|About the Book|
Synopsis: The relationship between the church and Israel in Pauline interpretation has long been an area of considerable debate. The traditional view has understood Paul to identify the church with Israel, such that the church is the sole inheritorMoreSynopsis: The relationship between the church and Israel in Pauline interpretation has long been an area of considerable debate. The traditional view has understood Paul to identify the church with Israel, such that the church is the sole inheritor of Israels sacred history, privileges, and divine promises. Yet recent developments in Pauline scholarship have called this view into question. The so-called New Perspective and its emphasis upon the decidedly Jewish context of Pauls theologizing, along with an increasing sensitivity to the post-Holocaust context of modern interpreters, have brought about readings that understand Paul to maintain a distinction between Gods historical people, Israel, and the newly created multiethnic communities of Christ followers, that is, the church. Nevertheless, there are still scholars who, while embracing the New Perspective, have interpreted Paul as holding that the church is indeed identifiable in some way as Israel. This work explores a spectrum of scholarly views on the subject advanced between 1920 (as per the publication of C. H. Dodds The Meaning of Paul for Today) and the present. Furthermore, it examines the most relevant Pauline texts upon which these views are founded, in dialogue with various readings of these texts that have been offered. Each view on Pauls understanding of the church vis-a-vis Israel is critically assessed in light of the exegetical findings. Using this approach Zoccali demonstrates that a view holding to both a certain distinction between, as well as an equating of, the church and Israel represents the most plausible interpretation of Pauls understanding. Endorsements: Christopher Zoccali is a careful reader. His volume offers a clear, critically nuanced overview of prevailing and emerging views of the last century of scholarship. He makes his own analytical framework clear as well, and from therein perceptively explains how each viewpoint sustains or strains the contours of the textual evidence. --Mark D. Nanos Rockhurst University As with any fundamental shift in perspective, the new perspective on Paul has brought with it a new set of puzzles and problems. Of these, none is more puzzling or problematical than the significance of Israel for Paul. In this excellent book, Zoccali provides us with a very helpful description of the variety of interpretation among contemporary scholars and a penetrating analysis of the key points of exegetical debate. A very welcome contribution. --Terence L. Donaldson Wycliffe College, Toronto Author Biography: Christopher Zoccali (PhD, University of Wales Lampeter) is an independent scholar in Rochester, New York, and is the author of several articles and papers on the New Testament.