Over fifty years ago, Vatican II's Nostra Aetate 4 drew from Romans 11 to challenge the way Paul's voice has been used to negatively discuss Jews and Judaism. The church called for Catholics to conceptualize Jews as "brothers" in "an everlasting covenant," and many other Christian organizations have expressed similar sentiments in the years since. Nevertheless, the portrayal of Jews as "branches broken off," "hardened," "without faith," "disobedient," and "enemies of God" whom Christians have "replaced" as "true Israel," are among the many ways that readers encounter Paul's views of Jews and Judaism in today's translations and interpretations of this chapter, and throughout the letter as well. In the chapters in this volume, Nanos shows why these translations and interpretive decisions, among others, do not likely represent what Paul wrote or meant. Each essay offers challenges to the received view of Paul from the research hypothesis that Paul and the Christ-followers to whom he wrote were still practicing Judaism (a Jewish way of life) within subgroups of the Jewish synagogue communities of Rome, and that they understood Paul to observe Torah and promote Judaism for their communities.
Over fifty years ago, Vatican II’s Nostra Aetate 4 drew from Romans 11 to challenge the way Paul’s voice has been used to negatively discuss Jews and Judaism. The church called for Catholics to conceptualize Jews as “brothers” in “an everlasting covenant,” and many other Christian organizations have expressed similar sentiments in the years since. Nevertheless, the portrayal of Jews as “branches broken off,” “hardened,” “without faith,” “disobedient,” and “enemies of God” whom Christians have “replaced” as “true Israel,” are among the many ways that readers encounter Paul’s views of Jews and Judaism in today’s translations and interpretations of this chapter, and throughout the letter as well. In the chapters in this volume, Nanos shows why these translations and interpretive decisions, among others, do not likely represent what Paul wrote or meant. Each essay offers challenges to the received view of Paul from the research hypothesis that Paul and the Christ-followers to whom he wrote were still practicing Judaism (a Jewish way of life) within subgroups of the Jewish synagogue communities of Rome, and that they understood Paul to observe Torah and promote Judaism for their communities.
The Letter to the Romans explains the way Paul thought Jewish covenantal identity continued now that the messianic era had begun. More particularly, Paul addresses the relevance of Abraham for Jews and gentiles, the role of Torah, and the way it is contextualized in Christ. All too often, however, these topics are read in supersessionist ways. This book argues that such readings are unpersuasive. It offers instead a post-supersessionist perspective in which Jewish covenantal identity continues in Paul’s gospel. Paul is no destroyer of worlds. The aim of this book is to offer a different view of the key interpretive points that lead to supersessionist understandings of Paul’s most important letter. It draws on the findings of those aligned with the Paul within Judaism paradigm and accents those findings with a light touch from social identity theory. When combined, these resources help the reader to hear Romans afresh, in a way that allows both Jewish and non-Jewish existing identities continued relevance.
Readers of Paul today are more than ever aware of the importance of interpreting Paul’s letters in their Jewish context. In Reading Romans in Context a team of Pauline scholars go beyond a general introduction that surveys historical events and theological themes and explore Paul’s letter to the Romans in light of Second Temple Jewish literature. In this non-technical collection of short essays, beginning and intermediate students are given a chance to see firsthand what makes Paul a distinctive thinker in relation to his Jewish contemporaries. Following the narrative progression of Romans, each chapter pairs a major unit of the letter with one or more thematically related Jewish text, introduces and explores the theological nuances of the comparative text, and shows how these ideas illuminate our understanding of the book of Romans.
A creative collection of essays that introduces, critiques, and dialogues with Daniel Patte's ground-breaking work Romans: Three Exegetical Interpretations and the History of Reception: Volume 1: Romans 1:1-32 (T&T Clark, 2018). Nine scholars from different cultural and methodological perspectives engage with Patte's work, critique his methodology and ethic of interpretation, and develop alternative readings. The first part introduces the format of Patte's book and the three historical interpretations: forensic, covenantal, and realized-apocalyptic. Part two debates methodology and ethical responsibility. The third part focuses on Romans 1:16-18 and 1:26-27 and includes a Confucian Chinese reading and a call for joint biblical and social-science research on the role of Romans in current public policy debates. The final part includes a chapter on pedagogy regarding how Patte's book can be used in the classroom. The final chapter is a powerful description by Patte himself of the various life experiences that shaped his reading of Romans. This book is a critical and communal conversation with Patte on the history of reception of Romans 1 and an example of the necessity of conversations among diverse interpreters that, as Patte says, “reflect the diversity of the modes of our human experience”.
