Negotiating creation in imperial times (Rm 8:18−30)

Punt, Jeremy (2013-02)

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

The original publication is available at http://www.hts.org.za

Article

Appreciation for the literary qualities and structural function of Romans 8:18−30 abounds. Recently, some attention has also been given to ostensible anti-imperial sentiments in the letter that Paul directed to a Jesus-follower community in the heart of the Roman Empire. Tensions and ambiguities inherent in this passage become more pointed when it is read with attention to the interplay between creation, conflict and empire. The focus of this contribution is on how creation is portrayed and negotiated in Romans 8:18−30, given its underlying Jewish setting which ought to be filled out by the imperial-infused environment. Acknowledging an anti-imperial thrust in Romans 8:18−30 but reading from a postcolonial perspective offers the advantage of accounting specifically for ambivalence typical of conflict situations characterised by unequal power relations, all of which are appropriate and vital for the interpretation of this passage.

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