"Jeffrey B. Gibson" wrote:
> As is well known, in 2 Cor 5:21 Paul notes that Jesus was one who "knew
> no sin" (TON MH GNONTA hAMARTIAN). Is there any chance that what Paul is
> speaking of here is that Jesus was never caught up in, and in fact
> renounced, the sort of zealousness for the Law that resulted in Paul's
> persecution of the church and which later fuelled the Zealot cause
> against Rome?
I'm not quite clear on the logic/grammar of your last sentence, but for
what its worth I think your exegesis is essentially correct. I don't
think Paul knew much about HJ's personal attitude toward (or
identification with) sinners. But he was clear that "in X there is no
condemnation" (Rom 8:1) -- i.e., the spirit of "the Son" is about
redeeming sinners not condemning them.
Paul probably knew that this was true of followers of HJ long before he
joined them & so his personal zeal for the Torah led him to persecute
them as dangerous heretics (Gal 1:13-14). I suspect that the
psychological stimulus for his own conversion was that his lofty view of
the Perfect Law (Rom 7:12) made him eventually conscious that his own
zeal to persecute & "destroy" others brought him under that Law's threat
of condemnation (Rom 7:13-20) -- "Thou shalt not kill").
Instead of leading him to commit suicide, like inspector Jabert in Les
Miserables, this moment of clairvoyance led Paul to turn his zeal 180
degrees in the opposite direction & to seek to "atone" for his
persecution of Xn tolerance of sinners by becoming the chief architect
of the Xn mission to Gentile "sinners."
One can find support for your exegesis in Rom 8:33-34 where Paul
represents the exalted X at the cosmic archetype of intercessor for all
the "elect" who are to be "conformed to his image." I.e., the Messiah --
the eschatological judge of humankind -- will defend those who like him
do not condemn sinners.
At least that's what I teach my NT class.
Mahlon H. Smith, http://religion.rutgers.edu/mh_smith.html
Department of Religion Virtual Religion Index
New Brunswick NJ
Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
A Synoptic Gospels Primer
Jesus Seminar Forum