Paul and the Gentiles: Remapping the Apostle's Convictional World

Paul and the Gentiles: Remapping the Apostle's Convictional World

Paul and the Gentiles: Remapping the Apostle's Convictional World

Paul and the Gentiles: Remapping the Apostle's Convictional World

Synopsis

In this first major analysis of Paul's understanding of Gentile salvation in several years, Terence Donaldson offers a creative approach to the major themes of the apostle's theological convictions; God, sin, the Torah, Christ, Israel, his own call, and others. According to Donaldson, Paul as a believer in Jesus Christ did not abandon his Jewish frame of reference but reconfigured it, especially by the stimulus of his mission to the Gentiles.

Excerpt

I am pleased that Fortress Press is making this book available again through its ex libris program. This reissue provides me with the opportunity to express my appreciation for those who have interacted with the book, both in formal reviews and in the context of other published work. of course I appreciate those who have found its thesis persuasive and who have been generous in their words of commendation. I am just as appreciative, however, of those who have not been persuaded but who nevertheless have paid me the compliment of reading my work carefully and criticizing it thoughtfully. While I would have been dismayed if there were none of the former, I have probably learned more from the latter.

Nevertheless, I remain persuaded of the basic thesis expressed in the book, a central element of which is the proposal that Paul perceived Gentile believers as proselytes to a reconfigured Israel. There is a certain oddness to the way in which Paul speaks of his Gentile converts. On one hand, they are full and equal members of Abraham’s “seed” (sperma; Gal 3:28–29; Rom 4:13, 16, 18). On the other, Jew and Gentile continue to be meaningful categories for Paul, even after Christ and within the community of those who are “in Christ.” the same combination (equality of status, yet continuing distinction) is present in Jewish thought about proselytes. Since Paul seems to say that at one point in the past he himself had been involved in the making of proselytes (i.e., Gal 5:11), it makes sense (to me, at least!) to think that Paul continued to perceive Gentiles in this way, even as the boundary marker for the community of Abraham’s seed came (for him) to be found in Christ rather than in the Torah.

Thus I continue to hold to the thesis of the book and to the larger interpretive framework within which I developed it. Still, in retrospect I can identify several works, available to me as I worked on the project, with which I would interact more extensively were I writing the book again. One is Gordon Fee’s magisterial work on the Holy Spirit in Paul (God’s Empowering Presence). Since Paul explicitly connects the work of the Holy Spirit with the . . .

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