Over fifty years ago, Vatican II's Nostra Aetate 4 drew from Romans 11 to challenge the way Paul's voice has been used to negatively discuss Jews and Judaism. The church called for Catholics to conceptualize Jews as "brothers" in "an everlasting covenant," and many other Christian organizations have expressed similar sentiments in the years since. Nevertheless, the portrayal of Jews as "branches broken off," "hardened," "without faith," "disobedient," and "enemies of God" whom Christians have "replaced" as "true Israel," are among the many ways that readers encounter Paul's views of Jews and Judaism in today's translations and interpretations of this chapter, and throughout the letter as well.
In the chapters in this volume, Nanos shows why these translations and interpretive decisions, among others, do not likely represent what Paul wrote or meant. Each essay offers challenges to the received view of Paul from the research hypothesis that Paul and the Christ-followers to whom he wrote were still practicing Judaism (a Jewish way of life) within subgroups of the Jewish synagogue communities of Rome, and that they understood Paul to observe Torah and promote Judaism for their communities.