Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Recommended Article

Namely, Christopher Zoccali's "'And So All Israel Will be Saved': Competing Interpretations of Romans 11.26 in Pauline Scholarship." JSNT 30, no. 3 (2008): 289–318.

It presents a strong, lucidly argued and extremely well conceived case that the 'all Israel' in Romans 11:26 refers to the total elect from the nation. It may well have me convinced, actually.

I decided to drop Wright's 'ecclesiological' approach because I couldn't believe 'Israel' was meant to be read in light of redefinitions in previous chapters (Rom. 2, 9 etc.), as Wright urges. Instead, the context of Romans 11 seemed to make clear 'Israel' meant ethnic Israel in this case. I thus adopted the most popular scholarly approach to this question, that the salvation of 'all Israel' indicates an eschatological miracle (though I was unsure whether 'all Israel' was to be taken diachronically or synchronically). This approach has many supporters, e.g. Bruce, Cranfield, Käsemann, Sanders, Dunn, Hofius, Barrett, Moo, Stuhlacher, Esler, Witherington etc. (cf. Zoccali, p. 290 n.2 for more).

However, I couldn't shake the feeling that the 'eschatological miracle' answer raised more problems that it solved, and that it was asking the wrong sort of questions necessary to understand Paul. But I didn't want to allow a wider context of Paul's argument to blind me to the content of specific passages, to I took a deep breath, signed my name to 'eschatological miracle' reading, and hoped things would make sense later.

They didn't. So I was thrilled by Zoccali's lucid argument, and it makes sense of almost everything associated with the passage. Of course, it stumbles over the 'all' in Romans 11:26 a little, which consequently gives me pause for thought still, but it does not make me stumble so as to fall.


At 6/22/2008 3:53 PM, Anonymous Brian said...

Chris writes: "I decided to drop Wright's 'ecclesiological' approach because I couldn't believe 'Israel' was meant to be read in light of redefinitions in previous chapters (Rom. 2, 9 etc.), as Wright urges."

This is splendid! Splendid indeed!

At 6/22/2008 4:07 PM, Anonymous Angie Van De Merwe said...

If etnic Israel is "saved" and yet, the Church was grafted into Israel, then, is it that all peoples are saved, because they are grafted into Israel. If this is so, then my question is...
The greatest paradigm for man's ultimate flourishing is...the American form of gives a structure of "law and order", while allowing freedom to man and religions....

At 6/22/2008 7:39 PM, Anonymous Russ said...

Your insight about Paul's meaning is in keeping with the perspective of many of the Jews in the time of Paul. It was believed that God had a predetermined number of the elect and when that number was reached the end would come.
I believe this idea is documented in Elliott's "The Survivors of Israel" as well as in some writings of Neusner.


At 6/22/2008 8:15 PM, Anonymous Jason Pratt said...

Since I can't reference the article, allow me to ask a question as to content:

How does Zoccali connect (or disconnect perhaps) the hope of the salvation of all Israel to those among Israel who have stumbled over the stumbling stone?


At 6/22/2008 8:51 PM, Anonymous Angie Van De Merwe said...

Another question....In light of the recent "discovery" as Judiasm as a religion and NOT an ethnicity, how do you understand the whole of Christian understanding....wasn't it that Paul used the imagery of Jewish understanding (religion) in the context of his Greek education?

At 6/22/2008 10:04 PM, Anonymous Jeremy Priest said...

Is this ethnic Israel solution a la Brant Pitre's critique of Wright's "exile" scenario, judging that the actual exile is the continued scattering of the ten Northern Tribes?

At 6/23/2008 3:41 AM, Anonymous N T Wrong said...

I was talking to somebody who happened to proudly announce they had a copy of Knibb's 1978 edition of Rylands Ethiopic MS. 23. I recalled reading your question, and asked about 1 En 49.3:

'Rylands Eth MS 23 at that point reads "wamanfasa ella nomu basedq," i.e. "spirit" in the singular. The singular is manfas, the construct manfasa, the absolute plural manafest.'

At 6/23/2008 3:45 AM, Anonymous N T Wrong said...

Incidentally, why?

At 6/23/2008 5:59 PM, Anonymous Glenn said...


How does his argument compare to James Jordan's work?

The Future of Israel ReExamined

- Glenn

At 6/24/2008 10:16 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Glenn, I mean, not Glen. Sorry.

At 6/24/2008 10:16 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Angie,
The most recent post on the blog may be of interest to you in relation to your question.

Russ, thanks for your thoughts. I had not made that connection before, so thanks.

Jason, I will be honest. I will need to re-read the article to answer that one. Perhaps you can give me a bit of time!

Hi Jeremy, no that is something else, as far as I can see.

Thanks so much for your help on this! I really appreciate that. I was asking as I wondered if the passage could in any way reflect 1 Thess 4, and the 'dead in Christ'.

Thakns for that link, I will give it a read right away.

At 6/26/2008 1:40 AM, Anonymous N T Wrong said...

1 Thess 4 definitely contains the same idea - replaced by Paul's idea of Christ's own righteousness.

[Speculative mode] did Paul or others exegete the surprising singular in the Aramaic Vorlage as messianic? (Like his inventive exegesis on the 'one' seed.)

Who knows what happened between the Aramaic and Ethiopic, though.


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