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Pauline Interpretation of Christianity: ROMANS RLST 212/Div 3162 Wednesday, March 15, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Pauline Interpretation of Christianity: ROMANS RLST 212/Div 3162 Wednesday, March 15, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pauline Interpretation of Christianity: ROMANS RLST 212/Div 3162 Wednesday, March 15, 2011

2 Today’s Schedule 3:10-4:00 Apocalyptic/Messianic Readings of Paul vs. Forensic/Theological vs. New Covenant/Pastoral  the evil I do not want is what I do“  The Law 4:00-4:50 Rom 7 Roundtable: Its F/T vs. NC/P vs A/M teaching about 1.Rom 7:1-6 (1:25-27) Karney Carney 2.Rom 7:8-25 (6:1-23) Arden Henderson 4:50-5:30 Discussing your Interpretations

3 March 22 Steps 1 and 2a : you and your companion scholar. DEREK AXELSON Respondent: Ross Stackhouse JASON JONES Respondent: Jonathan Baynham MURIELLE WYMAN Respondent: Amy Lentz

4 Moving into your paper Step # 1 = PROPOSAL emphasizes Context Choices Step # 2 Emphasizes the Textual and Theological Choices compare the choice in understandings the key themes Compare the choice in what is most significant in the text Between your COMPANION scholar and the DIFFERENT scholar

5 COMMENTARIES one as companion scholar, one as different scholar Peter Stuhlmacher’s Paul's letter to the Romans : a commentary (beyond the small book we read) (F/T Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (F/T) C. E. B. Cranfield, Romans ( 2 volume) (F/T) James Dunn (Commentary on Romans) (usually F/T) Robert Jewett (Commentary on Romans) (Usually NC/P) Ernst Käsemann (Commentary on Romans) (Usually A/M) Brendan Byrne (Commentary on Romans) (Usually A/M)

6 COMMENTARIES one as companion scholar, one as different scholar C. E. B. Cranfield (F/T) The Epistle to the Romans: Romans 9-16: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary C. E. B. Cranfield Romans (Anchor Bible) AN D Spiritual Exercises by Joseph A. Fitzmyer (usually NC/P) Joseph A. Fitzmyer The Epistle to the Romans by Douglas J. Moo (F/T]Douglas J. Moo A rereading of Romans : justice, Jews, and gentiles by Stanley K. Stowers (usually NC/P) Searching the Scriptures: Volume II. A Feminist Commentary (Elizabeth Castelli, "Romans," pp ) (reaction against F/T [viewed as the only one]) Women's Bible Commentary (Beverly Gaventa) "Romans," pp ; F/T revisited)

7 Unfinished Business: Assuming Ethical Responsibility for our Interpretation Choice As we formulate an interpretation, each of us NECESSARILY chooses one interpretation and exclude the others. Thus we have an ethical responsibility If we pursue a Forensic/theological interpretation… we NECESSARILY exclude the Pastoral/covenantal and Apocalyptic/messianic interpretation – etc. mutatis mutandis I know this goes against Wright, Moo, but also Dunn, Jewett, Stowers, Byrne, etc. All in QUEST of the ONE true meaning Each of them seeks to integrate INTO ONE complete and more refined interpretation all the other interpretations… we have NO CHOICE but to adopt THE (universally) true interpretation: NO ethical responsibility.

8 Unfinished Business: Assuming Ethical Responsibility for our Interpretation Choice YET, it is IMPOSSIBLE to hold simultaneously together the three kinds of perspective and interpretation  Forensic/theological, Pastoral/covenantal, or Apocalyptic/messianic We ALWAYS and NECESSARILY choose one because they are CONTRADICTORY with each other When we pretend we are not making a choice, we end up subsuming two interpretations into one of them which we privilege…. And choosing an interpretation always MATTERS As I exemplified with NT Wright who ends up not addressing the urgent need that Gager underscored: overcoming rather than condoning and fueling the anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism that fueled the Holocaust…

9 Unfinished Business: Assuming Ethical Responsibility for our Interpretation Choice This is an outrageous claim, a painful claim, a claim which is emotional, because it touches at our fundamental convictions Because it seems wrong…. Of course, people practicing a forensic/theological interpretation of Romans, did NOT want to commit genocide against the Jews or anybody else… Of course… they did not do it knowingly or willingly BUT, so Gager, Jewett, William Campbell, Krister Stendhal, etc. etc., They condoned the Holocaust, and were responsible for it… BECAUSE they framed the teaching of Paul (and the gospel, and Scripture) in such a way that it COULD NOT address the nationalist problem, and thus, fueled it… and thus was condoning it.

