Original Research

We and They in Romans

Bruce J. Malina
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 58, No 2 | a566 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v58i2.566 | © 2002 Bruce J. Malina | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 October 2002 | Published: 17 December 2002

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Bruce J. Malina, Creighton University, United States

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According to cultural anthropologists ingroup/outgroup divisions are fundamental to Mediterranean views of the world. This essay considers Paul’s  in-group/outgroup, or  “we/they” perceptions. The ethnocentrism revealed in this dichotomy indicates that Paul, like other Mediterraneans of his time, showed little interest in the outgroup. Not surprisingly, neither was the God of Israel. Non-Israelites simply did not fit into the divine plan of things until non-Israelites, some centuries  later, began to identify with Paul’s “we” – something Paul did not foresee.


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