Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (School of Philosophy and Theology)

Schools and Centres

Philosophy and Theology

First Supervisor

Dr Peter Christofides

Second Supervisor

Dr Lawrence Pang


To investigate Paul’s thought on the Gentile problem is to ask how, in Paul’s understanding, the Gentiles have come to be included as the recipients of the blessings promised to Abraham’s descendants when, in fact, they are not Abraham’s descendants. Constructing a satisfactory response, however, is fraught with difficulty. Paul’s theological assertions concerning his Gentile mission do not always fit neatly together and the variegated nature of Pauline scholarship has made his thought on the Gentile problem appear differently across many perspectives. Is Paul’s Gentile mission best understood through the Jewish “eschatological pilgrimage” tradition, as some scholars suggest? Or is it simply the outflowing of his insistence on faith in Christ, as the “Old Perspective” championed? Is he chiefly concerned with extending covenantal membership to Gentiles, as the “New Perspective” proffers? Or is he adamant that the Gentiles remain Gentiles and not become Jews, as the “Radical New Perspective” argues? Does he ever turn to Stoic physics or the Roman legal context to incorporate Gentiles into the covenant community? Attempting to answer questions such as these can help one appreciate the fact that the Gentile problem has become something of an academic battleground. In contemporary discussions on the matter, however, little attention has been addressed to Paul’s language of “image” in passages that speak of being or becoming an “image” of Christ. The distinctive contribution of the present study is that it begins to fill this gap in Pauline scholarship by intertextually analysing three such passages (1 Cor 15:42-49; Rom 8:28-30; Col 1:15-23) and asking afresh how these two aspects – Paul’s language of “image” and his thought on the Gentile problem – belong together. By doing so, it seeks to identify and explore any insights that emerge from this analysis and shed new light on Paul’s thought vis-à-vis the Gentile problem.

Included in

Religion Commons