Sunday, 30 October 2016
We the People: Israel and the Catholicity of Jesus,
Tommy Givens, Fortress, 2014, page 278
Tommy Givens has been surveying the way in which G-d's election plays out in the case of Israel. He is keen to point out that this only works because of G-d.
The history of Israel's election through exile helps us to guard against the temptation of describing Israel's election in terms of the remnant's obedience to the covenant law.
It isn't? But surely ...
We might want to say that Israel remembered its G-d because some Israelites continued to perform circumcision, observe the Sabbath and other restivals, and eat kashruth, or that they obeyed some other crucial subset of the covenant commands.
And there might have been small groups doing just that. Doesn't that count for anything?
We might want to say that G-d's election is G-d's promise that at least some of Israel will not forsake the law of the covenant or that G-d's electionn is ontically equivalent to a modicum of Israelite faithfulness (which could then harden into a boundary to be policed, however apparently generous). But the Tanakh won't let us do that.
It won't? What then ...
That is not the basis of Israel's hope in exile, for the covenant has been forsaken. The faithfulness of some is therefore not what Israel remembers as its hope. Israel can only hope in the mercy of G-d's election; G-d's faithfulness is the only covenant faithfulness that it can remember as the basis of its hope and its life.