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Provoked to Saving Jealousy

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Reading Romans 9–11 as Theological Performance

image of Pneuma

The history of interpretation indicates that Christian interpretations take Romans 9–11 as a single, coherently designed statement of doctrine. There are, of course, disagreements within the consensus, but most readers seem to share two basic assumptions: (1) the apostle had a particular point to make, which he crafted with perfect success, and (2) a good reading of the passage discovers that point and makes it understandable so it can be used to build or support a particular Christian teaching. At an angle to that tradition, I want to suggest that Romans 9–11 can perhaps also (if not more) fruitfully be read not as a tidy doctrinal treatise but as a torrid theological performance, a transfiguring work of art staged as a series of rhetorical moves and countermoves that in the end leaves us not with nothing but with more than we dared to imagine possible.

Affiliations: 1: Pentecostal Theological Seminary


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