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Divine Impartiality: Paul and a Theological Axiom
Jouette Bassler
Publication Date
December 2006


“Students of Paul often glide past his assertion in Rom 2:11 that ‘there is no partiality with God.’ The conventional wisdom holds that Paul’s reference to divine impartiality reflects a traditional Jewish doctrine which has no specifically Jewish content. Jouette Bassler’s dissertation, written under the direction of Nils Dahl, erects a caution sign at Rom 2:11, forcing exegetes to slow down and to rethink the function and import of this traditional doctrine within Pauline theology. Bassler argues that Paul reinterprets the axiom of divine impartiality and makes it ‘the structuring theme’ of Romans. … She sets out to demonstrate that Paul’s reference to the impartiality of God in Rom 2:11 is not incidental but fundamental, and she accomplishes that goal. … Both the volume and its ramifications for the study of Pauline thought deserve careful attention and consideration.”
—Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Journal of Biblical Literature

“Turn to this published dissertation for a reminder that the ultimate doctoral exercise can result in a readable, exciting idea-book. … However one evaluates Bassler’s conclusion—and she offers the appropriate cautions about making too much of too little evidence—her method and style are powerful tools of persuasion. … Her book stands as a monumental correction to the neglect of an issue which can now receive a broader, philosophical evaluation.”
—Susan Frank, Journal of Ecumenical Studies