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Paul's Gospel in an Intercultural Context

Jew and Gentile in the Letter to the Romans


William S. Campbell

A new perspective on Paul and his relation to his Jewish heritage has recently emerged, particularly in the interpretation of Romans. The author, in dialogue with recent international scholarship, explores the context and theology of Paul's most influential letter. Paul's strategy, when faced with the divisions in the house-churches, is to stress the continuity between the new messianic faith and the faith of Israel. In Christ, in the renewed convenant, Israel's election is both confirmed and transformed. In view of the inalienable place of Israel, Christian identity cannot now be defined in anti-Jewish or in purely Gentile terms.
Paradoxically, although Paul argues 'there is no distinction in Christ between Jew and Gentile', socially he is prepared to recognize abiding differences in life-style, and he does not advocate that Christian Jews separate from the synagogue. Paul's challenge is to accept one another as different, but as equals in Christ, until the full realization of God's purpose for Israel and the world. Paul's gospel is a gospel of hope, both for Israel and the 'nations'. He is confident that God has the power to fulfil his purposes and achieve his covenant goal for all humanity.
Contents: These essays deal mainly with Paul's attitude to 'Jewishness' and to Judaism as reflected in the Letter to the Romans. Attention is also focussed upon the connection of the Pauline communities with Judaism, the relationship between Jew and Gentile in Christ, and the attitude of contemporary Christians to Judaism.