The “Secret Jew” and the “True Jew”
Paul's allegorization of the Jew is, in fact, twofold. On the one hand, Israel is, as I have been arguing throughout, the signifier of the new Israel, ultimately to be the Christian church. For Paul, this seems to be the primary referent of the sign Israel and thus the Jews. On the other hand, there are two textual moments in the Pauline corpus that lend themselves to another, somewhat more sinister, reading of the signifier Jew. I mean Romans 2 and 7, where we can (and a certain tradition does) read the Jew as a symbol for everything that Christ and Paul have come to negate. These two symbolizations of the Jew have their historical continuation in the continued allegorizations of “Jew” in European culture until now. I have called them the trope of the “secret Jew in all of us” and the trope of the “true Jew.” The first-mentioned trope continues a traditional reading of Romans whereby the Jew represents homo religiosus or some other despised human characteristic, while the second continues the Pauline theme whereby the Jews are the material signifier transcended by their allegorical, spiritual signified.