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How does Paul’s Jewish identity inform his apostolic ministry?

This is the argument of my book:
Paul and the Vocation of Israel: How Paul's Jewish Identity Informs his Apostolic Ministry, with Special Reference to Romans

Paul’s apostolic mission was his way of being Jewish. Paul was convinced that Israel had received a special divine revelation which conferred on Jews a distinct divine vocation. Paul, in other words, was committed to the view that God’s global purposes in Christ included a special place—and correspondingly a special role—for the Jewish people. Paul, through preaching Christ to the Gentiles, was in fact fulfilling Israel’s distinct divine vocation. This will be our contention in this book. (p.1)

In this book, we are seeking to examine Paul’s Jewish identity using the concept of divine vocation. In particular, we are seeking to demonstrate that Paul viewed his own apostolic vocation as the fulfilment of Israel’s divine vocation. For many of Paul’s Jewish contemporaries, Jewish identity was bound up closely with the Law of Moses, which was seen as a special gift of divine revelation to Israel. The Jews’ distinct divine vocation, in this view, consisted primarily in keeping and teaching the Law of Moses as an exemplary witness to God’s power and wisdom in the world. Paul, as a Jew, agreed with his Jewish contemporaries that the Law of Moses was a special gift of divine revelation and thus a defining feature of Jewish identity. He disagreed, however, about the place of the Law in God’s purposes. Paul read the Jewish Law principally in light of the gospel of Christ. Indeed, for Paul, the Law of Moses was primarily a witness to the gospel. Thus the divine Jewish vocation consisted, not in keeping the Law of Moses per se, but in embodying and communicating a way of life which was focussed on the gospel of Christ as the fulfilment of the Law of Moses; a way of life which issued naturally in the preaching of the gospel to non-Jews. (p. 19)

Windsor, Lionel J. Paul and the Vocation of Israel: How Paul’s Jewish Identity Informs his Apostolic Ministry, with Special Reference to Romans. BZNW 205. Berlin / Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2014. Pp. 1, 19.

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Publications by Lionel Windsor:

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