What about taking "day of wrath" in Romans 2 as AD 70? Some arguments:
1) Dunn lists the verses that use similar phrases for "wrath and indignation" and "tribulation and distress," and most of them are about historical judgments on Israel. There's a cluster of uses in Deut 28:55ff, which have specific reference to the distress that Israel would experience before the exile. Other OT passages that use similar language are talking about historical judgments; Dunn (strangely) lists Is 13:9 as an exception.
2) Do we really want to say that the final judgment operates "to the Jew first and also to the Greek"? Does Paul's argument about those "with law" and those "without law" really work after AD 70?
3) 2:4 refers to the riches of God's kindness to Israel in particular, but I think there's an exodus subtext to this: It was the kindness of God that was leading Pharaoh to repentance and Pharaoh is a great example of hardened heart; plus, "riches" and "patience" are picked up in 9:23 (chiastically related to ch 2??), where in the context Israel has been compared to Egypt/Pharaoh. If this works, then the stubbornness that is treasuring up wrath is like the stubbornness of Pharaoh, and the judgment is going to be a series of plagues on the new Egypt -- Israel (cf. Revelation).
4) This might actually do better justice to the specific language here. 1:16 and 2:9-10 do not say "first Jew, then Gentile," but "first Jew, then GREEK." And I'm inclined to think that Greek and Gentile are not interchangeable terms. (After 2:12, Paul begins talking about ETHNE, instead of Hellenes, so there the point appears to be broader, applying to "barbarians" as well as to Jews and Greeks.) If they are not interchangeable, then the judgment described in 2:9-10 is pretty specific: It's a judgment on Jews and Hellenes. I'm neither, so the judgment doesn't cover me at all, and can't be talking about a universal final judgment.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Friday, November 07, 2003 at 07:31 AM
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