What were the choices in the cafeteria of perspectives before the reformation and Luther’s so-called “Old Perspective”?  The Lutheran “Old Perspective” says that the problem with Judaism was that they were seeking to attain salvation by works-righteousness.  Enter then the “New Perspective” which says in various ways that the problem with Judaism was ethnocentrism.  Along with other Byzantine theologians–John of Damascus and Gregory Palamas–I was recently reading St Symeon the New Theologian (c. AD 1000), who has quite a bit to say about how salvation history and the relationship between the (covenantal) different stages.  In each stage God chooses a ‘portion’ through whom the next stage progresses.  It is in this setting that he addresses the problem of Jewish ethnocentrism:

Out of the scattering of the nations, as I said above, Israel became the Lord’s portion [from Noah’s descendants]. Now this Israel, having become a great nation and a populous people, then fell into idolatry just like that of the gentiles. A very few, like a kind of leaven, were preserved as a portion for God. If they had believed in Christ when he did come, and had worshipped Him as God, then all of them, just and unjust, God-fearing and idolatrous, would have become one, and at the same time would have been saved.  And, if this had happened, then the gentiles would have spoken up and said to Him: ‘God and Master of all, Lord of the ages, behold all these whom You have saved without respect to any works of righteousness. What, then? Are not we, too, the works of Your hands and of your fashioning?’ The Jews would have answered them with what in fact they did say: ‘No, but we ourselves alone are His portion; we alone His [p105] lot. The tablets of the covenant, the circumcision, and the rest—these are ours, promised to us alone, and given just to us. To you, though, He will never give anything’.   In reply, the gentiles would again raise an objection, though without reckoning the envious Jews worthy of an answer: ‘O Master and Word of God, You rightly rejected us as unworthy, abandoning us who were heedless as stiff-necked and disobedient . . . .  But, You showed love . . . [to these people who also turned to idols.]  You have been compassionate with them . . . .  Will you not have mercy on us too? . . .  And so, with justice and reason, those of the uncircumcision would have been joined with the circumcised who had sacrificed to idols, and all would have become one in Christ.  [But the Jews rejected the Christ, and God drew the Gentiles into his people.] [p106] The greater part of the portion [of Israel], which had fallen into unbelief by its own free choice, He cast away.  The gentiles entered instead of them and, by faith, were joined in their turn to the portion of election by faith.

Symeon the New Theologian, Ethical Discourse 2.6 (pg 104-106).

Symeon seems to have in mind something of the discussion from Romans 9-11.  (Much of Discourse 1 seems to me to be a reading of the larger flow of Romans.)  The New Perspective was really an old perspective that predates the reformation.

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