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A Radical New Perspective on the Metaphor of the Dividing Wall in Ephesians

Svartvik, Jesper LU (2016) In Foi et Vie
Abstract
A consequence of the assertion by many scholars that the Epistle to the Ephesians is a deutero-Pauline text is that “the new perspective”, suggested by J. D. G. Dunn et alii – and even less, “the radical new perspective”, forwarded by Pamela Eisenbaum et alii – on Paul’s letters has not been applied to the same extent as in the scholarly discussion on Paul’s non-disputed letters. Given that the author of Ephesians uses the spatial metaphor of a broken down “dividing wall” and that (s)he proclaims that “the law with its commandments and ordinances” has been “abolished”, it is most remarkable that this epistle has not yet attracted more attention by scholars of early Jewish-Christian relations. Most commentaries simply take for granted that... (More)
A consequence of the assertion by many scholars that the Epistle to the Ephesians is a deutero-Pauline text is that “the new perspective”, suggested by J. D. G. Dunn et alii – and even less, “the radical new perspective”, forwarded by Pamela Eisenbaum et alii – on Paul’s letters has not been applied to the same extent as in the scholarly discussion on Paul’s non-disputed letters. Given that the author of Ephesians uses the spatial metaphor of a broken down “dividing wall” and that (s)he proclaims that “the law with its commandments and ordinances” has been “abolished”, it is most remarkable that this epistle has not yet attracted more attention by scholars of early Jewish-Christian relations. Most commentaries simply take for granted that this is a reference to the historical events in year 70 C.E., i.e., that the Temple at that time was to be understood not as a place of divine encounter but as a theological hindrance to true worship, similar to the widespread assertion that the accounts in the Synoptic Gospels about the veil in the temple being torn at the time of the death of Jesus is an indication that up until that moment in history people had no – or at least limited – possibility to approach God.

This article applies to Ephesians both the methods and insights of “the radical new perspective” and also recent scholarship on sacrifice and atonement (e.g., Moshe Halbertal’s recently published and thought-provoking study On Sacrifice), especially in the discussion in Eph. 2.11–22 on the dividing wall and the abolished law. By way of conclusion, this article also suggests how the author of Ephesians would have answered a question once posed by John Dominic Crossan: ”Why … did Christianity arrive and Judaism survive?” (Less)
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organization
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keywords
Ephesians, wall, supersessionism, replacement theology
in
Foi et Vie
language
French
LU publication?
yes
id
5a20e908-ef75-4829-a2c5-144db7f69bdb (old id 8569763)
date added to LUP
2016-01-28 13:41:01
date last changed
2016-04-16 11:45:15
@article{5a20e908-ef75-4829-a2c5-144db7f69bdb,
  abstract     = {A consequence of the assertion by many scholars that the Epistle to the Ephesians is a deutero-Pauline text is that “the new perspective”, suggested by J. D. G. Dunn et alii – and even less, “the radical new perspective”, forwarded by Pamela Eisenbaum et alii – on Paul’s letters has not been applied to the same extent as in the scholarly discussion on Paul’s non-disputed letters. Given that the author of Ephesians uses the spatial metaphor of a broken down “dividing wall” and that (s)he proclaims that “the law with its commandments and ordinances” has been “abolished”, it is most remarkable that this epistle has not yet attracted more attention by scholars of early Jewish-Christian relations. Most commentaries simply take for granted that this is a reference to the historical events in year 70 C.E., i.e., that the Temple at that time was to be understood not as a place of divine encounter but as a theological hindrance to true worship, similar to the widespread assertion that the accounts in the Synoptic Gospels about the veil in the temple being torn at the time of the death of Jesus is an indication that up until that moment in history people had no – or at least limited – possibility to approach God. <br/><br>
This article applies to Ephesians both the methods and insights of “the radical new perspective” and also recent scholarship on sacrifice and atonement (e.g., Moshe Halbertal’s recently published and thought-provoking study On Sacrifice), especially in the discussion in Eph. 2.11–22 on the dividing wall and the abolished law. By way of conclusion, this article also suggests how the author of Ephesians would have answered a question once posed by John Dominic Crossan: ”Why … did Christianity arrive and Judaism survive?”},
  author       = {Svartvik, Jesper},
  keyword      = {Ephesians,wall,supersessionism,replacement theology},
  language     = {fre},
  series       = {Foi et Vie},
  title        = {A Radical New Perspective on the Metaphor of the Dividing Wall in Ephesians},
  year         = {2016},
}