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Re: [XTalk] Paul's "dying formula"

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    ... Something I m yet going to have to take into account is Rom. 5:7, MOLIS GAR hUPER DIKAIOU TIS APOQANEITAI. hUPER GAR TOU AGAQOU TACA TIS KAI TOLMAi
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 24, 2001
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      Ted Weeden wrote:

      > Thanks for a fine article and some impressive research. I have a couple of
      > minor comments and a question. You state on p. 37 with respect to Paul's
      > spin on the death of Christ in contrast to the conventional Greco-Roman
      > orientation (cited on p. 25): "Instead of dying for his [Jesus'] own, he
      > dies for his enemies (Rom 5:10)." As I read Rom 5:10, the "enemies"
      > referred to in the passage are God's enemies, enemies who are now reconciled
      > to God because Jesus died for them. So is it really the case that Jesus,
      > as your statement states, died for his enemies, and not "for his own," or is
      > it rather the case that Jesus died for those he claims as "his own," those
      > who were God's enemies prior to Jesus' death for them?

      Something I'm yet going to have to take into account is Rom. 5:7, MOLIS
      TOLMAi APOQANEIN. Here Paul acknowledges that there may be genuine acts
      of self-sacrifice, but ge goes onto state that the "dying for others"
      that Jesus engaged in transcends these as being offered for those who
      are *not* DIKAIOS, are not AGAQOS. In the light of this comment, can we
      say that it is only God's enemies that Jesus died for? Or would the
      Romans to whom Paul wrote have heard something else, especially given
      their apparent tendencies to identify groups within their own community
      as among the "not good"?

      > Second, while Paul may well have derived his "dying formula" from the dying
      > formula ubiquitous in Greco-Roman culture, is not the Pauline spin of dying
      > for the enemies of God really derived from the suffering servant topos of
      > Isaiah 53. Therefore, the Pauline formula is a blend of Judaic and
      > Hellenistic orientations.

      Curious that Judaism itself doesn't make much of the Servant's death
      suffering as a death for others and/or, as Hengel as shown, the idea of
      a vicarious death doesn't really appear in Judaism until Judaism is
      thoroughly Hellenized. In any case, it's not my intention to exclude the
      Servant themes as a possible background to Paul's formula. Rather it is
      to explore what his Gentile audience would have heard given their
      grounding in what I take to be a topos that dealt with the soldier --
      which, incidentally, gets reproduced and preached upon by almost every
      minister on July 4th and Memorial day and is the backdrop against which
      Patton delivered his (in)famous "nobody ever won a war" speech, where in
      he stated quite bluntly what the topos is really about.

      > Third, you state (p. 37), following Wright and Elliot, that "the center of
      > Paul's Gospel involved a major challenge to the validity of the ideology of
      > the imperial cult and the values of the Pax Romana." That may well be the
      > case. But in a certain sense does not Jesus die, according to Paul, for the
      > ideology (salvation/reconciliation of humanity, the enemies of God) and
      > values of a competing imperial (BASILEIA) cult, namely the "cult" of the
      > empire (BASILEIA) of God?
      This would seem to emphasize that we have competing claims between God
      and Caesar and that Paul's message of the cross was inherently

      > Finally, a question. I am struck from reading your paper by a
      > certain
      > parallel I intuit between the Greco-Roman hero (as well as the
      > Maccabean
      > martyrs)-- who courageously accepts his sacrificial death for
      > "whatever" and
      > rallies others to emulate him--and the Markan Jesus, who in his
      > passion
      > prediction (8:31) first proclaims his death as a necessity (DEI) for
      > others
      > (implicitly understood by Mark and later explicitly stated [10:45])
      > and then
      > follows up that proclamation with the admonition (8:34-37) to the
      > disciples
      > and gathered audience to lose their lives, take up the cross for the
      > sake of
      > Jesus and the gospel (namely the gospel of the kingdom [1:15] and its
      > attendant values and ideology; see also Mk. 13:9ff.). Do you see the
      > parallel I am intuiting? If so what do you make of it? And have
      > you
      > found in your extensive research any parallels to the Markan Caesarea
      > Philippi scene that would suggest that Mark is imitating what is
      > already a
      > conventional way for a hero to vouchsafe his salvific death and rally
      > his
      > followers to emulate him? The closest parallel I find in your
      > article is
      > Josephus' reference to Mattathias (_Ant_ 12.279-283). With Mk. 8:31,
      > 34-37
      > in mind, I reproduce here from your translation the relevant passages
      > from
      > Josephus and link them by elliptical dots:
      > What do you think?

      Even if I didn't think that Mark is a Pauline Gospel, I would still say
      that there are amazing parallels between the theology and import of
      Phillipians. 2, as well as with what I claim Paul is up to with the
      dying formula, and Mk. 10:45, especially when one takes into account
      that the OUK/ALLA in that verse has the import of "contrary to what you
      have been expecting/thinking" -- i.e. about the Son of Man and what
      being a member of his community allows you to do. Here we have one who
      by rights should be served who says that, he will not exploit that
      right, but, given his understanding of the ways of God will die **for**
      "the many" (i.e., those whom the disciples, full of "thinking the
      thoughts of 'men'" and not of God, regard as God's and Israel's
      enemies). Isn't this just another version of Philipians 2 -- or a
      restatement of 1 Cor 1:23?



      Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
      7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
      Chicago, Illinois 60626
      e-mail jgibson000@...

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