Title: The Identity of the “Lord’s Flock” in Psalms of Solomon 17:40
Abstract: The term “the Lord’s flock” in Psalms of Solomon 17:40 has a rich background in the Hebrew Bible. In the Scripture the term exclusively refers to Israel and is especially prominent in prophetic literature and in the Psalms. The aim of this paper will be to address the question: to whom does the term ‘Lord’s flock’ in Pss. Sol. 17:40 refer? Three options are possible: (1) corporate, national Israel with no individual distinction, (2) a subset and nucleus of national Israel, who are ‘sinfully righteous’, or (3) a group made up of both a subset of Israel and ‘reverent Gentiles’. Through a careful analysis of the context of the Psalms of Solomon I will argue that the third interpretive option, a group of both Israel and the Gentiles, is the most likely. This conclusion would then provide a parallel to the Messianism found in the New Testament and especially the Gospel of Matthew.
Pauline Epistles Group
Title: Saint Paul and “all Israel” in Romans 11:26
Abstract: According to Romans 11:26 Saint Paul believed that “all Israel” will be saved. A convincing interpretation of this phrase has proved elusive to commentators on Paul’s epistle to the Romans. Cranfield perhaps most usefully clarified the interpretive options as has more recently Bassler. The phrase can be interpreted to refer to: (1) all the elect, both Jews and Gentiles; (2) all the elect of the nation of Israel; (3) the whole nation Israel, including every individual member; (4) the nation as a whole, but not necessarily including every individual member. In this paper I will suggest that these interpretive options do not adequately take into account the multivalent nature of the term “Israel” in the Jewish Scriptures on which Paul depended. I will offer the heretofore unappreciated Pauline context of Davidic Messianism (Rom 1:3) as the best background against which to understand this phrase. When this is done, Saint Paul’s “all Israel” may refer to a restored political-national Israel in the pattern of the Davidic and Solomonic Empires which comprised both Israelites, those of both the northern and southern tribes, as well as Gentiles. This “inclusive” Israel interpretation distinguishes itself from other such inclusive readings of the phrase by maintaining national Israel’s central place in salvation history—thereby not falling into supersessionism, but also allows for the an entity that includes both the restored southern and northern tribal league and non-Israelites under the political-national term “Israel”.
Title: The Friendship of Matthew and Paul: A Response to a Recent Trend in the Interpretation of Early Christianity
Abstract: Recently it has been argued that Matthew’s so-called Great Commission (Matt 28:16-20) represents a direct anti-Pauline polemic. While this thesis may be theoretically possible and perhaps fits within the perspective of an earlier era in New Testament research, namely the Tübingen school, the evidence in both Matthew and the Pauline corpus does not support such at reading of early Christianity. In this paper I will argue that an antithetical relationship between Matthew’s Great Commission and Paul’s Gentile mission as reflected in his epistles is only possible (1) on a certain reading of Matthew and (2) on a caricature of Paul. In light of the most recent research in both Matthew’s Great Commission and the historical Paul, these two traditions can be seen as harmonious and not antithetical in spite of the recent arguments to the contrary. This argument will prove a further corrective to the view of early Christianity that posits a deep schism between so-called Jewish Christianity and Paul’s Law-Free mission to the Gentiles.