Romans 7 and Cultural Assimilation

In a previous post, I laid out my position (taken from Ted Jennings, as well as Origen of Alexandria) that in Romans 7, Paul is speaking in the voice of a Gentile convert to Judaism rather than in his own voice. I have since thought further about this topic and about how it works in the context of Paul’s broader goal in Romans: establishing the validity of his novel idea of a messianic community made up of Jews and Gentiles, that is, directly including Gentiles qua Gentiles without requiring conversion to Judaism first. I believe that Paul’s insights into the mind of the Gentile convert can be generalized as a commentary on the problem of cultural assimilation.

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