Central to Markus Barth’s work as a New Testament exegete was the pursuit of an ever more responsible interpretation of the letters of the apostle Paul that combined rigorous historical and theological concerns into a form of “biblical theology.” The culmination of this endeavour is unarguably his two-volume commentary on Ephesians. This essay explores the central claims advanced in that commentary with an especial focus on Barth’s claim that Ephesians 2:11–22 represents a high point in Paul’s witness concerning Jews and Gentiles. It goes on to demonstrate how Barth understood justification as the ‘sociohistorical’ outworking of God’s reconciling act in Jesus Christ. It concludes by examining some of the consequences of Barth’s contentions for orienting Christians toward the important task of Jewish-Christian relations in the present.
- Jewish-Christian relations