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A long tradition of exegesis emphasized the difference between Judaism and the message of Paul: that whereas a Pharisee boasted of his success if he scrupulously obeyed every precept of the Law, and thus earned the salvation to which Jewishness gave an entitlement, Paul held that a true relationship with God came through faith in Christ; it was by grace, and virtue was given by the Spirit. But such a contrast cannot be supported by the evidence, for Judaism was itself a religion of grace, offering God's forgiveness. The essential difference lies rather in Paul's conviction of being called to be an ‘inclusivist’ apostle proclaiming a new humanity in Christ in which both Jews and Gentiles were equal (Gal. 5: 6) without any ground for boasting of a superiority (Rom. 2: 17–24).

Subjects: Biblical Studies.

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