NT Wright has long emphasized the centrality of the prophecy of the temple’s destruction to Jesus’ ministry and teaching. But that has not been as prominent a theme in Wright’s Paul work. In Paul: In Fresh Perspective (56), he makes it clear that he believes “Paul is aware . . . that early tradition included solemn warnings from Jesus himself about the imminent destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. This is the event which had to happen within a generation; and this, I think . . . is why Paul felt a sense of urgency in his mission to the Gentile world . . . . It was not that he had to save as many people as he could . . . before the ultimate end of all things. It was that he had to plant stable Jew-plus-Gentile churches on Gentile soil before the even occurred which would make Jews blame the Christians for letting the side down, and which would invite Gentiles to sneer at Jews for having lost their home and capital city.”

He finds this theme in 1 Thessalonians 2:6 and 2 Thessalonians. And “when he grieves over his fellow Jews in Romans 9-11, I think part at least of that grief is conditioned by his awareness that they are living under the shadow of impending national disaster.”

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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