The Letter to the Romans.
I will immediately address the main issue that the critical apologists could not consider due to their unbroken assumption of the Pauline origin of the Letter to the Romans – the actual difficulty that must have remained hidden from them.
9 – 11.
While the doctrinal theme is completely developed in the first section, Chapters 1-8, and in Chapters 9-11 there is no new doctrinal material regarding righteousness before God, while the former section is fully self-contained, in the latter three different and contradictory explanations are strung together regarding the question the author is dealing with. While Chapter 9 introduces a completely new question and not even an attempt is made to establish any kind of connection or even an appearance of connection. While all of this leads to the question of whether a single author could compose such disparate material and place it immediately next to each other, especially if the author of Chapters 1-8 was capable of producing such a disjointed composition. In his apologetic effort to establish the connection between these two sections *), Dr. Baur goes so far as to claim that “from the standpoint of the question answered in Chapters 9-11, Paul was led to the doctrinal discussion contained in the first part of the letter (Chapters 1-8).”
*) The Apostle Paul, p. 349.
Every thought of a privilege of the Jewish people – of a prerogative that so deeply occupied the author of Romans 9-11 – is completely defeated in the first part (chapters 1-8). Every particular claim of Judaism is refuted, and the argumentation is led from the center, as the finiteness and weakness of the law itself, and therefore the necessity of its abolition, is demonstrated.
The author of Romans 9-11 speaks as a Jew and from attachment to the Jewish people – in the previous section, however, the matter of the Jews and Judaism is decided and settled.
Chapters 1-8 deal with everything related to the superiority and necessary negation of Judaism with complete clarity and sublime impartiality – and yet the man who conceived and carried out this extraordinary execution with complete confidence should still have a thorn in his heart?
He has just decided on death and salvation, judgment and life – and yet he still wants to exempt the Jews from judgment?
But let this preliminary reflection on the opposing standpoint of both sections only stimulate doubt about the unity of the author – the detailed investigation of the latter will lead to proof that the second section was added later to the first section.
His constant heartache for Israel, says the author in chapter 9, verse 3, is so great that he wished *) he could be cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of his fellow Jews, his own people by race. This wish, in its tremendous exaggeration, is entirely groundless. As a Christian, Paul could not wish for banishment, and as an apostle, he had duties to fulfill that made such a wish a sin against his calling. He belonged to the Gentiles and could not dispose of himself freely in favor of the Jews.
The enumeration of the prerogatives that belong to Israel in verses 4-5 is also a series of exaggerations and groundless assertions. “Sonship” could no longer be the special privilege of the Jews, after it had acquired a higher meaning in Christianity. Similarly, the glory and the covenants, and the fact that they have the “divine worship,” are expressions that place too much emphasis on the legal cult. Finally, the fact that they have the patriarchs as their own is a glory that reveals too much veneration for the ancestors of the people as a holy corporation, and is foreign to the author of the first part, who especially emphasizes Abraham.
*) ηὐχόμην the addition “if it were possible” (αν [?]) is in the mind of the author, but he drops it.
In the concluding sentence of this enumeration, Christ is called the almighty God (v. 5) and praised as such – a phrase that is foreign to the author of the first part. The highest praise, reserved solely for God (C. 1:25), has been directly transferred by the author of the second section to the descendants of the patriarchs.
As the author now proceeds to the intended argumentation (v. 6), he omits the intermediate link and motive for the continuation – namely, the contradiction between God’s privileged treatment of Israel and its current rejection – and assumes, with a simple “but” and an impossible Greek transition *), the idea of which can only be roughly indicated **), that everyone is concerned with and aware of this contradiction that he now wishes to resolve.
*) οὐχ οἷον δὲ . . .
**) “not as if the word of God had fallen.”
However, this contradiction did not exist for the author of the first part or for the first editors of the gospel, for whom divine judgment on the Jewish people did not pose a scruple. Nor did it exist for the original Jewish Christian, who may have felt pain but also accepted it, nor for the Gentile Christian, who did not necessarily look down on the rejection of the “people,” even with mockery and Schadenfreude. It only existed for the later speculative dogmatist, who pondered the meaning of the old promises and asked himself whether Israel’s unbelief could indeed be a permanent obstacle to their complete fulfillment.
