N.T. Wright’s Galatians– Part Thirty

N.T. Wright’s Galatians– Part Thirty August 5, 2021

Q. It is interesting isn’t it, and I quite agree with you, that Paul applies the adoption as sons language to both Jews and Gentiles in Christ. They all need to become new creatures in Christ, and this is indeed like the way the 4th Evangelist says we all need to become children of God through being born of God/born again. Even a pious good Jew like Nicodemus is said to need this to get into the Kingdom later. John 1 quite specifically denies that it comes from one’s ethnic extraction etc. And here it seems to me is precisely where the new radical Jewish view of Paul is not radical enough. Paul is saying it is not enough even for good Jews to rest on their ‘children of Abraham’ laurels and keeping of the Mosaic covenant. In order to be redeemed, they must embrace their Messiah and be changed by that belief. It seems to me that the seeds of ‘the parting of the ways’ lie precisely in this radical theology in Paul and the 4th Gospel (and the rejection of it by most Jews), and not in anti-Semitism per se, though that accelerated the process. Would you agree?

A. Anti-semitism is the post-social-Darwinian version of anti-Judaism so it’s much later . . . the ‘parting of the ways’ comes, as Paul saw clearly, in the fact of a crucified Messiah – ‘a scandal to Jews’. It’s there already in Gal and in 1 Cor 1-2.

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