Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Perspectives

By James M. Scott | Go to book overview

“AND THEN ALL ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED” (ROM 11:26)

James M. Scott
Trinity Western University


INTRODUCTION

Romans 11:26–7 is perhaps the most important text about the restoration of Israel in the Pauline corpus, for it comes at the climax of Romans 9–11, the apostle's only prolonged treatment of the problem of Israel. Yet, just as the interpretation of Romans 9–11 as a whole remains extremely controversial,1 so also the debate over 11:26–7 continues unabated. These two verses form part of Paul's exposition of “the mystery” in 1L25–32.2 It is unclear, however, when and how the apostle may have come to his understanding of the mystery. Was it at the time of his call/conversion, during the apostolic council, or in the course of his mission to the nations? Did he come to these insights while engaging in fanciful speculation, while reflecting on Scripture, or while receiving a special revelation? Of was it some combination of these factors? We shall not attempt to answer all these questions here. Rather, our focus will be on Rom 11:26–7 and particularly on v. 26a.

1 In the introduction to his exposition of Romans 9–11, Ernst Käsemann
(Commentary on Romans [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1980] 253) writes:
“Probably no larger portion of Paul's writings can be said to have had a history of
exposition which is more a suffering course of misunderstanding, acts of violence,
and experimentation with shifting methods and themes….” In the same vein,
Peter Stuhlmacher (“Zur Interpretation von Romer 11,25–32,” in Hans Walter
Wolff [ed.], Probleme biblischer Theologie. Gerhard von Rad zum 70. Geburtstag
[Munich: Kaiser, 1971] 550–70 [550]) comments: “Nach wie vor stellen die
bekannten Kapitel Röm-11 einen Testfall gegenwärtiger Paulusinterpretation
dar. 1m exegetischen Urteil Liber diesen Komplex des Römerbriefes wirkt sich
unverkennbar aus, welches Bild man von der Rechtfertigungstheologie des
Apostels hat, wie man den Charakter des Römerbriefes beurteilt und in welcher
Weise man die Missionskonzeption des Paulus ansieht.”

2 On the Pauline concept of “mystery,” see Markus N. A. Bockmuehl,
Revelation and Mystery in Ancient Judaism and Pauline Christianity (WUNT
2.36; Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1990).

-489-

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