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If Sons, Then HeirsA Study of Kinship and Ethnicity in the Letters of Paul$
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Caroline Johnson Hodge

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182163

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182163.001.0001

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 “All the Gentiles Will Be Blessed in You”

 “All the Gentiles Will Be Blessed in You”

(p.93) 5 “All the Gentiles Will Be Blessed in You”
If Sons, Then Heirs

Caroline Johnson Hodge (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter proposes a context for interpreting the phrase “in Christ” that would have resonated with Paul's audience: the ideology of patrilineal descent. The same logic which underlies the notion of “coming out of” (ek) your ancestors also shapes the concept of being “in” your ancestors. Indeed, these are two ways of expressing the same relationship: ancestors contain descendants. To understand how “in Christ” fits in with this descent logic, it is instructive to consider the other contexts in which Paul applies a similar concept of being “in” someone: the gentiles are blessed “in” Abraham (Gal 3:8), and true descendants of Abraham are said to be “in” Isaac (Rom 9:7). This chapter discusses a range of texts — Greek, Roman, and Jewish — that maintain similar notions about ancestors and descendants, and then focuses on the Septuagint (Paul's source for this “in” language) and Paul's letters to show how Paul turns this phrase into his own discourse of kinship for gentiles.

Keywords:   en, in Christ, patrilineal descent, contain, Isaac, Abraham, Septuagint

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