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Showing posts from May, 2012

The Deliverance of God: The Reason for Romans

We (finally!) arrive at Cambell's positive account of his understanding of justification in the thirteenth chapter. He begins with supplying what he believes to be the interpretive frame of Romans. There are sixteen basic elements that have to be explained in order to have a successful explanation for why Paul wrote Romans. By that he means why Romans has the particular content that it does. About half of these 16 items don't require further explanation, but several do and some of them are quite surprising. Particularly we must be able to explain the heavily Jewish nature of the discussion in Romans 1-4 and 9-11, Paul's mentioning of his non-interference policy, the soft and general nature of the exhortation regarding the weak and strong, the warnings of pagan Christian arrogance against the Jews, and (though not on his list) the development that is discernible between Galatians and Romans. It is on these items of the discussion that I will focus, treating each one briefl…

The Deliverance of Paul: Problems for the NPP

In chapter 12, Campbell critiques key Pauline interpreters who at some key points reject Justification Theory. If you've read my Galatians posts you can tell that I rely heavily on the work of James Dunn, so I thought that I might address some (but not all) of the issues that Campbell raises for Dunn's interpretation of Paul here in this post.

The largest issue is the question of how to interpret the phrase 'works of the law.' Is Dunn correct in arguing that they should be understood as boundary markers, that Paul is essentially saying that one is not justified by being Jewish, or is the traditional understanding of works correct? Campbell argues that the traditional viewpoint is closer to the truth than Dunn. I will make this comment up front. Earlier, Campbell makes the point that we have to distinguish between an action and its sociological effect. The issue in Galatia could have been the sociological effect of a traditional legalism, and perhaps not boundary marke…

Song of Songs 1:5-2:7: In Love

5 I am black and beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. 6 Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has gazed on me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept! 7 Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock,   where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who is veiled beside the flocks of your companions? 
8 If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow the tracks of the flock, and pasture your kids beside the shepherds’ tents. 
9 I compare you, my love, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots. 10 Your cheeks are comely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels. 11 We will make you ornaments of gold,   studded with silver. 
12 While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance. 13 My beloved is to me a bag of myrrh that lies between my breasts. 14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms   in …

The Deliverance of God: Exegetical Problems

After skipping a large chunk of the book we're back to our examination of Douglas Campbell's The Deliverance of God. Today's post will look at some of the difficulties at the exegetical level that the traditional theory of justification runs into. Campbell breaks these difficulties down into two categories, underdeterminations and overdeterminations. He finds 11 of the former and 24 of the latter. Some are minor, but some are very serious. We will look at one significant example in each category to give you a flavor of the types of problems that crop up with the traditional exegesis of Romans 1-4.

Campbell is working under the assumption that Romans 1-4 serves as the textual base for justification theory. That's a reasonable assumption. It's the only place in the Bible that has such a sustained discussion of justification. You would then expect to see the key components corroborated in this text. The thing is, we have several underdeterminations; cases where the t…

Romans 1-3:Who's on First?

On Monday I posted some suggestions to build towards a rereading of Romans 1-3. It centered around how to determine when Paul was speaking in his own voice and when he was giving voice to his opponents. Today, at the request of Mark Heath, I'm going to place the NRSV translation of Romans 1-3, with labels as to who I think is speaking when, along with occasional comments. This is still preliminary thinking on my part. I'm interested to see what you all think. Portions of chapter 2 are difficult, but I feel pretty comfortable with the rest.

Romans 1:1-18 - Paul (I'm torn on verse 18, but if 'suppress the truth' in vs. 18 is better rendered 'oppose the truth' - which I think it is, then it may be functioning like Gal. 1:8-9). If not then it may best go with vv. 19 ff., however, there is a significant change in writing style starting at vs. 19, also suggesting vs. 18 goes w/ 1:1-17.
1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the g…