yond our imagining. Would Jews have to convert to faith in Jesus before they could be saved? Paul never says. This is frustrating to the scholars. Why could not Paul have made himself clearer? The answer, Sloyan taught me many years ago, was that Paul did not know. He believed in God's mercy, and he trusted God to figure it out. That is why he quoted Isaiah, "For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?" Paul concludes this part of his letter by saying, "from God and through God and to God are all things" ( Rom. 12:36).
In his essay on Paul's understanding of redemption, Menachem Kellner argues that because Paul asked the wrong question--"What must I believe in order to be gifted with grace?"--he got the wrong answer. Not only is this individualistic question at a far remove from what the Jewish people must do, but its wrong answer views redemption as "wholly other-worldly, divorced from good works, and focused entirely on truth." Further, because of his doctrine of original sin, Paul's understanding of redemption requires that grace be available only to those "happy enough to recognize it and receive it." Unlike the Mishnah, Paul cannot say, "All Israelites have a share in the world to come."
From my point of view, as a Christian theologian committed to rethinking Christianity after the Shoah and to changing Christian attitudes and practices toward Jews and Judaism, Kellner's views reflect the results of a tragic history of conflict, separation, and lack of conversation between Jews and Christians, a history for which the church bears by far the greater burden of accountability. Seldom have either Jews or Christians been able to understand each other except as exam
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Publication information: Book title: Christianity in Jewish Terms. Contributors: Tikva Frymer-Kensky - Editor, David Novak - Editor, Peter Ochs - Editor, David Fox Sandmel - Editor, Michael A. Signer - Editor. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of publication: Boulder, CO. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 285.
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