Collationes: Vlaams tijdschrift voor theologie en pastoraal vol:39 issue:1 pages:43-56
Recent socio-historical studies critically question whether a ‘Parting of the Ways’ between ‘Judaism’ and ‘Christianity’ can be said to begin in the 1st century CE. Yet many exegetes still present Paul as already advocating a fundamental break with Judaism and portray him (even if somewhat covertly) as the founder of Christianity. This also holds true for scholars who take Paul’s Jewish identity seriously. A closer look at these exegetical paradigms reveals that they are based on the concept, or even presupposition, of supersessionism. This idea (that Judaism is now somehow replaced by Christianity) often goes unchecked and yet deeply colours exegetes’ readings of Pauline texts vis-à-vis Israel. However, the question must be asked: did Paul teach such an idea? Was Paul a supersessionist or did he give ongoing theological space to Israel, post-Christus? This article gives an overview of the main positions taken in the debate and tentatively argues that Paul presents a mystery that ultimately defies supersessionist interpretations.