The solution to this contradiction (v. 6) is supposed to lie in the fact that not all who are of Israel are Israel – the author thus turns away from the direction his introduction prescribes. How can the distinction between spiritual Israel and the physical one help if it is precisely this people that is involved – this people for whom the author wanted to become a curse?
Therefore, it is of no help when the contrast between Ishmael and Isaac is cited as evidence for the statement that not all who are of Abraham’s seed are his children. The author needed this contrast because he wanted to come to divine election.
Accordingly, the true children of Abraham (v. 7) are those chosen by God, while in the previous part of the letter, faith is the sure offspring of Abraham.
Isaac, the promised one (v. 8-9), is the type of the children of promise. Therefore, the promise is much too narrow, while in the first part, Abraham is endowed with the inheritance of the world and the fatherhood of many nations.
What happened with Esau and Jacob also proves to the author (v. 10-13) the independence of divine election, but not as previously from the natural determination of origin, but from the merit of works, thus a new contrast that again does not consider the faith of the first section!
Now, when the author wants to prove (v. 14-18) that the arbitrary election of divine justice does not contradict, and only brings forward Bible passages that teach the same arbitrariness of election, and when he wants to refute the objection (v. 19-21) that man is not responsible for his actions and his nature, and in his response, he tautologically only repeats the objection, we will not burden ourselves with the useless effort of elevating these meaningless expressions even to the level of a semblance of an answer. We simply acknowledge that the vague indeterminacy of religious ideas, especially the vague notion of divine omnipotence and uniqueness, allows for no other solution to the contradictions and difficulties associated with it than the tautological repetition of the same.
Enough! – In His free power, God has allowed the Gentiles (v. 22-23) to reach righteousness that comes from faith, but Israel, except for a small remnant, has been rejected (v. 24-26) – but really rejected? No! They have experienced the punishment (v. 31-33) for their unbelief – so the author has suddenly shifted to a new direction in his argumentation. He wants to remove the difficulty, which was just supposed to eliminate the unconditionality of divine election, now (in Romans 10) by reflecting on Israel’s unbelief.
In this part of his argumentation, he also proves that the first section does not come from him.
In order to portray the unbelief of the Jews in all its culpability, he points out how the word of faith was so close to them in the preaching of the apostles – even goes so far as to use an Old Testament quote (Romans 10:6-7) to illustrate this closeness and to present the antithesis that one does not have to ascend to heaven or descend into the abyss to bring Christ. Afterwards (v. 14-18), again only to highlight the unbelief of the Jews, he indulges in a series of contrived phrases about the necessity, actual existence, and general dissemination of preaching – all antitheses and phrases that the author of the first section could not have thought of, since for him, salvation is given and effective in Christ’s work, without any further question.
When the author wanted to introduce his antithesis of bringing down and bringing up Christ to the statement that the word is near in the preaching of the messengers of faith, he very inappropriately inserted the remark (V. 8) that it is in the heart and mouth of believers, and before he gets to his exposition on the existence and general dissemination of the preaching, he indulges in an equally inappropriate digression (V. 9-10) about the necessary connection between heart-faith and oral confession. The catchphrase: if you confess with your mouth “Lord” *) betrays the reason for this confusion – the author had that gospel saying: “Not everyone who says: Lord! Lord!” at the wrong time in mind, and if he wanted to be considered as one person with the author of the first section, he was also mistaken in attaching too much importance to confession as recognition of the dogma and as a condition of salvation. The faith that the first section deals with possesses such intense vitality, its effectiveness and validity before God is so firm that there is no reason for distinguishing between oral confession and sincere honesty, just as there is no need for the clause that heart-faith must necessarily be added to confession.
*) κύριον ἰησοῦν
Neither the divine will nor the unbelief of the Jews can remove the sting from the heart of the author – the rejection of the people remains an unbearable thought for him, and he will only find peace again when he has completely abolished it (Chapter 11).
First, he returns (verses 1-7) to the idea of the remnant that still remains from the people – an idea that was already inappropriate above, but now even more so, as it now concerns the preservation of the people as a whole with the utmost seriousness.
