Thursday, December 22, 2011

Deuteronomy 32:21; Greek Fathers on the Objective Genitive

I have two items for my write-up today on Justification and Variegated Nomism, Volume 2: The Paradoxes of Paul:

1. I think it was in Terence Donaldson's Paul and the Gentiles that I read that Paul could not have gotten his views on the inclusion of the Gentiles simply by reading the Old Testament, for Paul presents a picture unlike what is in the Old Testament prophets. In the prophets, what we often see is that God will restore Israel and renew her spiritually, then the Gentiles will worship God. Paul, by contrast, says the opposite: that the Gentiles will enter the people of God, and then that will provoke the Jews to jealousy and their relationship with God will be restored. On page 200 of Justification and Variegated Nomism, Volume 2: The Paradoxes of Paul, however, Douglas Moo affirms that the Old Testament itself says that God will use the Gentiles to provoke the Jews to jealousy. Deuteronomy 32:21 states (in the KJV): "They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation." Paul quotes that verse in Romans 10:19, and he explains what that jealousy entails in Romans 11:11, 14.

I do not know what Deuteronomy 32:21 means when it says that God will move Israel to jealousy with a non-people. The context of the passage is that God will punish Israel for her sins, through Gentile powers. The Jewish commentator Rashi states that the verse means that God will make Israel angry, which (in my opinion) is different from saying that God will make her jealous----resentful that someone else has something that she lacks. The Hebrew word can mean jealous or zealous (see here), and I do not know how either meaning fits into Deuteronomy 32. Perhaps a solution is to say that God makes Israel jealous when he punishes her and places her in a low condition, while other nations are prospering or (at least) are not on the brink of collapse.

2. You know the whole debate about whether Paul means "faith of Jesus" or "faith in Jesus" when he says we are saved by faith? The debate concerns whether Paul thinks that we're saved by our faith, or the faithfulness of Christ. Well, Moises Silva says on page 228 that the Greek church fathers assumed Paul meant "faith in Jesus."

2 comments:

  1. On 1. It looks like things happened in the New Testament, and they went looking for scriptures that they could read that way. I often find that the scriptures quoted don't really seem fitting. Tom Wright 'gets round' (my opinion) this by saying they quoted things that were apt in the context of the whole story of things. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would enlighten the disciples, and Jesus himself is said to have stayed around after his resurrection opening the disciples' minds to the meaning of scripture. The trouble with the latter claim is that the disciples still didn't seem to grasp things very well, eg the question of Jews, Torah, Gentiles.

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  2. "The trouble with the latter claim is that the disciples still didn't seem to grasp things very well, eg the question of Jews, Torah, Gentiles."

    I think that's why there are many scholars who contend that the historical Jesus envisioned his mission as to the Jews only.

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