We see St Paul telling the faithful in Romans 11:24 (NRSVCE):

For if you have been cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.

In terms of Botany, it is usually the refined plant's shoot that gets grafted on the wild plant (which is physically sturdy) so that it may grow up as healthy branch of the refined plant. For instance, shoot of rose-plant of big yellow-colored flower grafted on wild rose which otherwise produces white -colored small flowers, will grow up to produce yellow flowers. Was the method of grafting adopted in Biblical times different ? Or, was it that St Paul was not aware of the right method of grafting ? Or, was it possible that he wanted to bring home to the Romans a great spiritual truth at the cost of factual accuracy in day-to-day horticultural knowledge ?

My question therefore is: According to Catholic scholars, does St Paul compromise his knowledge of horticulture in Romans 11:24 ?

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    V.24 Paul states this procedure was "contrary to nature". He starts in v.17, so read the whole bit. Normally, a shoot of a cultivated tree would go into a common or wild olive. But this metaphor is used "contrary to nature", a wild branch (the Gentiles) into the cultivated olive tree. That wasn't natural and the graft wouldn't take. But the whole 'tree' represents the people of God, rooted into the patriarchs; some branches broken off, wild ones inserted - an uncommon work of God. But I'm not a Catholic so I can't expand this into an answer, sorry.
    – Anne
    Mar 17, 2022 at 14:47
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    Thanks, Anne. Arthur Wallace ( I do not know of his denominational affiliation ) writes that there prevailed a practice of invigorating dying olive trees by way of grafting wild olive braches onto them. It almost did an 'effect of vaccination ' (NB: the usage is mine ). So, St Paul perhaps intended to establish that intake of gentiles into the House of Israel would only invigorate it. Mar 18, 2022 at 4:27


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