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Romans 1:18-2:2 like Nathan's Parable to David

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  • Romans 1:18-2:2 like Nathan's Parable to David

    I finished a thesis titled:
    Romans 1:18-2:2 as a Juridical Parable Like Nathanís Parable to David

    About 125 years ago, Romans 2:1-2 had been found to be similar to Nathan's interaction with David. The similarity was not developed beyond this detection of a similarity.

    My analysis provides a deeper examination of the similarity of Romans 1-2 with Nathan's parable. Previous mention of Nathan's parable had not explained how Romans 1:18-32 set the tone for the accusation in 2:1-2.

    I think this will help understand what Paul is doing in Rom 1:18-2:2 and this reading will provide a framework to understand the letter in better light. Recognition of the juridical parable here will likely require a new reading of Romans 1-3.

    ABSTRACT

    Romans 1:18-2:2 is a juridical parable which has not been readily detected. Only rarely have scholars noted a similarity to Nathanís parable to David in 2 Samuel 12. Sanday and Headlam, in 1895, are the first to acknowledge a correspondence between Rom 1:18-2:1-2 and Nathanís parable. Sanday and Headlam note that Paul demonstrates rhetorical skill like that found in Nathanís parable, where Nathan presents David with the case of a rich manís theft of a poor manís ewe lamb. Upon Davidís judgment, Nathan says to David ďyou are the man.Ē Nathan uses a juridical parable to lead David into self-judgment. Through an examination of several juridical parables, both in biblical and extra-biblical writings, common features of juridical parables are identified. The common features identified for juridical parables aid in finding similar juridical features in Romans 1-2.

    As a juridical parable, Romans 1:18-32 reads as the story of a people who know the truth about God but willfully act contrary to this knowledge. They descend into deeper levels of sin as God hands them over to the consequences of their lusts. The sinful behavior infests the broader community. The people are so corrupt that they are liable to the wrath of God, so God rightfully sends his wrath on these people. The audience (reader or hearer) to the letter becomes judgmental and becomes as a judge against the people described in Romans 1. Then, Romans 2:1-2 reveal the audienceís guilt for doing the same sins and having a judgmental attitude. Thus, the audience has actually judged itself, as is found within other juridical parables that are examined in this study. Consequently, the juridical parable is recommended as a motif and interpretive lens for considering rhetorical strategy at the beginning of Paulís letter to the Romans.

  • #2
    Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post
    I finished a thesis titled:
    Romans 1:18-2:2 as a Juridical Parable Like Nathanís Parable to David

    About 125 years ago, Romans 2:1-2 had been found to be similar to Nathan's interaction with David. The similarity was not developed beyond this detection of a similarity.

    My analysis provides a deeper examination of the similarity of Romans 1-2 with Nathan's parable. Previous mention of Nathan's parable had not explained how Romans 1:18-32 set the tone for the accusation in 2:1-2.

    I think this will help understand what Paul is doing in Rom 1:18-2:2 and this reading will provide a framework to understand the letter in better light. Recognition of the juridical parable here will likely require a new reading of Romans 1-3.

    ABSTRACT

    Romans 1:18-2:2 is a juridical parable which has not been readily detected. Only rarely have scholars noted a similarity to Nathanís parable to David in 2 Samuel 12. Sanday and Headlam, in 1895, are the first to acknowledge a correspondence between Rom 1:18-2:1-2 and Nathanís parable. Sanday and Headlam note that Paul demonstrates rhetorical skill like that found in Nathanís parable, where Nathan presents David with the case of a rich manís theft of a poor manís ewe lamb. Upon Davidís judgment, Nathan says to David ďyou are the man.Ē Nathan uses a juridical parable to lead David into self-judgment. Through an examination of several juridical parables, both in biblical and extra-biblical writings, common features of juridical parables are identified. The common features identified for juridical parables aid in finding similar juridical features in Romans 1-2.

    As a juridical parable, Romans 1:18-32 reads as the story of a people who know the truth about God but willfully act contrary to this knowledge. They descend into deeper levels of sin as God hands them over to the consequences of their lusts. The sinful behavior infests the broader community. The people are so corrupt that they are liable to the wrath of God, so God rightfully sends his wrath on these people. The audience (reader or hearer) to the letter becomes judgmental and becomes as a judge against the people described in Romans 1. Then, Romans 2:1-2 reveal the audienceís guilt for doing the same sins and having a judgmental attitude. Thus, the audience has actually judged itself, as is found within other juridical parables that are examined in this study. Consequently, the juridical parable is recommended as a motif and interpretive lens for considering rhetorical strategy at the beginning of Paulís letter to the Romans.
    Steve Gregg of The Narrow Path has a similar take on the first few chapters of Romans. He expounds on that in his lectures - Romans.

    I think it makes more sense of Romans overall to see those chapters in that way. Rather than in one chapter indicting the Gentiles, the next indicting the Jews, then everybody it seems to make more sense that in the first chapters Paul is teaching against the racial superiority the Jews thought they had - because they were Jews. Most of the rest of Romans then is seen as Paul explaining the Gentiles are as much a part of the church as the Jews culminating in chapters 9-11 and the olive tree image.

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    • #3
      I didn't expect that anyone had recognized Rom 1:18-32 to be about Jews. No scholarly writing that I have seen propose this. Many scholars have said 1:18-32 is about all of humanity. But none have seen the text as primarily describing Jews. (But I place many caveats on this application to Jews.)

      Kudos to Steve Gregg for his discernment.

      I had analyzed 1:18-32 phrase by phrase to see which ideas best represented Jews and those representing Gentiles. I don't have the results with me but it was like 80% favored Jews as the people described. This conclusion still had to be modified to recognize 1:18-32 in a generalized sense -- as describing people of the Bible. Then the text can describe Gentile Christians who also have messed up their walk.

      In reality, the text does not speak explicitly of any group of people. Paul just was describing the sort of people subject to the wrath of God. In this approach, no one can use this text to denigrate any specific group of people.

      I differ from Steve by noting that the audience consisted solely Gentiles who despised Jews. The audience then heard Rom 1:18-32 as being about Jews who fell but Paul applies this text to the Gentile audience in 2:1-2. It was the Gentile audience who thought Paul was agreeing about the state of the Jews.
      Last edited by mikewhitney; 01-13-2020, 06:09 PM.

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      • #4
        It is about Sparko and his likes, who made their god out of a man,

        Romans 1:23, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of a mortal man

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Geert van den Bos View Post

          Romans 1:23, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of a mortal man
          Geert van den Bos, do not post in my thread. This thread is not for your personal attacks.

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