The Future of Biblical Israel: How Should Christians Read Romans 9-11 Today?

In: Biblical Interpretation
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The article offers, from a Christian perspective, an ‘interested’ reading of Romans 9-11 with a view to the problem of Christian supersessionism. Focusing on the identity and character of Israel, it offers a theologically engaged reading that resists a classic supersessionist logic. Drawing on recent historical scholarship on Jewish and Christian developments in the early centuries CE, the article argues for the underdetermined, contested and constructed character of postbiblical Israel. It then builds on a minority trajectory within recent Pauline scholarship that finds only one Israel in Romans 9-11, an Israel which embraces Christ-believing Gentiles but does not exclude non-Christ-believing Jews. Finally, it argues for a retrieval of Karl Barth’s insight (developed in the second edition of his Romans commentary) that hardened Israel is the church. Christians are thereby summoned not just to solidarity with others who have been hardened, but also to confession of their own hardening.

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