A socio-rhetorical analysis of Romans 7 : with special attention to the law

Lee, Chul Woo

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2001

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aims to interpret Romans 7 with special reference to the law. Both Romans 7 and the law in Paul are very difficult to understand. However, both are important for an understanding of Pauline theology and the gospel. In the past historical critical analyses were usually done in order to solve problematic passages like Romans 7 in Paul's letters. In this study a socio-rhetorical analysis is utilized. To start with, previous research is briefly dealt with in order obtain an overall picture of the understanding of the law in the past. From this overview more than ten problem areas are identified. Then, socio-rhetorical analysis is briefly explained. This is a multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary method developed by Vernon Robbins, which sees the text as having various textures. In this research the method is utilized with some modifications. In chapter 4 the macrostructure of Romans is established by means of epistolary analysis and rhetorical analysis. Next, Rom. 7 is established as a rhetorical unit within Rom. 5-8 as the broader co-text of Rom. 7. After that the rhetorical situation of Romans is discussed, as well as some of Paul's rhetorical devices and styles. Finally, the rhetorical species of Romans is determined as deliberative rhetoric. From chapters 5 to 7, Rom. 7 is analyzed, using different textual analyses. In an analysis of inner texture repetitive-progressive texture, opening-middle-closing texture, and argumentative texture are discussed. Here an enthymemic analysis is used in order to chart Paul's argumentative flow of thought. From this it is concluded that Rom. 7: 1-6 is an analogy, which is an important tool for argumentation, and that the present tense in Rom. 7:14-25 functions as part of a combination of autobiographical-typical-rhetorical features for the purpose of argumentation. In the analysis of intertexture the scriptural intertexture is investigated: recitation with omission and thematic elaboration. In the cultural intertextual analysis some Jewish cultural intertextures are noted, namely, Rom. 7:8-10 as an allusion to both Gen. 3 and Exod. 3, Paul's usage of the "1," the law, slavery image, and the evil inclination. It is also interesting that Rom. 7: 15 & 19 and the "I" are allusions to Greek tragedy, sin as power, and slavery as Greco-Roman cultural intertexture. In analyzing the social intertexture it can be concluded that the marriage analogy is closer to Jewish marriage than to Greco-Roman marriage. The final analysis is an investigation of the theological texture. Here salvation history and the covenant of God are first dealt with in order to get to grips with Paul's theological world. Then, Pauline hamartiology, anthropology, and finally, nomism are investigated. The conclusion is that VOl-lOS' in Rom. 7 mostly denotes the universal moral law of God, both written and unwritten, not just the Mosaic law; though in some cases it denotes "principle" or "rule" as in vv. 21-25. Rom. 7 as a whole is a refutation of the objection or misunderstanding that might be raised regarding Paul's statements of the law in previous chapters. In Rom. 7 Paul elaborates the relationship between believers and the law, and the function of the law in relation to sin in an unregenerate person. In so doing, he vehemently denies that the law is sin, and vividly indicates the function of the law using his own experience.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie navorsing fokus op Rom. 7 met spesifieke verwysing na die wet. Hoewel sowel die wet by Paulus en Rom. 7 moeilike onderwerpe is om te verstaan, is beide van besondere belang vir In verstaan van die teologie van Paulus en die evangelie. In die verlede is gewoonlik van histories-kritiese studies gebruik gemaak in die bestudering van sulke probleme. Hier word van In sosio-retoriese benadering gebruik gemaak. Daar word eers aandag gegee aan vorige navorsing om In beeld te kry van die wyse waarop die wet in die verlede verstaan is. Na aanleiding van hierdie oorsig word meer as tien probleemareas geidentifiseer. Vervolgens word In kort uiteensetting van sosio-retoriese analise gegee. Dit is In multidimensionele en multidissiplinere benadering wat deur Vernon Robbins ontwikkel is en wat In teks as In hegte eenheid van verskillende teksture sien. In hierdie studie word hierdie metode gebruik, ofskoon met In paar aanpassings. Die makrostruktuur van Romeine word in hoofstuk 4 met behulp van In epistolere en retoriese analise nagegaan. Daarna word Rom. 7 as In retoriese eenheid binne Rom. 5-8 as die breer ko-teks van Rom.7 aangedui. Vervolgens word die retoriese situasie van Romeine asook bepaalde retoriese tegnieke en strategiee van Paulus bespreek. Die standpunt word ingeneem dat Romeine as deliberatiewe retoriek beskou moet word. In hoofstukke 5 tot 7 word die verskillende teksture van Rom. 7 aan die orde gestel. Die herhalend-progressiewe tekstuur, begin-middel-slot tekstuur en die argumentatiewe tekstuur word ondersoek om die interne tekstuur vas te stel. In Analise van die ethumeme in die teks lewer ook In bydrae om die vloei van die argument te kan volg. Hieruit volg dat Rom. 7:1-6 as In analogie beskou moet word, wat In belangrike rniddel in argumentasie was. Verder kan afgelei word dat die teenswoordige tydsvorm in Rom. 7: 14-25 In onderdeel is van die kombinasie van outobiografies-tipies-retoriese kenmerke wat in argumentasie gebruik word. In die bestudering van die intertekstuur word aandag aan die volgende voorbeelde van skriftelike intertekstuur gegee: resitasie (met weglatings) en die uitbou van In tema. By die bestudering van die kulturele intertekstuele analise kom voorbeelde van Joodse intertekstuur aan die orde: Rom. 7:8-10 as toespeling op Gen. 3 en Eks. 3, Paulus se gebruik van die "ek", die wet, die beeld van slawe en die bose begeerte. Verder kan Rom.7:15, 19 en die "ek" as toespelings op Griekse tragedies, die sonde as mag, en slawemy as Grieks-Romeinse kulturele intertekstuur gesien kan word. Wat die sosiale intertekstuur betref word bevind dat die analogie van die huwelik meer verwantskap met die Joodse huwelik as met die Grieks- Romeinse huwelik vertoon. Ten slotte word die teologiese tekstuur ondersoek. Eers word aandag gegee aan die heilsgeskiedenis en die verbond van God om In begrip van die teologiese wereld van Paulus te verkry. Daama word die hamartologie, antropologie en ten slotte die wet by Paulus ondersoek. Daar word bevind dat VOl-lOS" in Rom. 7 meestal die universele morele wet van God, geskrewe en ongeskrewe, en nie net die wet van Moses nie, aandui. In bepaalde gevalle, soos in Rom.7:21-25, beteken dit "beginsel" of reel." Rom.7 is in sy geheel'n verwerping van die beswaar of misverstand wat na aanleiding van Paulus se uitsprake oor die wet in die vorige hoofstukke kon ontstaan het. Paulus stel in Rom.7 die verhouding tussen gelowiges en die wet aan die orde asook die funksie van die wet met betrekking tot sonde by die onbekeerde. Op hierdie wyse ontken hy ten sterkste dat die wet sonde is terwyl hy ook die funksie van die wet met behulp van sy eie ervaring uitbeeld.

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