Skip to content

Jewish identity and the Law of Moses (Romans 2:17-20)

In my book, I argue that Romans 2:17-20 is a compact description of the close relationship between Jewish identity and the synagogue-based communal engagement with the Law of Moses.

Paul and the Vocation of Israel: How Paul's Jewish Identity Informs his Apostolic Ministry, with Special Reference to RomansI find that there are many fruitful parallels between Romans 2:17-20 and other Jewish texts / authors including the Jewish Scriptures, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, Josephus, 1 Enoch, the Sibylline Oracles, Ben Sira, the Wisdom of Solomon and 4 Baruch.

I conclude that in Rom 2:17-18:

The revelatory value of the Law is not in question for Paul: Paul views Jews as possessors of substantial divine epistemological privileges …
The question, as we shall see in a moment, is not whether the Jewish possession of the Law is a privilege, but rather whether this privilege leads straightforwardly to obedience, as the mainstream Jewish community assumes. (p. 156)

and in Rom 2:19-20:

each of Paul’s descriptions in Rom 2:19–20 alludes, in various ways, to a sense amongst Paul’s Jewish contemporaries that their possession of the Law gave them a special connection to divine revelation, which often implied a divinely ordained role in teaching this revelation to others. (p. 160)

The full details of the argument and further references may be found in chapter 5 of the book (pp. 152-163). The chapter is available from the publisher in electronic format:

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.

 

Published inPaulRomans

Publications by Lionel Windsor:

  • Lift Your Eyes: Reflections on Ephesians

Recent blog posts

  • From temple to meat market in ancient Pompeii
    A very quick journey from the temple of Jupiter in Pompeii to the meat market. This helps us to understand 1 Corinthians 8-10 and probably also Romans 14.
  • TogetherThe formation of gentile Christ-believing identity vis-à-vis Israel in Ephesians and Barnabas
    Article in the journal Biblica et Patristica Thoruniensia. Keywords: Ephesians; Barnabas; Israel; replacement theology; collective memory; ethnic identity
  • Where they burn books…
    A reflection on “Bibliothek", the memorial to the Nazi book-burning of 10 May 1933 in Berlin. Could we ever end up in a similar situation?
  • Reformation sights in Oxford UK
    Some sights in Oxford UK, that are especially significant for Reformation history and the deaths of the Oxford Martyrs Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer.
  • Lift Your EyesLift Your Eyes: Introducing Ephesians
    The central message of Ephesians is that the God of the universe has an amazing plan, which is being put into effect through the preaching of the gospel.
  • Luke 5:1-32 SermonWho is Jesus for?
    Who are the right kind of people according to Jesus? Is Jesus just for one kind of person in our world: Christians versus everyone else? Is Jesus for you?
  • TogetherThe formation of gentile Christ-believing identity vis-à-vis Israel in Ephesians and Barnabas
    Article in the journal Biblica et Patristica Thoruniensia. Keywords: Ephesians; Barnabas; Israel; replacement theology; collective memory; ethnic identity
  • Is God Green? By Lionel WindsorIs God Green?
    A short book about what the Bible says about the environment: why the world is in a mess, where it's headed, and what to do about it in the here and now.
  • Donald RobinsonVale Donald Robinson
    From SydneyAnglicans: One of the towering figures of Anglicanism in the 20th century and former Archbishop of Sydney Bishop Donald Robinson, has died at the age of 95. … The first to pay
  • Interview with Sydney Anglicans about the War on Waste
    I was interviewed by SydneyAnglicans.net about the TV series War on Waste: "Our cause should be the gospel, and that gospel will reshape everything"

On this site

All content copyright Lionel Windsor