Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

From a Broken Covenant to Circumcision of the Heart: Pauline Intertextual Exegesis in Romans 2:17-29

Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

From a Broken Covenant to Circumcision of the Heart: Pauline Intertextual Exegesis in Romans 2:17-29

Article excerpt

From a Broken Covenant to Circumcision of the Heart: Pauline Intertextual Exegesis in Romans 2:17-29. By Timothy W. Berkley. SUDS 175. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2000, x + 260 pp., $45.00.

The point of departure for this 1998 Marquette dissertation is Richard Hays's Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. But whereas Hays is content to find "echoes" wherever "language and vocabulary from OT texts resonate with the reader" (p. 50), Berkley is interested in the more substantial category of reference, places where Paul engages in intertextual exegesis or "intentional interpretation done to explain the meaning of scripture for application to a contemporary situation or make sense of human experience" (p. 11).

The work unfolds in four working chapters, followed by a summary and conclusion. In the first chapter, Berkley discusses his methodology for uncovering intertextual references. In the second, he applies this methodology to identify several OT texts (Genesis 17; Deuteronomy 29-30; Jer 7:2-11; 9:23-26; Ezek 26:16-27) that form the background for Rom 2:17-29. The third chapter works through Rom 2:17-29 sequentially "to determine how, where, and by what process those OT texts have informed his conclusions" (p. 65), and the fourth seeks to bolster this analysis by placing it within the context of the entire book of Romans.

The argument is mostly convincing. Deuteronomy plays a significant role throughout the book of Romans, and while it is not cited expressly in 2:17-29, its themes and terminology are evident. …

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