Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Romans - the argument

The argument is based on a series of 55 questions of which some are major, some sub-questions, and some rhetorical. Three sets of questions are answered with the phrase: by no means (in this translation). There are 10 of these in all in groups of 3 + 4 + 3. I think this is a clue to the mind of the writer. There are also 11 'what then' phrases - six of these + another inviting participation by the listeners ('shall we say') and 4 'I ask' phrases at the end, showing a rhetorical framework in which the writer assumes his hearers have followed his argument.

Consequences (as in all epistles) are the consequences of the thesis of the gospel for behaviour, in this case with particular emphasis on Jew-Gentile relations in Rome. I suspect the consequences follow from the argument. There are themes - e.g. Judgment of each other that are evident in both.

Another obvious pattern is the move section by section among personal pronouns - I have highlighted these as I find them - they are striking sections and must be deliberate.

The phrase 'do you not know' occurring 5 times, seems to justify those (e.g. Stowers) that would have Paul in dialogue with a pretend interlocutor. But he uses this favorite expression also in 1 Corinthians when answering their letter, so he can use it without an imaginary interlocutor. Also, if there is such an interlocutor, it is not the same 'one' for all instances of 'do you not know' in this letter.

After staring at the text for many weeks - hard of hearing - I ask: what is the cantus firmus? There appear to be several, appearing in the framing portions of the letter, and implied throughout: mutual encouragement, avoiding judgment, welcoming one another, finding unity and respecting differences. See also Summary of the Argument.

The hyperlinks in the text are references or allusions to TNK. Hover over them to see the verse(s) - actually pressing will trigger a search. There appear to be some sections of the argument that are almost 'the accepted confessions' of the congregations. This has the implication that Paul would not (as Nanos contends) be addressing his letter to non-believing Jews. I have marked these blocks with a background colour. Not Paul's words.

I am running out of graphics to show certain features - even single words like all or forms of the Greek which demand the translation with. All for the universality of the gift - to Jew and Gentile alike; with for participation in Christ (so also the phrase 'in Christ' or 'in the Spirit'). These speak to an intimation of fullness of knowledge which fits my later thought on future present as the tense of promise.

This series on Romans begins here

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