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Diaspora Jews and the Church

Diaspora Jews and the Church November 23, 2003

In the course of saying some interesting and true things about Rome and Roman empire, Richard Horsely raised this revealing question: What is it, he wondered, that made so many diaspora Jews join the church so quickly? What was driving them? Why were they looking for something new? The way he raised the question made it clear that he was discounting 1) the expectation that nearly every Jew shared of a future redemption and 2) the work of the Spirit.

Horsley also seemed to draw a straight line between Jewish resistance to Rome and Paul’s resistance to Rome, as if the latter were a performance of the former with some minor adjustments. But this misses the radically different way that Christians resisted. Horsley has embraced one of the revolutions that NT Wright talks about when he says that Jesus was “doubly revolutionary,” but he seems completely to have missed the second revolution. Horsley’s Paul is a revolutionary, but he had not adopted a revolutionary way of being revolutionary.


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