Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Romans 8-11

I've been reading through Romans recently and looking over Thomas Tobin's book Paul's Rhetoric in its Context: The Argument of Romans. Tobin (p. 427) makes a good point that Romans 8 and 9-11 should be grouped together as one section since they both focus on eschatology (where most commentators link chapters 5-8 and 9-11).

Even so, I'm inclined to see 8.1-17 more concerned with a pneumatically drive ethic apart from law observance, so I think that 8.1-17 really lates back to chs. 6-7 with the focus on righteous living apart from strict law observance. I would be willing to posit 8.18-39 as a kind of bridging section that enables Paul to move from ethics to eschatological hope to the problem of Israel's continuing unbelief. The link between chaps 8-9 is quite natural. Afterall, Israel's failure to embrace her Messiah might lead one to question Paul's confidense in divine faithfulness in 8.18-39 since God's faithfulness apparently did not bring Israel to salvation. Thus, 9-11 obviously address the salvation-historical problem of Israel's rejection and Gentile inclusion; but it is also an apology for the fidelity of God's eschatological promises (i.e. 8.18-39) in light of Israel's failure to believe.

Just my thoughts on the matter!

3 comments:

J. B. Hood said...

8:18-39 as a janus is excellent, superb in fact. (Though 8:17 and 18 are hard to drive apart.) Write an article on it.

I smell again here NTW's point, that the question of Israel is always a question of God's purposes for the cosmos. How will he reconcile the cosmos? (8:18-39) Suprisingly, and even sorrowfully for Paul, through the pruning of Israel (11:15)-- yet with the hope of even fuller cosmic reconciliation and redemption in the influx/fullness of the salvation of God's people... (11:12)...

TheBlueRaja said...

I was about to say that exact thing, J.B. Hood!

eddie said...

Mike (and others), what do you think of Neil Elliot's rhetorical treatment of Romans?

it is slightly related to the topic...