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Paul Among the Gentiles: A "Radical" Reading of Romans

Jacob P. B. Mortensen

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Jacob P. B. Mortensen, Paul Among the Gentiles: A "Radical" Reading of Romans (2018), Narr Francke Attempto, 72070 Tübingen, ISBN: 9783772056567

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Description / Abstract

This exciting new interpretation of Pauls Letter to the Romans approaches Pauls most famous letter from one of the newest scholarly positions within Pauline Studies: The Radical New Perspective on Paul (also known as Paul within Judaism). As a point of departure, the author takes Pauls self-designation in 11:13 as apostle to the gentiles as so determining for Pauls mission that the audience of the letter is perceived to be exclusively gentile. The study finds confirmation of this reading-strategy in the letters construction of the interlocutor from chapter 2 onwards. Even in 2:17, where Paul describes the interlocutor as someone who calls himself a Jew, it requests to perceive this person as a gentile who presents himself as a Jew and not an ethnic Jew. If the interlocutor is perceived in this way throughout the letter, the dialogue between Paul and the interlocutor can be perceived as a continuous, unified and developing dialogue. In this way, this interpretation of Romans sketches out a position against a more disparate and fragmentary interpretation of Romans.

Description / Abstract

This exciting new interpretation of Pauls Letter to the Romans approaches Pauls most famous letter from one of the newest scholarly positions within Pauline Studies: The Radical New Perspective on Paul (also known as Paul within Judaism). As a point of departure, the author takes Pauls self-designation in 11:13 as apostle to the gentiles as so determining for Pauls mission that the audience of the letter is perceived to be exclusively gentile. The study finds confirmation of this reading-strategy in the letters construction of the interlocutor from chapter 2 onwards. Even in 2:17, where Paul describes the interlocutor as someone who calls himself a Jew, it requests to perceive this person as a gentile who presents himself as a Jew and not an ethnic Jew. If the interlocutor is perceived in this way throughout the letter, the dialogue between Paul and the interlocutor can be perceived as a continuous, unified and developing dialogue. In this way, this interpretation of Romans sketches out a position against a more disparate and fragmentary interpretation of Romans.

Description

Jacob P.B. Mortensen received his Masters Degree in Theology and a secondary Master in Philosophy at the University of Copenhagen. He finished his doctoral studies in 2014 from Aarhus University.
He is currently executing post-doctoral research on the Gospel of Mark at Aarhus University and has published articles on Philosophy of Religion, Old Testament Theology, the Pseudepigrapha, Greco-Roman rhetoric and, primarily, New Testament subjects.