He offers himself as proof (verse 1) that God has not rejected his people – but is he, himself the people? Just because, as he emphasizes, he is descended from Abraham, must the people as a whole, the entire people be accepted into grace?
And is he really from the tribe of Benjamin? Did he really need this obscure reference to his tribe to confirm his descent from Abraham and to make the eventual pardon of his people more certain?
Rather, let us pay attention to how Benjamin was the last, unexpected, and final one in the circle and succession of his siblings, so it is clear that this apostle’s descent from Benjamin is a symbol made later for his relationship to the original apostles – he is also the last, unexpected, and final one in his own way!
Finally (verse 11), the author comes to the ultimate fate of the people as a whole, abandoning the idea of the small chosen remnant, but also revealing his true character by allowing the Jews in Christ to speak purely and completely.
First, he starts from the assumption that has been historically documented in the Acts of the Apostles: that the unbelief and fall of the Jews served to bring the Gentiles into possession of the gospel (v. 11). But he immediately continues, asking: if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness? The interest of the world, the interest of the nations, he wants to say, therefore demands the end result: their full, unimpaired acceptance.
However, he cannot proceed boldly and securely to this conclusion. He is hesitant, he is troubled, as he derives the conclusion by means of this inference, feeling at the same time that he cannot really set the middle term of this conclusion into motion, and therefore cannot prove why it is in the interest of the nations for all Israel to be saved. It is his own hesitancy and troubled state that he presumes to exist in the minds of his Gentile readers, which he seeks to dissolve in the following passage.
“Indeed, I speak to you Gentiles,” he suddenly addresses the Gentile Christians as a special class of his readers, pretending to want to dissolve their objections to his paradox. However, he cannot motivate why the Gentile Christians would be troubled or concerned about his paradox, just as he was not previously able to establish a lively relationship between his argumentation and a mixed audience of Gentile and Jewish Christians. He has always been preoccupied with his own doubts and speculations.
He feels so uncertain, he moves so timidly, that he (v. 13) justifies his right to address the Gentiles by appealing to his apostolic office.
“Thus far,” he says *), in this reflection on his calling, “thus far as an apostle to the Gentiles, I boast of my ministry in order to make my fellow Jews jealous and save some of them!
*) ἐφ’ ὅσον
“Thus far” – how contemptuous for his calling! He is not essentially, not above all others, the apostle to the Gentiles – no! He must also look back at his people, at his flesh, yes, even in the same moment when the Gentiles believe that it is dedicated to them alone, he must let his ministry serve the benefit of his people!
Moreover, “thus far I am now…”**) – so he is also something higher – only temporarily is he the apostle to the Gentiles.
**) ἐφ’ ὅσον μὲν
When the author wrote, the theological explanation already existed that the fall of the Jews mediated the acceptance of the Gentiles – he had just approved and applied it for his purpose, but it is not supposed to be the final solution – he does not want to accept it at all now. He now goes straight to his goal. If the rejection of Israel, he says in verse 15, means the reconciliation of the world, what then is the acceptance of grace if not life from the dead?
No! Life does not come from death, but from life.
The “wild shoot” grafted onto the root of the olive tree in verse 16-17 receives the new life-sap – the holiness of the branches comes from the holiness of the root.
The community draws its life force from the Jewish national life – it is not a higher organization with its own unity point and its own more highly developed juices. It is not the awareness of its break with Jewish national life that gives the community or enhances its self-confidence of its peculiar and transcendent nature over all previous forms of life – rather, the converted Gentiles, who are on the standpoint of this section what in the primitive gospel, if we may bring together such disparate things, is the community emerging from the break with heathenism, would be sacrilegious if they forgot that Judaism is the source of their life.
While it is otherwise a historical law that the nations whose internal struggles and oppositions generate a new principle of life must leave the implementation and ultimate shaping of it to nations that stood outside of the struggle as barbarians, but possess, in their freedom from the considerations and scruples associated with those struggles, the basic condition of higher historical capacity and educational power*) – while this law has also received its plastic expression in the primitive gospel – the author of the present section ascribes to the Jewish national life such far-reaching and even absolute power that it survives its internal rupture, reassembles all its members, and finally also resolves the opposition between the converted Gentiles and its own unbelieving children.
