Levine-Romans and Paul’s lovely solution

Amy-Jill Levine gives a much more positive evaluation of Paul’s way of dealing with the Jewish connection of Christianity in his letter to the Romans.  She did not like his treatment of the problem in Galatians.  But in Romans 9-11 Paul came at the problem again.  This time she calls his picture of Jews and Gentiles as contributors to each others salvation “lovely”.

In Romans 9:3-5 Paul listed the advantages of the Jewish people: the adoption, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the worship, the promises, the patriarchs, and the heritage of the Messiah.  Paul insists that God remains faithful to his people whether they believe Jesus is the Messiah or not. God has not rejected his people (11:1).  The people of Israel has stumbled, but through their stumbling, God will bring the Gentiles to salvation.  And in the end, God will bring all Israel to salvation too (11:26).  Jews and Gentiles depend on one another for salvation.

At least in Rome, Paul’s pastoral solution to the divide between Jew and Gentile may have worked. Perhaps the Gentiles stopped acting superior and resenting the failure of most Jews to accept Christ.  And perhaps the Jews within the church found a way to continue to be observant and take pride in their heritage.

If so, it all broke down within a few decades.


About theoutwardquest

I have many interests, but will blog mostly about what I read in the fields of Bible and religion.
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