A d F o n t e s

(Latin: "to the sources")

Daniel Kirk on Rom. 3.21-26

Daniel Kirk over on sibboleth poses some interesting questions about Romans 3.21-6 which I thought it might be fun to interact with. See the questions on his site–it would make things a little long to post them here too.

1) I think the subjective genitive approach (faith in Christ) could work. The conundrum God has placed himself in, as Paul outlines it, is that on the one hand he has promised certain covenant blessing to his people, yet on the other promised not to to grant it if they’re unwarranting. The question is how does God get himself out of this bind. One way one can read this passage is that Paul is saying that trusting Christ is the instrumental link that makes it possible for his people to be “justified,” and therefore deserving of blessing. That sounds like an awful lot of dots to connect, but given what the text says I’m not sure it’s that out there. Anyhoo, I remain undecided to the matter (and indifferent).

2) Dunn I think says neither as I recall. They’re both different metaphors for describing the same thing, which is one way of explaining why Paul slides so easily from the covenant metaphor to the sacrificial metaphor to the slave metaphor, and then back again. What do you think? Makes sense to me.

3) I’ve thought about this some. I’ve thought the only way one could justifiably translate ἱλαστήριος as “propitiation” is if one desires to simplify the fact that the mercy seat is where God “meets” the sacrificial act of sprinkling blood, and therefore the people are “cleansed,” etc. I think that’s ok, in theory. But it entirely mutes a whole set of sacrificial dimensions to Christ’s death that I think Paul is trying to make.

4) I don’t think so. But I confess the whole search for parallels where πίστις χριστοῦ is clearly objective or subjective strikes me as a little weird. Grammatically it could still go either way, and even if we found a few it wouldn’t necessarily add weight to one reading or the other. No?

5) Good point. I think so too.

6) Yeah I think so.

7) Ditto.

June 19, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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