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The self-styled Jew of Romans 2 and the actual Jews of Romans 9-11

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe So-Called Jew in Paul’s Letter to the Romans
EditorsRafael Rodriguez, Matthew Thiessen
Place of PublicationMinneapolis
PublisherFortress
Pages133-162
StatePublished - 2016

Abstract

If our common aim in this volume is to test the hypothesis that Paul’s interlocutor in Romans 2 is a gentile, not a Jew, against the wider context of the letter, then Romans 9–11 presents a golden opportunity.1 For, while the ethnicity of the person who “calls himself a Jew” in Rom 2:17 is open to question, the ethnicity of the people in view from Rom 9:1 to 11:36 is not. “They are my kinfolk according to the flesh” (Rom 9:3). “They are the Israelites” (Rom 9:4). They are “Israel,” defined precisely in contrast to “the gentiles” (Rom 9:30–31; 11:25).2 Admittedly, what it is, exactly, that Paul claims about them in these chapters is subject to debate, but the identity of the “them” is clear. We stand to gain, therefore, from a close comparison of the self-styled Jew of Romans 2 with the actual Jews of Romans 9–11. My project in this essay is to undertake such a comparison. It will be helpful, first of all, briefly to discuss several relevant contributions to recent research which figure in my argument.

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