The Named Jew and the Name of God

The Argument of Romans 2:17–29 in Light of Roman Attitudes to Jewish Teachers

In: Novum Testamentum
Lionel J. Windsor Moore College Sydney, New South Wales Australia

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A connection between Paul’s charges against his interlocutor in Rom 2:21–22 and Josephus’s account of a notorious Jewish teacher in Rome (A.J. 18.81–84) is a catalyst for re-examining the purpose, topic, and argument of Rom 2:17–29. The foreground issue is not the soteriological status of Jews, but the effectiveness of typical Jewish law-based teaching to solve human foolishness, wickedness, and impiety. Paul reframes the discourse topic to demonstrate that typical Jewish law-based educational activity is ineffective in bringing about God’s glory among the nations. The interlocutor is thus a foil for Paul’s own eschatologically conceived apostolic ministry.

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