Wednesday, September 05, 2007
More on Romans 7
Let me add a few more thoughts on Romans 7:
1. I agree with Kümmel, Dunn, Fitzmyer, and Byrne that Romans 7 is fundamentally an apology for the Mosaic law. So it's not about Christian sanctification, but about the place of the law in redemptive-history given the law's limitations and weakness.
2. A definitive case for the 'I/wretched man' as being a pre-Christian as viewed from a Christian perspective remains Werner Kümmel, Römer 7 und die Bekehrung des Paulus (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1929); repr. in Römer 7 und das Bild des Menschen: Zwei Studien (Theologische Bücherei, Neues Testament Band 53; Munich: Christian Kaiser Verlag, 1974). This point I take it has never been definitively refuted. However, Kümmel is agnostic about our ability to identify the ego with Paul, Israel, or Adam with any certainty, and he opts for a rhetorical understanding of the passage as signifying a paradigmatic example of human experience with sin.
3. I probably glossed over the "Adam" interpretation a bit too quickly in my previous post, and I admit that it has a little something going for it even though I am not completely convinced by it. It has a good list of supporters (Käsemnn, Talbert, and Witherington among others) and a clear link with Genesis 2-3 is in the reference to being deceived in v. 11. In the end though, if this is a reference to Israel or gentiles-with-Israel, it shows that the failure of Israel is a recapitulationg of the failure of Adam. And while not explicitly referring to Adam, this passage shows the dark vestiges of the Adamic-self (see Leander Keck, Romans, p. 180).