10 Unfinished Business: Assuming Ethical Responsibility for our Interpretation Choice This is an outrageous claim, a painful claim, a claim which is emotional, because it touches at our fundamental convictions Our convictions about what is, self-evidently, the NATURE OF THE HUMAN PREDICAMENT – the PROBLEM that need to be addressed TODAY IN CONCRETE SITUATIONS of our lives. Indeed, our choice of interpretation depends on our gut- feeling perception of what is the fundamental problem in human life. And also, for assuming responsibility for this contextual choice

11 Unfinished Business: Assuming Ethical Responsibility for our Interpretation Choice Problem Of Autonomy Mode Of Existence  “Racism, whether that of white supremacy or ethnocentrism, [] manifest[s] itself in the personal attitudes and personalities of individuals.” Victor Anderson, “Racism” CDC Problem Of Relational Mode Of Existence  “The deployment of racism, as the ideology of white supremacy, has historically defined relationships between Europeans and Africans and their descendents” Victor Anderson, “Racism” CDC Problem Of Heteronomous Mode Of Existence  “ racism is idolatry. It raises white power and privilege to the status of the divine, determining the worth, value, and dignity of all who fall under its operations of power.”

12 Unfinished Business: Assuming Ethical Responsibility for our Interpretation Choice And also, for assuming responsibility for this contextual choice = Forensic/Theological RACISM: Problem with Individuals with a lack of/wrong Knowledge by individual believers resulting in a lack of/wrong will to do God’s will Racism: wrong (heretical, unethical, divided, etc.) knowledge, will, and way of life, by guilty individuals  leading to church problem Racism = a Problem about individual identity = AUTONOMY PROBLEM – for which we are individually responsible Solution: Repent, learn (the will of God) and practice it

13 Unfinished Business: Assuming Ethical Responsibility for our Interpretation Choice And also, for assuming responsibility for this contextual choice = New Covenantal/Pastoral RACISM: Problem with Community, Culture and society, ideology: that sets up division among communities, oppression = RELATIONAL PROBLEM  E.G: “The deployment of racism, as the ideology of white supremacy, has historically defined relationships between Europeans and Africans and their descendents” Victor Anderson, “Racism” CDC Ideological RELATIONAL problems; in Romans = problem of relationship between Jews, Jewish Christians, and Gentile Christians… social, political, economic, cultural structures need to be changed…  changing bad individuals into good individuals does NOT address the problem; it condones the problem…

14 Unfinished Business: Assuming Ethical Responsibility for our Interpretation Choice And also, for assuming responsibility for this contextual choice = Apocalyptic/Messianic RACISM: = result of idolatry = Religious and Cultural absolutization of what is not absolute (partial revelation) = HETERONOMY PROBLEM = problem in religious life (re. what/whom we submit to) Wrong faith/vision resulting in a lack of ability; wrong convictions (= self-evident truths) or more exactly “idolatries” (holding as absolute what is not absolute; as complete and final revelation what is a partial revelation); RESULT in oppression and marginalization of all kinds: patriarchalism, sexism; colonialism, racism; etc. Solution: Religious discourse. Aimed at challenging wrong convictions, or more exactly “idolatries”

15 When we are choosing an kind of interpretation, we do so, On the basis of textual evidence, of course. But FIRST OF ALL on the basis of OUR CONVICTION (view, presupposition) about WHERE THE FUNDAMENTAL PREDICAMENT OF HUMAN EXISTENCE IS LOCATED In the Autonomy Mode Of Existence In the Relational Mode Of Existence In the Heteronomous Mode Of Existence

16 Unfinished business: Suffering & hope F/T F/T: Suffering as Punishment. For Augustine and the Reformers, suffering and death are punishment for the prideful disobedience that led to the Fall. Focus on those who deserve to suffer God becomes incarnate in Christ, whose atoning death absorbs the guilt of humanity. Participation in the church makes available the means of salvation* through which those predestined for salvation will be delivered from suffering in heaven. Despite the ubiquity of suffering, we can have “hope’ Romans 5:2 “hope of sharing the glory of God” – in eternal life (6:23) -- where there will no longer be any suffering and death -- because through faith in Christ we will saved (forgiven; saved from the wrath/anger of God) and thus not punished.

