"Firstfruits" in Paul and the Theology of Consecration

In this paper, I will provide an intertextual study of aparche¯ (‘firstfruits’) in order to establish the theological meaning of the term as it occurs in Romans, 1 Corinthians and 2 Thessalonians. This study will be built in part on a study of the corollary Hebrew term bikkûrim and its usage in the OT. I will explore the agricultural significance of this metaphor in seeking to illuminate its theological deployment by Paul with a better understanding of its more concrete sense. After establishing some of the wider significance of the term, I will focus on close exegesis of the term as it is used in Rom. 11:16 in order to understand how ‘firstfruits’ undergirds the logic of consecration and can aid our understanding of the theology of Romans.