read.
Perhaps anti Semitism is not the best term to use when discussing Paul, at least not anti Semitism as it is generally perceived today. “Anti traditionalism” or “anti Torah” might better terms—much like Reform Judaism might be called “anti Torah” by its detractors today. Paul’s statements like:
But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away... (2 Cor 3:77)
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:13)
are hard to reckon with from a Jewish perspective (remember that whenever the word “law” is used in the epistles/ NT the reference is to Torah). No matter which way you turn it, these are very un-Jewish, anti-Jewish things to say. And these are just a few examples of Paul’s anti-Torah stance.
Eisenman also points out something I had always suspected existed in the NT as it has come down to us today— something he calls “rewrite processes” or “overwriting.” Certain individuals in the NT (like James, or even a putative wife of Jesus, though Eisenman does not get into that) are deliberately confused or misnamed in order to blur their identity. It gets to the point where you have “Mary the sister of Mary,” for example. Eisenman believes that “James the Just” (Jesus brother) is intentionally confused with “James the brother of John” or “James son of Zebedee.” He also believes that Jesus’ father Joseph is eventually called Cleophas/ Cleopas/ Clopas (see Jon 19:25 for an example of overwriting, where there is “Mary sister of Mary wife of Cleopas” at the foot of the cross). Another overwriting incident is the narrative of the death of Stephen in Acts—Eisenman believes this is actually a depiction the death of James, as it is identical (apart from the name) to two extra-Biblical accounts of the death of James.
Overall Eisenman’s book is the most evenhanded treatment of Paul I have encountered (the book is as much about Paul as it is about James). On the one hand he recognizes Paul’s Jewishness and deep familiarity with Talmudic and Jewish mystical traditions (though neither were codified at the time), yet he simultaneously points out his (Paul’s) profoundly disturbing attitude toward Torah (“the law”). Paul’s doctrines were diametrically opposed to those of the James-led Jerusalem Church, which were of Torah observance and spiritual purity, based both on belief (faith) and works (observance of the commandments). Paul disparagingly refers to James and his fellowship as “the circumcisers.”
Another thing I discovered from this book, that I had not realized, is that there are many guised barbs in Paul’s letters that are specifically directed toward James and the Jamesian Church. For instance—and again this is just one example—Paul’s oft quoted screed against “those who eat only vegetables” is a direct attack on James.
Eisenman also emphasizes that the “Judaizing” that supposedly took place in eraly Christianity is a myth—there was never any “Judaizing” of the church, only a progressive “gentilizing” as what was a sect of Judaism, headed by James, became increasingly unrecognizable as anything Jewish, due in large part on Paul.