Paula Fredriksen: Paul’s Ninth Symphony and His “Ode to Joy”

Paula Fredriksen, Paul: The Pagans’ Apostle (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2017), 160-161.

If the letter to the Romans is Paul’s Ninth Symphony, Romans 11.11 begins its fourth movement, Paul’s own “Ode to Joy.” Alle Menschen werden Brüder, and the apostle, divining God’s plan, knows how. Too many gentiles? No: more, in fact, will come in, because God will save their “fullness” or “full number” (plērōma, Rom 11.25, harkening to Gen 10). Too few Jews? No: God has rendered them insensible only temporarily and strategically, to allow more time for the gentile mission (cf. 11.30-31). For the time being, the native branches of the olive tree of Israel have been broken off, to allow place for “wild olive” branches to be grafted in para physin, “against nature” (11.24). But the native branches will also be grafted back in (11.24). How many? Their “fullness” (plērōma); “all Israel” (pas Israēl, 11.12, 26).

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