17 Unfinished business: Suffering & hope NC/P NC/P Suffering as Systemic Evil caused by social, political, and economic causes Focus on those who suffer from evil, e.g., poverty, patriarchy, racism, and anti-Semitism (holocaust). Why? Justice/righteousness of God = humane social systems. We hope for, and can boast in a) the glory of God (5:2), b) in our sufferings (= the basis for our hope and situations in which God’s love is poured in our heart) because they result from our struggling for justice (5:3); c) in the reconciliation (OUR reconciliation to God and others) we have received “in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (5:11), the ground for a just social order; because it overcomes the infighting within a community and between communities. Despite the ubiquity of suffering, we can have “hope’ Romans 5:2 “hope of sharing the glory of God” – in eternal life (6:23) -- where there will be no longer any suffering and death -- because through faith in Christ we will saved (forgiven) and thus not punished.

18 Unfinished business: Suffering & hope A/M 1 A/M: Suffering as an Inevitable Aspect of the Created Order = HUMAN VULNERABILITY Suffering is the result of being under the power of evil forces (or diseases), a situation worsened by idolatry which is at core a denial of one’s vulnerability; believing than one is or can be in control); and this worsening leading to systemic evil. the cure of suffering, the manifestation of God’s love, is a manifestation of divine power. Christ’s Passion reveals divine compassion for suffering humanity and promises that God does overcome AND continues to overcome, suffering, the powers of evil (disease) and the power of death).

19 Unfinished business: Suffering & hope (A/M 2) Suffering is Inevitable Hope = confidence that God does and will continue to intervene to overcome suffering, the powers of evil (disease) and the power of death. Hope = confidence that GOD is in control of our lives; = accepting and acknowledging our vulnerability = our sufferings = rather than making an idol, e.g., of ourselves, by believing that we are in control Romans 5:3-5 “we also boast in our sufferings,” knowing that suffering produces endurance … and character (= recognizing our vulnerability),… and produces hope that does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

20 All is not well in God's creation ( Remember?) Forensic/Theological vs. NC/P vs A/M Forensic/Theological response:  Who sinned? Let us identify the greedy who hoard resources for themselves. The corrupt.  Positively: Let us make sure that we are generous. That we share our resources with those who do not have anything.  Let us TEACH people to be righteous, what is good and what is evil/bad. And make sure they WILL WANT to do it. That they will repent from their greedy, corrupt ways  Good individuals will make a difference & resolve the situation Is this realistic?  Yes. Regarding a lot of private life issues … but no, on issues concerning life in community, society, ideology… and no, on issues concerning religious conflicts and deformed religion (idolatry)

21 All is not well in God's creation (Remember?) F/T vs. New Covenant/Pastoral vs A/M New Covenant/Pastoral response:  Is it not clear that the problem is one of people vs people?  First world vs. 2/3 world  Oppressor, colonizer, imperialist vs. oppressed, colonized, people without culture  Positively develop a community which embodies the justice of God; which shows that we depend on others; we are interdependent; and implement in life this; “Ten Thousand Villages.” Fair trade. Being communities which embody the justice of God. Is this realistic? Yes. Regarding issues concerning life in community, society, ideology… and no on issues concerning a lot of private life issues … and no, on religious conflicts and deformed religion (idolatry)

22 All is not well in God's creation (remember?) F/T vs. NC/P vs Apocalyptic/Messanic Apocalyptic/Messianic response:  Acknowledging that we/most people would want to take action, but feel totally helpless with such a massive evil … even as the poor are powerless  Acknowledging that we do the evil we hate by contributing to the problem, rather than solving it “ For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Rom 7:16)  “No Exit”. No control … even as the poor have no control over their lives Is this realistic? Yes. On all matters that underscore our vulnerability, mortality, lack of control… regarding issues concerning idolatry = when pretending to be in control we end up being very destructive … and no on issues concerning a lot of private life issues … and no, on purely social and community issues

