Morning Meditations

palms of a elderly woman, isolated on black copyspace, grain addedIn spite of Paul’s explicit effort to check prideful attitudes toward Jews among the non-Jews to whom he writes in Rome, a negative characterization of Jews naturally arises from Paul’s use of πώρωσις in Romans 11:25, which is typically translated “hardening,” and thus, “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” (NRSV), or “that a partial hardening has happened to Israel” (NASB). Whether translated to indicate that only some Israelites have been hardened, as in the NRSV, or that Israel itself has been hardened to some degree, as in the NASB, commentators also regularly conflate this reference to hardness with God’s hardening of the heart of Pharaoh–although Paul does not refer to the heart of Israelites being hardened. A negative judgment of the condition of the Jewish other is thereby perpetuated, however unwittingly, within an interpretive discourse surrounded by language designed to argue against just such hostile assessments of their…

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