Journals Higher Education



Published: 13 July 2007

240 Pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780195182163

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Bookseller Code (06)

If Sons, Then Heirs

A Study of Kinship and Ethnicity in the Letters of Paul

Caroline Johnson Hodge

By extending Christ's redemption to those who were not ethnically Jewish, Paul has long been credited with transforming Christianity into a universal, ethnically-neutral religion. In this book, Caroline Johnson Hodge challenges this interpretation through a detailed examination of kinship and ethnic language in Pauls letters. Arguing against firmly entrenched claims that Paul's Epistles eliminate ethnicity from Christianity, Johnson Hodge claims the exact opposite: Paul treats ethnicity as a central element of the Gentile believer's entrance into communion with Jesus. Paul creates a myth of origins for Gentiles; through baptism Jews and Gentiles alike could share a common ancestor in Abraham. In Johnson Hodge's reading, Paul does not combine Jews and Gentiles under a new, homogenous group of "Christians," but instead sees baptism as a way of creating two separate but related lineages of Abraham.