Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Seventy One

Giving full marks to Tom, the lengthy discussion on Rom. 11.1-32 which stretches to some 70 plus pages (to p. 1265 in fact) is one of his best in this huge work. And it needed to be, because his position on Rom. 11 is difficult to defend in light of the water that has already gone under the bridge in Rom. 9 and 10. He goes into more detail here than in the treatment of the other relevant passages that may say something about the future of non-Christian Israel, because there is more meat on the … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Seventy

In Tom's schema (see p. 1181) Rom. 9.6-29 is seen as parallel in the chiasm to 11.1-32, and so he enumerates several themes found in both sections---both focus on the patriarchs and the promises made to them, both focus on the call and mercy of God, neither being dependent on works, both focus on the patience of God but also his hardening of people. And he adds, both use the term Israel in more than one way. This latter point is more than debatable, it's probably wrong. Rom. 9.6 says "It is … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Sixty Nine

On any showing, Romans 10.4 is a crucial verse for understanding Paul's thought world. The discussion on p. 1172 deserves a close look. Tom takes the verse is a rather narratological way-- namely that Christ is the goal, the final destination of Torah, by which he means "This is where the narrative had been heading all along. Through the Messiah the prophecies have come true, the covenant has been re-established, exile is over, God himself has acted to unveil his faithfulness to his promises … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Sixty Eight

On pp. 1166ff. Tom is arguing that in Rom. 10.9-13 we have the fullest and perhaps clearest most concentrated description of what reformulated monotheism, election, eschatology looks like to Paul. "It is all hear...the faithfulness of God, the work of the Messiah as the ground and basis for it all; belief in God's raising of Jesus as the tell tale signal that precipitates the divine verdict 'righteous'; and the confession of Jesus is Lord as the public, outward behaviour (signalling an entire … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God— Part Sixty Seven

Tom does not tarry long over the controversial text in 1 Thess. 2.14-16. I have treated it at length in my Thessalonians commentary, and will not rehearse that here. Tom, I think, is right to conclude: 1) this is not a later interpolation; 2) it is not an anti-Semitic swipe at any and all Jews; 3) probably the term 'Judaea' in this case provides the clue that Judaioi here has a more restricted and geographical sense, namely Judeans, and not just any Judeans but rather those who opposed Jesus … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Sixty Six

By way of reminder, the three gi-normous chapters in Tom's magnum opus, that carry most of the freight of his argument focus on: 1) monotheism redefined; 2) election/ecclesiology redone; and 3) eschatology freshly re-envisioned. We are in the midst of working through the last of these three major subsections of the study, and we will be covering the discussion in pp. 1128-51 in this post. A good deal of this material has been already covered in earlier chapters (particularly in the discussion of … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God— Part Sixty Five

As Tom eloquently expresses it, the ethics of Paul is an eschatological ethic, that involves both the already and not yet of things. "The people who are called to stand at the crossroads of time, the strange interval between the now and the not yet, the present and the future, are also called to stand at the intersection of heaven and earth, sharing the pains and puzzles of the present creation, but sharing also in the newly inaugurated life of the Spirit." (p. 127). But what does that look … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Sixty Four

On p. 1095 Tom begins his discussion of two important topics when it comes to eschatology--- ethics and ethnics, as he puts it, the latter having to do with the future of Israel. I think he is right that Paul is the first Jewish Christian to have to think through what these categories would look like between the time when Messiah first came and his return. Jesus, for example, says nothing about how Gentiles would fit into the people of God after his Ascension but before the parousia (and Tom is … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God— Part Sixty Three

Perhaps you thought I had forgotten about finishing the review of Tom's Magnum Opus. You would be wrong. I just needed a break from wrestling with Leviathan. Perhaps you did as well. But this time we intend to haul in the rest of Moby Dick.You may remember that we left things, at the end of May, with Tom's discussion of eschatology and more specifically how Romans 2.1ff. fits into the larger scheme of things. We are picking things back up at p. 1086. Tom, it will be remembered thinks … [Read more...]