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Pure Grace? Paul's Distinctive Jewish Theology of Gift

Barclay, J.M.G.

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Abstract

Paul's theology of grace has been “perfected” (drawn to an end-of-the-line extreme) in many different ways during its history of reception, as super-abundant gift, prior gift, gift to the unworthy, gift without return, etc., often with the consequence that Judaism is figured as a grace-less religion. If we distinguish and disaggregate the many possible meanings of “grace,” we find in Second Temple Judaism not a single or simple concept, but a variety of distinct voices, and even debate, concerning the construal of divine beneficence. Paul does not stand apart from Judaism, but in the midst of this debate. The hallmark of his theology is the interpretation of the Christ-event as an incongruous divine gift (given without regard for worth) – a notion developed in and for his mission to the Gentiles. Judging from experience that the Torah is not how God evaluates worth, Paul locates the believers' symbolic capital only in Christ, with socially radical consequences from which we could still take inspiration today.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Mar 31, 2014
Publication Date Mar 31, 2014
Deposit Date Jun 9, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jun 16, 2014
Journal Studia Theologica
Print ISSN 0039-338X
Electronic ISSN 1502-7791
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 68
Issue 1
Pages 4-20
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/0039338x.2014.906064
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1459201

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