The Leon Morris Lecture is an annual lecture in New Testament studies in memory of former principal Leon Morris. In the 2017 lecture, Lynn Cohick spoke on Christ our Peace from the letter to the Ephesians
“A pound of flesh, but not a drop of blood,” so ordered the judge in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. The trial of Shylock the Jew exposed the enmity, hatred, and cycles of revenge that drive the play. Scholars debate Shakespeare’s motives and speculate on his audiences’ reactions. But watching the play today in a post-Holocaust context is a disquieting, unsettling, downright difficult experience; the Christian viewer has nowhere to hide. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, points to the cross, the flesh and the blood of the saviour, given without measure for the sake of reconciliation. For Shakespeare, the question that animates the play is whether a Jew can, in the end, truly convert to Christianity. For Paul, that is not the question, for it retains a binary option. Paul offers a third way – not ethnē, not Jewish, but in Christ, one new humanity. Too quickly the church forgot this miracle of newness; nevertheless, Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:11–22 challenge believers today.
Lynn Cohick is Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College.
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