Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God— Part Seventy Four

tom1

The discussion in pp. 1245ff. is a good example of how a scholar can be right as rain about what he rejects, but wrong about what he affirms. It will be remembered that Tom's view of Romans 11 is that "the saving of all Israel may refer here as in 11.14 and surrounding verses to actual concrete 'turnings' in which more and more of Paul's fellow kinfolk will no longer remain in 'unbelief' (11.23)" (p. 1245). He quotes Ed Sanders to good effect as far as rejecting the two covenant approach of … [Read more...]

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

tom1

The discussion of God's hardening of Pharaoh and then of Israel is of course a difficult one. Fortunately for us, we don't need to deal with the Pharaoh example, but we do need to deal with what Paul says about God hardening Israel due to their unbelief. On p. 1225 Tom helpfully points us to the parallel passage in 2 Cor. 3 where the hardening of the mind is related to the metaphor of a veil over the human heart. But as the text says this condition of the hardening of the spiritual arteries … [Read more...]

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

tom1

On p. 1215, Tom has an interesting way of contrasting the rhetorical thrust of Galatians as opposed to Romans. He puts it this way: "The difference between the two epistles is this. In Galatians, Paul is warning Gentile believers that they must not try to become physically, ethnically, Jews. To do so would undermine that single family by insisting on an ethnic basis. In Romans he is warning Gentile believers that they must not imagine that God cannot and will not bring more and more Jews back … [Read more...]

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

tom1

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

tom1

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

tom1

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

tom1

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

tom1

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

tom1

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...]


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