*) Here I still leave standing the common assumption that the struggles of the Jewish national life led to the emergence of Christianity and the Greco-Roman world assumed the shaping of the new principle of life.
When the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, meaning that Judaism has achieved universal dominion, then the Jews who had misunderstood the significance of their national identity in their unbelief will also return to it (Romans 11:25-26).
The author has correctly and consistently carried out this abstract and living universality, which he views as the goal and end of history, by reducing the historical embodiment, the Gospel, to something temporary. Only for now (Romans 11:28), “in respect of the Gospel” *) — only as long as the evangelical opposition between the converted Gentiles and the unbelieving Jews persists, can he regard the latter as his enemies — but the destiny that they possess by nature, which will also triumph over their momentary blindness, makes them his beloved. The error that resulted in the historical opposition between the chosen Gentiles and the rejected Jews will pass away, but so will the Gospel itself, which consists of this opposition. It is only something interim — the end is the universal Judaism.
*) κατὰ μὲν τὸ εὐαγγέλιον
One thing is certain, however, that the author of this section has taken the turn that connects Jerusalem’s ultimate fate with the fulfillment of the Gentiles’ ultimate fate from the Gospel of Luke and adapted it for his own purposes *) — but I dare not answer in the affirmative whether he already had the current Gospel of Luke and with it the Acts of the Apostles in his hands. It seems more likely to me that whoever gave the Gospel of Luke its present form borrowed several categories from this section of his childhood history, such as that of mercy, of the “fathers,” and the weight he places on the privileged relationship of the Jews to God.
*) Luk 21:24 ἄχρι πληρωθῶσι καιροὶ ἐθνῶν.
Rom 11:25 ἄχρι οὗ τὸ πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν εἰσέλθῃ,
1 – 8
The only substantive work in the epistolary literature of the New Testament, the first section of the Romans, was written at a time when the dogmatic concept of grace as such was already firmly established and when the objections that the legalistic consciousness raised against it were widely disseminated and well-known.
Certainly, the astute and thorough dialectician who wrote this section, like any educated thinker who grasped the subject at its core, gave a new form, even greater sharpness and correctness, to the objections he encountered, which his opponents could not impart to them – so certain is he to have removed from the objections the hateful character that religious interest always tends to give them – so certain is he to have elevated them to the dignity of natural antitheses of his own dialectic only when he brought the given concept of grace to its ultimate fulfillment and raised it to the absolute ruler of the entire spiritual world. Despite all this, however, it will remain firmly established for anyone who respects the laws of the real world that the author found the material for his dialectic and assumed that his readers were familiar with it.
No thinker has ever emerged or will ever emerge who did not make use of the turns of his dialectic, even if they are truly new and witness to his original creative power, from existing consciousness. Even the enthusiast or sophist who believes he is setting forth something utterly new and the ideal of the future in an extravagant utopia can only draw the material for his chimerical structure from his actual environment, and so the one who really establishes a new law of the world is far more dependent on his environment – his dependence is at least expressed in the conscious tension with which he regards it – he is entangled with it – he combines the elements that correspond to his self-confidence in his new formula – he transforms the turns that conflict with him into the opponents of his formula – the firmness and security of his new structure rests precisely on the substratum he knew how to find in his environment.
The contrasts with which the author deals belong to his time, not just to the supposed Romans to whom he is writing. He himself did not even dare or attempt to link the objections to which his dogmatic development leads him – such as the objection in 3:5 whether our unrighteousness does not serve as a foil for God’s righteousness, whether he does not abolish the law (3:31), whether we should continue in sin (6:2), so that grace may abound even more – with the presumed occasion that he is writing to the Romans. In the course of his dogmatic exposition, he forgot the Romans. —–
– to such an extent has he forgotten his assumption that he is writing to Gentile Christians in a community that testifies to the triumph of Paulinism (Romans 1:8) that he drops it and speaks as if he is only dealing with Jewish Christians and the limitations of their legal consciousness. —
The desperate situation created by this contradiction, and the impossibility of reconciling the assumption of the opening (Romans 1:1-15), which states that the supposed apostle is addressing a purely Gentile-Christian community, with the assumption of the following exposition, which answers the objections of Jewish-Christian readers, is demonstrated by the last excruciating attempt of Dr. Baur, who refers to the second section of the present Romans (Chapters 9-11) as “the center and core of the whole,*) a section that the author of the preceding doctrinal exposition did not write.
