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If You Call Yourself a Jew

If You Call Yourself a Jew

Reappraising Paul's Letter to the Romans

by Rafael Rodriguez
Publication Date: 29/10/2014
RRP  $63.80 $63.75
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If You Call Yourself a Jew reads Romans as a dialogue between Paul and a Gentile proselyte to Judaism. This fresh reading brings Romans into focus as Paul's exposition of the revelation of God's righteousness--his faithfulness to his covenant promises to Abraham, which climaxed in the announcement that ""in you all the tribes of the earth will be blessed"" (Gen 12:3). Paul insists that the righteousness of God is revealed, ""for the Jew first as well as for the Greek,"" not through Torah but through the faith(fullness) of Jesus. Torah and the prophets provide corroborating witness for God's righteousness, but Gentiles who bend their necks to Torah's yoke miss the actual mechanism for finding peace with God. Paul found in the story of Jesus the image of complete faith in/faithfulness to God; in Jesus' resurrection he found the image of God's complete faithfulness, ""for the Jew first as well as for the Greek."" Whereas Torah resulted in curse and death, it also anticipated the unconditional faithfulness of God for both Jew and Gentile. For Paul, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the account of the outworking of God's faithfulness: the end of Torah's curses and the fulfillment of its blessings. ""Rodriguez presents a fresh challenge to many stale assumptions about reading Romans. He provides a cogent case that Paul is writing to Gentile Christians, and what is more, that Paul's imaginary opponent who appears throughout the letter is not a Jew but is in fact a Gentile convert to Judaism. . . . It makes for a stimulating volume on Paul's most famous letter."" --Michael F. Bird, Ridley Melbourne Mission and Ministry College, Melbourne, Australia ""Building upon the work of Stanley Stowers and Runar Thorsteinsson, Rafael Rodriguez provides a novel reading of Romans: throughout this letter Paul addresses a judaizing Gentile interlocutor. Those looking to move beyond 'Lutheran' and 'New Perspective' readings of Paul will find in If You Call Yourself a Jew a more historically plausible and theologically fruitful reading of Romans."" --Matthew Thiessen, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO ""Rodriguez joins those Pauline interpreters who have taken seriously Paul's assertion that he writes specifically to Gentiles. What is significant about his approach is that he provides a careful analysis of the diatribe style questions that feature in significant sections of the letter. His radical thesis that the interlocutor is of Gentile ethnicity but views himself as a Jew, and teaches Gentiles, is provocative and challenging but illustrated with sustained argument. A fine volume to spark interest in Paul's skillful rhetoric."" --William S. Campbell, University of Wales Trinity St. David, Lampeter, UK Rafael Rodriguez is Professor of New Testament at Johnson University, Knoxville, Tennessee. He is the author of Structuring Early Christian Memory: Jesus in Tradition, Performance, and Text (2010) and Oral Tradition and the New Testament: A Guide for the Perplexed (2014).
Religion & beliefs
Publication Date:
Wipf & Stock Publishers
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United States

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