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The structure of Romans 2:17-29

In my book, I argue that the Romans 2:17-29 consists of three sections. This cuts across the traditional division of the passage into two sections.

The three sections are:Paul and the Vocation of Israel: How Paul's Jewish Identity Informs his Apostolic Ministry, with Special Reference to Romans

  1. vv. 17–20: a statement of the mainstream view of  Jewish identity and Jewish vocation. This statement is concerned with the significance of the reading and teaching of the “Law” for Jewish identity.
  2. vv. 21–27: a deconstruction of this view of Jewish identity and Jewish vocation. This deconstruction employs two figures: the Law-teaching Law-breaker (vv. 21–24), and the uncircumcised Law-keeper (vv. 25–27).
  3. vv. 28–29: a conclusion, rejecting the mainstream view of Jewish identity and Jewish vocation—which is focussed on the communal reading and teaching of the Law of Moses as an exemplary witness to God’s power and wisdom—and replacing it with an alternative, redefined understanding of Jewishness—which is based in prophetic themes and focussed on marginal figures. This alternative understanding of Jewishness ultimately finds its expression in Paul’s apostolic mission and in Jewish members of his Christ-believing communities.

(pp. 151-152)

The full details of the argument and further references may be found in chapter 5 of the book (pp. 151-152). 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



  • The Named Jew and the Name of God: A new reading of Romans 2:17–29

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