Saturday, September 26, 2009

Retrospective Multivalence in Romans 2 - Part 2

Another reason for seeing a secondary reference to the work of the Spirit in Christian gentiles in Romans 2 is Paul's use of "reckoning" language:
  • In Romans 2:27 Paul says that the uncircumcision of the law-keeping Gentile will be "reckoned" (λογισθήσεται) as circumcision. 
  • In Romans 4:3 Paul quotes the LXX of Gen 15:6: "Abraham believed God and it was reckoned (ἐλογίσθη) to him as righteousness." The rest of the chapter reflects on the significance of this "reckoning," using the verb repeatedly and drawing in Psalm 31:1 LXX because it also uses the verb λογίζομαι. The verb "to reckon" (λογίζομαι) is used 40 times in the NT. 32 of those occurrences are in the undisputed Paulines, and 19 are in Romans. The verb is arguably important to Paul because of its connection to Gen 15:6.
  • In Romans 6:11-12 Paul turns to the practical implications for those who have been joined to Christ and whose faith is reckoned as righteousness: "reckon yourselves as dead to sin and alive to God...Do not let sin reign in your mortal bodies..." 
I see that Doug Moo's conclusions on Romans 2:26 are similar to mine:
Without directly describing Christians here, then, Paul's logic anticipates his teaching that it is faith and the indwelling of the Spirit that meet God's demand and so bring people into relationship with God. We may paraphrase: "if it should be that there were an uncircumcised person who perfectly kept the law (which in this sense there is not, though in another sense, as we will see, there is), that person would be considered a full member of the people of God." - Douglas Moo, Romans (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 171.


Jason A. Staples said...

This is very similar to the conclusions I draw in the paper I'll present at SBL in November, only I spend more time on 1) how I see the "law written on the heart" as central to the whole argument, and 2) how the Gentiles and Jews are related as pertains Israel in Paul's understanding.

d. miller said...

Thanks for mentioning your paper, Jason. I am currently planning to be at the Monday morning Pauline Epistles session, and I will look forward to hearing what you have to say.