Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Pamela Eisenbaum, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gregory Robbins

Third Advisor

Nicholas Rockwell


Bible, Early Christianity, New Testament, Paul, Romans


For many years, Pauline scholars have wrestled with two related questions: (1) how did Paul envision the composition of the audience for his letter to Rome? (2) What did Paul see as the role of the Law in the community of Jesus followers? As to the first question, I contend that Paul wrote to an implied audience composed of non-Judeans who had first converted to Judaism and then acknowledge Jesus as Messiah, or who became Jews at the time of their acceptance of Jesus as Messiah. In either case, they adopted the beliefs and practices of the followers of Jesus within the practices of Judaism. I refer to this audience as non-Judean, Jewish Jesus followers. I support the historical plausibility of this reconstruction of the audience through a review of the history of the Judeans in Rome including the development of the community of Jesus followers in that city. My reconstruction of the audience is demonstrated through my reading of Paul's rhetoric in Rom and his emphasis throughout the letter on establishing himself as a member of the Jewish in-group.

Paul's position on the Law follows from that audience and the purpose for Paul's writing to Rome. With many others, I read Rom as a letter seeking assistance from Roman Jesus followers for future missionary activities (his collection for the community in Jerusalem and/or his establishment of a missionary presence in Spain). As a petitioner, Paul wrote a conciliatory letter. Writing to an audience of Jewish Jesus followers, Paul carefully sets out his understanding of the relationship among all Jews (Jesus followers or no), his congregations in the East (composed of non-Judean, non-Jewish Jesus followers), and the Law. Paul reiterates in Rom that the provisions of the Sinai covenant distinctive to Jews do not apply to non-Jews. It is through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, as foretold in Scriptures, which themselves constitute part of the Law, that non-Judean, non-Jewish Jesus followers are brought into the family of Abraham and into righteous relations with the God of Israel. The Law therefore remains in force for all Jesus followers.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Dennis Haugh


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

382 p.


Biblical studies