From a broken covenant to circumcision of the heart: Pauline intertextual exegesis in Romans 2:17-29

Timothy Wayne Berkley, Marquette University


Previous studies of Rom 2:17-29 have given inadequate attention to Paul's intertextual exegesis of OT texts as a basis for his theological conclusions and the formation of his argument. In part this has been due to an underestimation of the importance of the passage in the context of the epistle. It has also been due to a need for methodological refinement in the identification of Pauline intertextual references to OT texts, and an application of such a methodology to the passage. This dissertation proposes a refinement of NT intertextual methodology designed to identify those OT references in Pauline texts which are the result of Paul's intentional exegesis, and which he applies in his own historical context. It examines the methodological history of development in this field, and establishes the place of this study in the larger world of intertextual NT studies. To distinguish exegetical references from "echo" or non-exegetical allusion, potential references are tested against seven methodological criteria; common vocabulary between the OT references and Paul's text, the occurrence of that vocabulary in clusters, links with other OT references, explication of Paul's argument and conclusions, recurrence, the sharing of common themes, and common linear development between the reference texts and that of Paul. On the basis of that methodology, this dissertation provides an intertextual analysis of Rom 2:17-29. It tests the thesis that Pauline intertextual exegesis of OT texts provides the basis for his conclusions in Rom 2:17-29. Application of this methodology to Rom 2:17-29 confirms Pauline intertextual exegesis of OT references as the basis for his conclusions in that passage. References from prophetic texts in Jer 7:2-11, 9:23-26, and Ezek 36:16-27 are applied to interpret the narrative texts of Deuteronomy 29-30 and Genesis 17. These texts provide Paul with a number of theological themes which form the basis for his argument in Rom 2:17-29 and which recur throughout Romans and its web of intertextual references.

Recommended Citation

Berkley, Timothy Wayne, "From a broken covenant to circumcision of the heart: Pauline intertextual exegesis in Romans 2:17-29" (1998). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9842427.