Friday, 11 December 2015
Unity and Diversity in Christ: Interpreting Paul in Context: Collected Essays,
Willian S. Campbell, Cascade Books, 2013, page 14-15
Thinking about Paul's landmark statement of the gospel priority - "To the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16) - Campbell remarks that:
Paul is usually very even-handed in relation to the main ethnic grouping of Jews and gentiles with which he chiefly operated in his mission.
Campbell then refers to 1 Corinthians 7:17ff where Paul commands "no circumcision for gentiles" and likewise, "no uncircumcision for Jews". Campbell sees this as a demonstration of
[Paul's] ongoing acknowledgement of ethnic difference rather than a mission for its removal.
Philip Esler points out that:
The solution, especially in the challenging context of interethnic conflict, seems to be to make a virtue out of necessity, by establishing "a common superordinate identity while simultaneously maintaining the salience of subgroup identities." (Esler, Conflict and Identity in Romans, 144)