The Ethnographic Character of Romans

The Dichotomies of Law-Faith and Jew-Gentile in Light of Greco-Roman and Hellenistic Jewish Ethnography Susann M. Liubinskas ... By the same token, an examination of the ethnographic characteristics of Romans brings together its ...

The Ethnographic Character of Romans

In this work Susann Liubinskas provides a coherent reading of Paul’s letter to the Romans in light of ancient ethnography. Paul, like his contemporaries, harnesses the apologetic power of this genre in order to fortify the members of the Roman house churches to maintain their distinctiveness by arguing for the historical legitimacy of the Christ movement’s laws, customs, and way of life. When the law-faith dichotomy is considered within the larger context of Paul’s ethnic discourse, its primary function as the means by which Paul draws lines of continuity and discontinuity between the Christ-movement and its venerable Jewish roots comes to light. Rather than viewing Paul as dealing with two different religions, we see Paul working to position believing Jews and Gentiles in relationship to Israel’s history with God, particularly as its finds its climax in Jesus Christ. Thus, Paul utilizes the law-faith dichotomy, not to describe two paths of salvation, but to redefine the people of God, in the new age, as ethnically inclusive.

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