n Neotestamentica - Jewish believers in Paul’s letter to the Romans - research

Volume 52 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0254-8356
  • E-ISSN: 2518-4628


In the past half-century, Jewish-Christian relations and the NT view of Jews and Judaism have been studied intensively. Much attention has been directed at Paul’s letter to the Romans, in particular chs. 9–11. Regarding these chapters, the discussion is usually focused on questions regarding Paul’s view of “unbelieving” Israel and its eventual salvation. In addition, there has been a renewed interest in Jewish Christianity. However, few studies have addressed Paul’s view and appreciation of Jewish believers in the entire Letter to the Romans. In view of this situation, this essay examines Paul’s references to them (including his own identity as a Jewish Christian or Christian Jew) throughout the letter. Paul’s understanding emerges most prominently in chs. 9–11, where, drawing heavily on the OT and Early Jewish notions, the Jewish believers constitute the remnant of Israel. This remnant indicates and guarantees God’s faithfulness to all of Israel. Due to the existence of Jewish believers, Paul can conclude that God’s gifts and calling of Israel (and also of gentile Christians!) are irrevocable (11:29). The Christian church is conceived of as the believing remnant of Israel supplemented by gentile Christians and awaiting the salvation of all of Israel. In Rom 15f., Paul shows his concern for Jerusalem and its Jewish Christians, and acknowledges and praises the contribution of many Jewish believers to the early Christian mission.

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