23 Miserable one that I am! Who will rescue me from this mortal body? Apocalyptic/Messanic Acknowledging the powers of evil in our lives No human solution … only a divine intervention Looking for the solution solution NOT in what we are trying to do as individuals – as important and good it might be solution NOT in what we are trying to do as communities – as important and good that it is to promote such communities manifesting the justice of God in the world BUT solution is in Others through whom God is at work today, as God was at work in Christ  Others beyond the Law ….. whom we would neither identify as “good” individuals nor as members of “good’ communities

24 Romans 7:6-12 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. 7 What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet." 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

25 Romans 7: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-- this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members

26 Being "discharged from the law" (7:6) which is "holy, just and good" (7:12) Forensic/Theological: Law = “Positive Law” (of legislation or decree, in the Roman sense) and “Natural Law” (in the Greek sense; also conscience) = the law as the “assembly directions” for life from the Creator; Both are for Paul the law which humans cannot fulfill (on account of sin).  Augustine’s & Reformers’ interpretation  We live now under grace (forgiven), and with the Spirit as enabler, toward sanctification

27 Forensic/Theological Law (as Scripture) = Law of the Old Testament Negative: Law as Canon expressing the will of God that righteous people should carry out to be saved through “work righteousness.”  But people always fail to carry out … because it is a matter of the (circumcision of the) heart –motivation-Will Positive: For Christians justified by faith: faith comes to fruition in works of the Law [as Lamp to my feet],  it should be gladly and willingly followed when motivated by the Gospel; then Law functions, together with the Gospel, as the Good News (of God’s love)=instruction from the creator on how to put our life together

28 Being "discharged from the law" (7:6) which is "holy, just and good" (7:12) New Covenant/Pastoral: Law = Torah = (covenantal, in formative Judaism, Pharisaic, Rabbinic sense) Torah: Instruction both  in narrative form [expressing election and vocation] and  in the form of directives for carrying one’s vocation in life and in temple and other services, etc.; Law as providing identity as the chosen people and directives to carry out this vocation  But not in a legalistic sense.  New Covenant, (including Gentiles) so new law, new vocation, new ways of carrying out this vocation

29 New Covenant/Pastoral: Law (as Scripture) = Law of Hebrew Bible a part of the covenant between God and Israel that remains valid for Jews. Rom 7:6-25 = debate as two views of Torah Negative: when this Law is taken as Canon, Lamp to my feet or Book of the Covenant that excludes Gentiles. Positive: Inclusive Book of the Covenant between God and Israel  remains valid for Jews.  And for Gentile Christians, (now also in the inclusive Covenant with God through faith; As Book of the Covenant the Law functions as Lamp to my feet and Good News, and empowering word according to the contexts,  for both Jews and Gentiles  Yet Gentile Christians can carry out their vocation in their own way, apart from the Law—though this is fulfilling the Law (Jewett’s interpretation)

30 Being "discharged from the law" (7:6) which is "holy, just and good" (7:12) Apocalyptic/Messanic Law = AS PROMISE: fulfilled in “love of neighbor” (and true justice)... but then law is fulfilled when the law is “completed” “abrogated” (as it is with the coming of the Messiah and his Power) (Christ as the end of the Law, 10:4) because (true, radical) love of neighbor (and also justice) cannot be coerced (when the law demands a behavior as in F/T) ;  thus the law calls for its own abrogation as “positive Law” and as “law of the Covenant”

31 But Law becomes deadly… F/T because it cannot be fulfilled … it just demonstrates that we are sinners NC/P when someone seeks to fulfill it, without understanding it is part of a Covenant, presupposing an election and vocation  E.g., when Gentile Christians want to fulfill the law A/M when one views it as an absolute, a complete and final revelation… it becomes an idol, for which one is zealous.

32 Apocalyptic/Messianic: Law (as Scripture) = Law = Torah = Promises Law = Torah = God’s Promises fulfilled by God in Christ and in believers/church. Positive: The Law is “holy, just and good” = a revelation from God. Yet it is not a complete and final revelation. It is promise (it promises life), Corrective Glasses (that reveals sins), Holy Scripture (that shatters our self-confidence by confronting us with the Holy). Christ as fulfillment of the promise is “the end of the Law”= what the Law points to) and other new revelations as on-going fulfillments of the promises. Negative: But if the Law = Torah is unduly taken as the complete and final revelation, then as an idol it becomes destructive. This is the problem Paul denounces.