*) Der Apostel Paulus p. 42.
According to Dr. Baur,**) the external occasion for the letter is therefore “the objection that was raised against the participation of the Gentiles in the grace of the Gospel, or against Pauline universalism – the objection that as long as Israel as a nation, as the people chosen by God, did not partake of this grace, the participation of the Gentiles in it appeared as a curtailment of the Jews, as an injustice against them, as a contradiction to the promises given by God to the Jews as a people” – that is, a “concern” of Jewish Christians about the “mass” of Gentiles who were coming to the Gospel, about which history knows nothing. This concern is even completely foreign to the author of the section on which Dr. Baur bases his hypothesis. The author’s concern does not stem from the large “mass” of converted Gentiles, nor does it deal with the priority question of whether the Jews should be the ones to share in salvation before the Gentiles can be allowed in. Rather, it is simply a question of whether the rejection, the constant rejection of the people as a whole, is compatible with the divine promises. For him, the important thing is to subdue the evangelical, the historical opposition in general, the opposition that threatens the privilege of the chosen people, and to subjugate it in its universal Judaism, in any case, regardless of whether the converted Gentiles are many or few.
**) Tübinger Zeitschrift 1836. III, 72, 92. Der Apostel Paulus p. 344.
Only in one formula of the first section is Dr. Baur so fortunate as to be able to establish a connection with the second section, and he even refers to it *) as a reference to the conditions which are specifically dealt with in ch. 9-11 – he means the formula that the Gospel is a power of God (ch. 1, 16) for the salvation of everyone who believes, “first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” – but even this finding is only an illusion, since the preference that the first section grants to the Jews as an unquestionable and universally recognized one is excluded in the second by the absolute divine arbitrariness, by the unbelief of the Jews, and by the final solution that the Jews will only share in salvation last.
*) The Apostle Paul, p. 338.
On the other hand, this formula is highly important and decisive in another respect.
Already when it appears for the first time (at the cited passage), it contradicts the ruthless dialectic with which the first section dissolves the difference between the Gentiles and the Jews. But when it appears for the second time, in the discussion of the universality of judgment, and in the same moment (C. 2, 9-11) when the author expressly emphasizes that in judgment there is no partiality with God and both Jews and Gentiles are equally subject to God’s righteousness, and when it also says that the judgment will come to the Jew first and also to the Greek, then it is clear that it has intruded at the wrong time, that it was not just formed by the author, but was already given and so familiar to him that he also cited it in the wrong place.
But a man like the one who formed this first section – could he really have been capable of making such a mistake? – Could he really have become so weak and, in a moment when he describes the ruthless character of divine justice with his strict dialectic, add a formula that hints at a Jewish superiority and grants them the honor of priority?
I must confess that I consider it impossible. However, it would indeed be a rare coincidence if an essay, to which several thinkers, not only the author of the second section, added their works, had remained without interpolations – interpolations, the possibility of which, after the one has been securely proven, is established, and whose proof may be left to later investigations.
I will raise another question only for now – demonstrate its urgency and also leave its answer to later investigations.
The essay defending the absoluteness of grace against the objections of the legal consciousness from chapter 1, verse 18 to the end of chapter 8 is the core to which several later Pauline apologists added their works – preceding it is a lettered introduction that contradicts its direction outright and instead turns to Gentile Christians, whose faith is so perfect that it serves as a witness to the triumph of Paulinism before the whole world. Now, is it not possible that this lettered introduction, to which the actual essay is attached with a clumsy “for” (E. 1:18), is a later work?
At the very least, the possibility is very serious, and while it is enough for us to have continued the investigation up to this point, whose fundamental elements have only just been formed, to raise this question, we can set the task for those who must consider the whole question to be inadmissible to explain how the author of the dialectical masterpiece on the universality of divine grace and human sinfulness could have used the unclear phrase in the lettered introduction (C. 1:14) that he is a debtor to Greeks and barbarians, wise and foolish. Indeed, we can also let them continue to ponder the meaningless question in the future, whether in that phrase the Jews or the Gentiles are the barbarians, whether the Romans are a fraction of the Greeks, whether the Hellenes are the wise and the barbarians are the foolish, whether among the latter the Jews or the Gentiles are to be understood – they will never answer the question, for the only correct answer, that the author of this lettered introduction threw together a couple of keywords from the first Epistle to the Corinthians *), will always seem absurd to them.
