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8 Paul’s Reading of Deuteronomy 30 in Romans 2:17–29

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows how Romans 2:17-29 draws heavily on Deuteronomy 29-30. By imaginatively reconstructing Paul's reading of the chapter, it begins to uncover how he expounds agency dynamics contained therein. The chapter examines overlapping motifs between the texts to work out how they converge. Since the relationship between Paul's thought and Israel's scriptural heritage is the primary focus of study, not every exegetical question will be addressed. In Deuteronomy 30, Life is given to those who turn and obey God, 'to keep and to do all his commandments and his righteous decrees'. In discussing Paul's use of heart-circumcision in Romans 2:29, Hays comments, 'The jarring metonymic image. appears both in Deuteronomy and in Jeremiah as a way of calling Israel to radical, wholehearted obedience'. It has been argued that Paul read Deuteronomy 30:1-10 as the assurance that in future God would transform humans by Christ and Spirit.

Keywords: commandments; Deuteronomy; eschatological life; heart-circumcision; Israel's scriptural heritage; Jeremiah; Paul; Romans

10.1163/9789004277328_009
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