The God of Israel and christian theology – part two

The post-supersessionist proposals of R. Kendall Soulen

On Kendall Soulen’s book ‘The God of Israel and Christian Theology

By: J. Bol

In my first article about the book ‘The God of Israel and Christian Theology’ I discussed several of Kendall Soulen’s most important arguments for the theological untenability of replacement theology. The article ended with a discussion of the deeply radical influence of what Soulen calls the ‘canonical narrative’ and the structural nature of supersessionism connected closely to it. I refer the reader to my first article about Soulen’s book for his arguments and for his discussion of the central concept of ‘canonical narrative’ in Soulens analysis of the origin of replacement theology. The history of Israel and her relationship with God stood in the shadow of the Gospel from the very beginning in this ‘canonical narrative’, the basic concept of of the four highlights in salvation history as developed by the early second century church: Creation-Fall-Coming of Christ and the End. Soulen remarks in this respect: “As a result, God’s identity as the God of Israel and God’s history with the Jewish people become largely indecisive for the Christian conception of God.”(p.33).

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The God of Israel and christian theology – part one

The post-supersessionist proposals of R. Kendall Soulen

On Kendall Soulen’s book ‘The God of Israel and Christian Theology

By: J. Bol

Somewhere in 2007 it became clear to me for the first time how seriously the history of Christendom is laden with anti-Judaism. Since then have the anti-Jewish theology of the early church, the anti-Jewish legislation since Emperor Constantine and the many massacres among the Jews since the crusades raised enormous questions in my mind. The most urgent one was how all this could be reconciled with the Gospel of forgiveness and brotherly love that has become so dear to me since many years. It is hopefully clear that they are irreconcilable. The history of the origin of replacement theology is inextricably linked to the anti-Judaism of the early church. And what are we to think of the reformed theology that has also been dear to me for a very long time? It became clear to me, after much study, that this tradition is also marked by replacement theology that goes back to the early church fathers Justin and Irenaeus – replacement theology that eventually got its definitive form under Augustine, the father of the fathers of the church.

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