33 Being "discharged from the law" (7:6) which is "holy, just and good" (7:12) Forensic/Theological: Law= “Positive Law” (of legislation or decree, in the Roman sense) and “Natural Law” (in the Greek sense; also conscience) = the law as the “assembly directions” for life from the Creator; This is for Paul the law which humans cannot fulfill (on account of sin).  Augustine’s & Reformers’ interpretation  We live now under grace (forgiven), and with the Spirit as enabler, toward sanctification

34 “sin and coveting” in Rom 7:7-12 Forensic/Theological: An autobiographical account of the pre-conversion Paul as afflicted by bad conscience because of an alleged inability to perform the law  [[ Godet ; Paul Althaus, quoted by Jewett] Or an autobiographical reference to Paul’s post conversion experience = typical Christians who experience justification in the context of ongoing sinfulness, understood as the inability to perform the law.  {Jewett refers to Zahn ; Fung, 34-48; Winger,, ; Laato, ; Jervis, ; Cranfield.}  Luther’s famous motto, simul iustus et pecattor, that the justified believer remains a sinner until the day he dies. Or “I” refer to Israel: Moo,

35 “sin and coveting” in Rom 7:7-12 Forensic/Theological: Sin= Not doing God’s Will because not knowing it or (more likely) Willingly not doing God’s Will;  coveting is an example of sinful act Due to Either not knowing (wrong) knowledge or (more likely) not willing to do God’s Will and its goodness  Lack of/Wrong Knowledge  or Lack of/Wrong Will

36 “sin and coveting” in Rom 7:7-12 New Covenant/Pastoral: Gager and others: a speech in character diatribe… NOT autobiographical.  The rhetorical clarification provided in the recent work of Stanley Stowers, Jean-Noël Aletti, and Jean-Baptiste Édart who point to the Greek convention of proswpopeiva, a “Speech-in-Character.”…  The “I” material is usually in the present tense, serving a rather gnomic [teaching] purpose, but it can also be an anecdote from events in a speaker’s past

37 “sin and coveting” in Rom 7:7-12 New Covenant/Pastoral: Sin = Rebelling against God and against God’s beloved people (those that God includes among God’s people)  coveting is an example of sinful act Wrong vision of God (as partial, favoring others, and not us) and Wrong vision of God’s people (as including us, but excluding others; as privileging us; putting us in the center of power;… includes patriarchal, sexist, racist, colonialist, imperialist ideologies) Due to Wrong Ideology leading to wrong vision Or Wrong Vision leading to wrong ideology Remedy: Family Album

38 “sin and coveting” in Rom 7:7-12 Apocalyptic/Messianic: About the “eschatological tension” between the spirit and the flesh in which the power and possibility of sin remain in force and require constant struggle. Adam as the representative figure speaking in the first person as “I” in Rom 7, = Adam typology as Stanislas Lyonnet, L'historie du salut selon le chapitre VII de l'Epître aux Romains, Bib 43 (1962) ; Lichtenberger, Ich Adams, ; Käsemann ; Grappe, “typologie adamique,” , Byrne,

39 “sin and coveting” in Rom 7:7-12 Apocalyptic/Messianic: Sin = Serving an idol and/or a power which is not God; being slave to this idol, and/or power; slave to death  Coveting = the source of sin = “coveting’ wanting something sable which will endure; give us control on our lives; something absolute; (whatever ‘something is}  Idolatry due to “desire” “covetousness” for what gives life Idolatry as lack of vision (darkened mind by idols) because one is blind, and powerless (lack of ability) under the power of idols) Either Wrong Faith/Vision leading to powerlessness. Or Lack of Ability (powerlessness) leading to wrong faith/vision

40 “the evil I do not want is what I do” Forensic/Theological: A problem with the will (will is not strong enough; no self-discipline)… needed is strengthening of the will Motivation New Covenant/Pastoral: A problem of Ideology (wrong ideology) either due to a wrong vision (of God, and of God’s people) or leading to a wrong vision of God and God’s people.  Wanting to do good according to the wrong ideology [keeping the community “pure” … excluding whoever is “not right”], you end up doing the evil you hate Apocalyptic/Messianic: A problem of wrong faith/vision [= idolatry instead of faith in the true God]  Wanting to do good according to the wrong faith/vision [=serving your idol; what ever provides security control], you end up doing the evil you hate


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