Christianity is extensively understood to be a "universal" faith that transcends the particularities of heritage and tradition, together with alterations with regards to kinship and ethnicity. In conventional Pauline scholarship, this portrait of Christianity has been justified by way of the letters of Paul. Interpreters declare that Paul removes ethnicity, or not less than separates it from what's vital approximately Christianity.

This research demanding situations that conception. via an in depth exam of kinship and ethnic language in Paul's letters, Johnson Hodge argues that notions of peoplehood and lineage usually are not rejected or downplayed via Paul; as an alternative they're critical to his gospel.

Paul's leader hindrance is the prestige of the gentile peoples who're alienated from the God of Israel. Ethnicity defines this theological challenge, simply because it shapes his personal evangelizing of the ethnic and spiritual "other." in keeping with Paul, God has spoke back to the gentile obstacle via Christ. Johnson Hodge information how Paul makes use of the common sense of patrilineal descent to build a fable of origins for gentiles: via baptism into Christ the gentiles turn into descendants of Abraham, followed sons of God and coheirs with Christ. even supposing Jews and gentiles now percentage a standard ancestor, they don't seem to be collapsed into one team (of "Christians," for example). they're separate yet comparable lineages of Abraham.

Through comparisons with different historical authors, Johnson Hodge indicates that Paul isn't on my own in his strategic use of kinship and ethnic language. simply because kinship and ethnicity current themselves as common and glued, but also are open to negotiation and transforming, they're potent instruments in organizing humans and gear, shaping self-understanding and defining membership.

If Sons, Then Heirs demonstrates that Paul's considering is immersed within the tale of Israel. He speaks no longer as a Christian theologian, yet as a first-century Jewish instructor of gentiles responding to concrete occasions in those early groups of Christ-followers. As such Paul doesn't reject or critique Judaism, yet responds to God's name to be a "light to the nations."

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