Circumcision of the heart

Today’s entry in the list of extra-biblical traditions in the New Testament.

“But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” – Romans 2:29

“But after this they shall return to me in all uprightness and with all of their heart and soul. And I shall cut off the foreskin of their heart and the foreskin of the heart of their descendants. And I shall create for them a holy spirit, and I shall purify them so that they will not turn away from following me and to all my commandments.” – Book of Jubilees 1:23

While this is the closest verse to a direct quote in Romans from Jubilees, St. Paul has a clear reliance on it throughout. Many of the doctrines that St. Paul establishes in Romans, such as that in Romans 4:13-15 are drawn from the points and arguments contained in Jubilees (in this case, Jubilees 33:15-16). Even the outline and form of the letter follows the outline and form of Jubilees, which is essentially a retelling of Genesis with commentary, in the tradition of the Jewish targums; see Romans 9 especially for an example of this.

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