Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Curse of Death

A new(-ish) book by Rodrigo Morales, The Spirit and the Restoration of Israel: New Exodus and New Creation Motifs in Galatians (WUNT 2/282; Mohr Siebeck, 2010), has recently been reviewed in RBL by Sigurd Grindheim. It looks like an interesting book, and I especially took notice when Grindheim summarized Morales' argument such that it parallels an interpretation of a passage unmentioned by Grindheim in his review (and Morales in his book?) that I offered on this blog recently.

I was talking about Acts 13:39--which says that Jesus has rescued you from something the Torah could not rescue you from--and I suggested that even more than sin, the verse referred to death as that from which Jews needed a rescue. Now I see that Morales says something similar, though I'm not sure that he brings Acts 13:39 to bear on the issue. I quote from the second page of the review by Grindheim:
The most detailed discussion in the book is devoted to the notorious crux in Gal 3:10–14. Morales argues that Paul did not speak in hypotheticals when he quoted the curse from Deut 27:26. Rather, this curse was already a fact that affected all Israel due to their disobedient heart. Relying on an article by Joel Willitts, Morales shows that Ezekiel and Nehemiah also understood this curse to be in effect. In contrast to James Scott and N.T. Wright, Morales observes that Paul understood the curse not as exile but as death. Israel’s predicament, as it is reflected in Galatians, is not that they continue to be in a state of exile but that they cannot be free from death.
UPDATE: Morales' book is searchable on Google Books and I can confirm that Morales does not cite Acts 13:39 in his book.

No comments: