European Association of Biblical Studies Annual Meeting location:Vienna date:22-26 July 2007
Paul had a constant care to raise money for the Jerusalem churches in Christ (cf. Rom 15.26; Gal 2.10; 1 Cor 16.1-4; 2 Cor 8-9). This undertaking has usually been perceived in one of four ways: (i) as offering financial help for the Jerusalem poor; (ii) as a sign of Jewish-Gentile Christian unity; (iii) as a replacement for circumcision and sacrifice rituals by showing the Gentile’s wholehearted commitment to the God of Israel; or (iv) as an eschatological sign regarding the Messiahship of Jesus. This short paper will address two main issues related to the last interpretation: (i) did Paul conceive of his collection for Jerusalem in the framework of an eschatological pilgrimage to Zion?; (ii) did Paul understand the ecclesia to be part of the Israel of God? The answer to these two questions has important implications for both Pauline theology and Christian/Jewish relations.