William S. Campbell provides a comprehensive commentary on Paul's most challenging letter. In conversation with reception history and previous scholarship, he emphasizes the contextuality of Romans as a letter to Rome, using social identity theory combined with historical, literary and theological perspectives to arrive at a coherent reading of the entire letter. Because Paul has never visited Rome and is not the founder of the Christ-movement there, Campbell argues that his guidance and teaching are formulated more cautiously than in his other letters. Yet the long list of people who had previous links with him and his mission to the 'gentiles' demonstrates that Paul is well-informed about the situation in Rome and addresses issues that have arisen. With Christ the Messianic Time is beginning, but there was some lack of clarity in Rome about the implications of this for Jews and gentiles. Rather than ethne in Christ replacing Israel, as some in Rome possibly concluded, Campbell stresses that Paul affirms the irrevocable calling of Israel, and that simultaneously the identity of ethne in Christ is also called alongside the people Israel; thus, the integrity of the identity of both is affirmed as indispensable for God's purpose now revealed in Christ. Campbell fully demonstrates how Paul in Romans achieves this by the social and theological intertwining of the message of the gospel.
"As long as there are readers of Paul, there will be always be other perspectives." The essays in this second edition of Paul Unbound: Other Perspectives on the Apostle provide introductions to Paul's relationship to and views on the Roman Empire, first-century economic stratification, his opponents, ethnicity, the law, Judaism, women, and Greco-Roman rhetoric. Contributors Warren Carter, Charles H. Cosgrove, A. Andrew Das, Steven J. Friesen, Mark D. Given, Deborah Krause, Mark D. Nanos, and Jerry L. Sumney have added addendums to their original essays and updated the bibliography to take into account scholarship produced in the decade since the publication of the first edition. The collection provides essential background and sets out new directions for study useful to students of the New Testament and Paul's letters.
The dominant portrayals of the apostle Paul are of a figure who no longer valued Jewish identity and behavior, opposing them for both Jew and non-Jew in his assemblies. This prevailing version of Paul depends heavily upon certain interpretations of key "flashpoint" passages. In this book and the subsequent volumes in this series, Mark Nanos undertakes to test a "Paul within Judaism" (re)reading of the apostle, especially of these "flashpoint" texts. Nanos demonstrates how traditional conclusions about Paul and the meaning of his letters are dramatically altered by testing the hypothesis that the historical Paul practiced a Jewish, Torah-observant way of life, and that he expected those whom he addressed to know that he did so. Nanos also tests the hypothesis that the non-Jews addressed were expected to know that his guidance was based on promoting a Jewish way of life for themselves, at the same time insisting that they remain non-Jews and thus not technically under Torah on the same terms as himself and the other Jews in this new (Jewish) movement. In conversation with the prevailing views, Nanos argues that the "Paul within Judaism" perspective offers not only more historically probable interpretations of Paul's texts, but also more promise for better relations between Christians and Jews, because these texts have informed Christian concepts of, ways of talking about, and behavior toward Jews based on the premise that Paul considered Jews and Judaism the mirror opposites of what Christians should be and become.
This new collection celebrates the distinguished contribution of William S. Campbell to a renewed understanding of Paul's theologizing and its influence on the shaping of early Christian identity. The essays are clustered around two closely related topics: Paul's theologizing, and the way it influenced Christian identity within the context of Roman Empire. The essays consider the continued relevance of previous identities in Christ', the importance of the context of the Roman Empire, and the significance of the Jewishness of Paul and the Pauline movement in the shaping of identity. The political context is discussed by Neil Elliott, Ekkehard Stegemann, Daniel Patte, and Ian Rock whilst the Jewish roots of Paul and the Christ-movement are addressed in essays by Robert Jewett, Mark Nanos, Calvin Roetzel, and Kathy Ehrensperger. Paul's specific influence in shaping the identity of the early Christ-movement is the concern of essays by Robert Brawley, Jerry Sumney, Kar Yong Lim, and J. Brian Tucker. Finally, methodological reflection on Paul's theologizing within Pauline studies is the concern of essays by Terrence Donaldson and Magnus Zetterholm.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians has often been read as one of the apostle’s clearest denials of his (previous) Jewish identity in order to preempt the “Judaizing” tactics of false teachers who might infiltrate the congregation. But is this really the problem that Paul is confronting? And did Paul really abandon his identity as a Jew in order to “know Christ”? Furthermore, what should Paul’s gospel converts understand about their own identity "in Christ"? Zoccali provides fresh answers to these questions, offering a more probable alternative to the traditional view that Christianity has replaced Judaism (supersessionism). Tracing Paul’s theology in the light of social theory, Zoccali demonstrates that, for Paul, the ethnic distinction between Jew and gentile necessarily remains unabated, and the Torah continues to have a crucial role within the Christ-community as a whole. Rather than rejecting all things Jewish (or gentile), Paul seeks in this letter to more firmly establish the congregation's identity as members of God’s holy, multiethnic people.
These chapters explore a number of issues in the contemporary study of Paul raised by questing what it means to read Paul from within Judaism rather than supposing that he left the practice and promotion of living Jewishly behind after his discovery of Jesus as Christ (Messiah).This is a different question to those which have driven the New Perspective over the last thirty years, which still operates from many traditional assumptions about Pauls motives and behavior, viewing them as inconsistent with and critical of Judaism.