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Month: April 2014

When Paul used the word “Judaism” in Galatians 1:13-14, what was he talking about?

In my book, I argue that the rare word Ἰουδαϊσμός–which is usually translated “Judaism” in our Bibles (Gal 1:13-14)–doesn’t mean “Judaism” in the modern sense of a system of religious thought. Rather, it should be understood in a vocational sense.

“We are the circumcision” (Philippians 3:3) is a reference to Jewish preachers (i.e. Paul and Timothy), not to all Christians

In my book, I argue that the phrase “we are the circumcision” in Phil 3:3 should be understood as a reference to Paul and Timothy, as Jewish teachers of Gentiles. Paul is using the term “circumcision” in order to claim a status for himself and Timothy as true (Jewish) teachers of Gentiles, in direct opposition to rival Jewish teachers.

Does the metaphor of the olive tree (Romans 11:17-24) undermine the notion of Jewish distinctiveness in Paul’s thought?

A number of interpreters regard Paul’s metaphor of the olive tree in Rom 11:17–24 as evidence that Paul is seeking to include Gentiles within a redefined Israel. I contend that this understanding is not consistent with the meaning and purpose of this passage.

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