Land, language, family connection, gods: these were the prime markers of ancient ethnicity, both for pagans and for Jews. Ethnicity, like divinity, was a category that spanned heaven and earth: gods and their humans formed family groups, and gods often shared in the ethnicity of the peoples who worshiped them. In this regard, the Jewish god was no exception. What was exceptional was the Jewish god’s claims to cross-ethnic supremacy: at the end of days, the gods of the nations as well as their peoples would acknowledge Israel’s god alone. Paul’s gospel to τὰ ἔθνη (“the nations”) coheres completely with this Jewish eschatological paradigm, and the Jewish identity of Paul’s god illumines essential aspects of Paul’s language of gentile ἁγιασμός (“separateness, sanctification”) and υἱοθεσία (“adoption as sons”).

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