Extract

Table of content

  • U1
  • Contents
  • Geleitwort aus dem Kreis der Herausgeberinnen und Herausgeber
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1 The State of the Research – the radical new perspective
  • Introduction
  • History of research
  • Scholarly predecessors to the radical perspective
  • The ‘actual’ radicals
  • Critical evaluation of the radical perspective: T.L. Donaldson and A. Wedderburn
  • Evaluation and task
  • 2 Terminology: Jews, Gentiles, Christians, or something else?
  • Introduction
  • Caroline Johnson Hodge
  • Joshua Garroway
  • Paula Fredriksen
  • Mark D. Nanos
  • Paul’s (and Peter’s) identity
  • Concluding remarks and evaluation
  • 3 Introductory Questions – Gentile addressees
  • A real letter (epistolography)
  • The integrity of the letter
  • A 14-, 15-, or 16-chapter version of Romans
  • Place of writing
  • Addressees, audience, recipients: external versus internal evidence
  • A Gentile audience
  • Some Jews after all…?
  • The Gentile identity of ‘the strong’ and ‘the weak’
  • Jews in chapter 16
  • The occasion and purpose of Romans – some preliminary insights
  • 4 A fictive Gentile interlocutor – προσωποποιία
  • Paul’s educational background
  • Προσωποποιία
  • Προσωποποιία continued
  • The significance of προσωποποιία – literature and life, or rhetoric and realism
  • 5 Romans 1:18–32
  • Introduction
  • Ethnic Stereotypes – a modern perspective
  • Stereotyping in Antiquity
  • Stereotyping in Paul’s practices
  • ‘Us’ – the Jews
  • ‘Them’ – the Gentiles
  • Continuity from chapter 1 to chapter 2
  • 6 Romans 2:1–29
  • Romans 2:1–5
  • Judgement and justification – justice and mercy
  • Linguistic, stylistic, structural, and grammatical continuity in 2:1–16
  • Romans 2:17–24
  • Rom 2:25–29
  • Continuity from chapter 2 to chapter 3
  • 7 Romans 3:1–31
  • Rhetorical strategy of chapter 3
  • Romans 3:1–8
  • Romans 3:9–20
  • Romans 3:21–26
  • Romans 3:27–31
  • Continuity from chapter 3 to chapter 4
  • 8 Romans 4:1–25
  • Romans 4:1–12
  • Romans 4:13–25
  • 9 Romans 5:1–21
  • Adam, but not anthropology
  • Romans 5:1–11
  • The qal wa-chomer reasoning
  • Continuity between 5:1–11 and 5:12–21
  • Genesis 2–3 in Old Testament exegesis
  • Second Temple parallels: Adam’s actions are not considered in a negative way
  • Sin and evil
  • Sin and Gentiles
  • First probing – the limitations of the analogy: Romans 5:12–14
  • The perception of Adam in Second Temple Jewish literature is specifically positive
  • God’s benevolence is greater than his punishment
  • Romans 5:14c–17
  • Adam and Christ compared
  • Romans 5:12–21 in a broader perspective
  • Continuity between Romans 5 and 6–7
  • 10 Romans 6:1–7:6
  • Gentiles in chapter 6
  • Already walking in the newness of life, but also not yet
  • The question, meaning, and function of baptism in 6:1–14
  • Romans 6:1–14
  • Romans 6:15–7:6
  • 11 Romans 7:7–25
  • Romans 7:7–25
  • Sin, the (Mosaic) law, and another law
  • Romans 2 and 7 – an inversion
  • Recapitulating the interpretation of 7:7–25
  • Continuity between chapter 7 and chapter 8
  • 12 Romans 8:1–39
  • Romans 8:1–17
  • Roman socio-legal practices concerning adoption (of ex-slaves)
  • Adrogatio and adoptio
  • Social distinctions and status-consciousness within the Roman family and society
  • The adoption metaphor in Romans 8:15
  • The relation of υἱοθεσία in 8:15 to υἱοθεσία in 9:4
  • The relation of 8:12–17 to 8:18–30 and the question of continuity
  • Romans 8:18–30
  • Romans 8:31–39
  • Continuity from chapters 6–8 to 9–11
  • 13 Romans 9–11
  • Introduction
  • Rhetorical strategy
  • Authorial voice and the ‘I’ of chapters 9–11
  • Romans 9:6–29 – God has not rejected Israel
  • Romans 9:30-10:21 - Christ is the goal of the law for Gentiles
  • Works-righteousness or a righteous law – the problem of νόμος δικαιοσύνης
  • The stumbling stone
  • Christ as τέλος of the law for Gentiles
  • Christ fulfils the law
  • Romans 11:1–10 – God’s unbroken fidelity to Israel
  • Romans 11:11–24
  • Romans 11:17–24 – the olive tree metaphor
  • Romans 11:25–32 – the ‘mystery’ and the Sonderweg interpretation in 11:25–26
  • The problem of οὕτως
  • Romans 11:25–32 resumed
  • 14 Romans 12–15 and the relationship between theology and paraenesis
  • Introduction
  • Romans 12:1–2
  • Romans 12:3–21
  • Romans 13:1–7
  • Romans 13:8–14
  • The ‘strong’ and the ‘weak’ in 14:1–15:6
  • The (Mosaic) law in 14:1–15:6
  • A perspective on the (Mosaic) law from inside and outside the covenant
  • Could ‘the strong’ and ‘the weak’ be proselytes and/or God-fearers?
  • Why does Paul’s position vacillate with regard to the ‘strong’ and the ‘weak’?
  • Romans 15:7–13 – Christ as servant of the circumcision to the Gentiles
  • Conclusion
  • Recapitulation of interpretative findings
  • The achievements and limitations of my interpretation
  • Bibliography
  • Sources
  • Secondary Literature
  • U4

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