Sigurd Grindheim, «What the OT Prophets Did Not Know: The Mystery of the Church in Eph 3,2-13», Vol. 84 (2003) 531-553
The purpose of this essay is two-fold. First, it argues that the inclusion of the Gentiles is referred to as a previously unrevealed mystery because it is based upon the abrogation of the Mosaic law and entails a degree of nearness to the Lord that exceeds the expectations of the old covenant. Second, it addresses the question of authorship. Assuming Pauline authorship as a working hypothesis, it shows that the use of the concept of mystery in Eph 3 is intimately linked with Paul’s terminology and thought world attested in the undisputed letters. It is unwarranted, therefore, to find proof of a post-Pauline development in the use of the term "mystery" in Ephesians.
inspired by F. C. Baur’s reconstruction of the early church, as determined by the conflict over law observance and the inclusion of the Gentiles. But this conflict did not characterize all the early churches. Recent investigations conclude that it is a fallacy to read this conflict into Paul’s Corinthian correspondence, for example5.
2. The Nature of the Mystery
The New Testament use of the term "mystery" must be understood against its Jewish background, primarily the book of Daniel, where the Aramaic term zr is used for something that was kept secret and subsequently revealed (Dan 2,18-19.28-30.47; 4,6)6. More remotely related is the concept of revealed mysteries in Qumran (1QS 9.18-19; 11.3; CD 3.13-14; 1QpHab 7.5)7. By employing the term "mystery" Paul emphasizes that the Christ event is the fulfillment of something that is planned by God, something that was previously unknown, but now proclaimed.
This raises a question: what was previously unknown about the mystery in Eph 3,6? The fact that the Gentiles are included in the divine promise is nothing new (Gen 12,3; 18,18; Isa 2,2-4; 11,10; 42,6; 49,6; 66,20; Jer 3,17; Mic 4,1-3; Zech 2,15; 9,9-10) and Paul elsewhere stresses how the salvation of the Gentiles is in accordance with the promises of God in the Old Testament (Rom 4,16-17; Gal 3,22.29; 4,28). Some commentators therefore favor taking the w(j in v. 5 as comparative, the sense being: "In previous generations this has not been made known to the sons of men to such an extent as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the