*) 1 Cor 1:19-24
As for the question of when this first section originally originated, we do not want to attach particular weight to the parenthetical remark in C. 2, 16 “according to my gospel” – it is certain that it presupposes written gospels and refers specifically to the gospel section on the last judgment – but the clumsy and disruptive way in which it intrudes into its current context raises the urgent suspicion that it is one of those interpolations that originate from the authors of the later parts of the current letter.
On the other hand, the bloody character and general spread of the persecutions presupposed in the passage from C. 8, 18 to 39 definitely point to a later time, to which the ecclesiastical transformation of gnostic categories (E. 8, 38-39) also belongs.
Finally, if we compare the grouping and construction of Romans 8:38-39, “neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come” (can separate us from the love of God) with the parallel passage in the First Epistle to the Corinthians (Chapter 3, verse 22), and if we further note that everything is clear and natural in the latter, while in the former everything is sought and will never be able to be consolidated into a clear thought, it is certain that this first section of the Epistle to the Romans was written before the First Epistle to the Corinthians.
12 – 14
Having shown that the second section (Chapters 9-11) of Romans did not come from the author of the first, we need not ask whether the latter was capable of writing the exhortations that are jumbled together in Chapter 12, or whether it was truly possible for him to completely forget the central point of his faith, his writing style, his gift and skill of language, and the force with which he holds on to the main idea and groups everything else around it.
However, I also cannot believe that the author of the immediately preceding section (Chapters 9-11) could have simply transitioned to this accumulation of exhortations with a meaningless “therefore” (Romans 12:1), in which nothing reminds us of or even alludes to the theme of his essay. A man who had such a specific interest as the patron of this universal Judaism, a man who held this interest so close to his heart, was not capable of completely forgetting it in a composition that would give the appearance of practical application, and he had no reason to open the unordered series of exhortations with the call to present the body as a sacrifice pleasing to God (Romans 12:4).
This practical section, in which another author weaves in another stiff appeal of the apostle to his divine legitimacy (Ch. 12: 3), stems from a different author who had the first Corinthians letter in mind.
When he (Ch. 12:3) speaks of a measure of faith as it has been allotted to each by God – of a measure of faith that is not that singular, absolute power of the first section that appropriates salvation, but is generally just the Christian ability and virtuosity – he has transferred the category of distribution and measure determination, which the first Corinthians letter correctly applies to the grace-giving and Christian capacity and competence, inappropriately to faith. *)
*) 1 Cor 7:17 ἑκάστῳ ὡς ἐμέρισεν ὁ Θεός, ἕκαστον ὡς κέκληκεν ὁ Κύριος.
Compare 1 Cor 12:11
Rom 12:3 ἑκάστῳ ὡς ὁ Θεὸς ἐμέρισε μέτρον πίστεως
He has at an inappropriate time the execution of the first Corinthians letter on the harmonious unity of the various grace-giving in mind and even copies it almost word for word – his acquaintance with this execution unconsciously turns into the assumption that it is also known to his readers, that he hints at the common origin of the various grace-giving in a carelessly thrown participle in V. 6 and sets up his exhortations for the proper application of them without giving a verb in V. 7-8. *)
*) 1 Cor 12:12 καθάπερ γὰρ τὸ σῶμα ἕν ἐστι καὶ μέλη ἔχει πολλά, πάντα δὲ τὰ μέλη τοῦ σώματος τοῦ ἑνός, πολλὰ ὄντα, ἕν ἐστι σῶμα, οὕτω καὶ ὁ Χριστός.
Rom 12:4-6 καθάπερ γὰρ ἐν ἑνὶ σώματι μέλη πολλὰ ἔχομεν, τὰ δὲ μέλη πάντα οὐ τὴν αὐτὴν ἔχει πρᾶξιν, 5 οὕτως οἱ πολλοὶ ἓν σῶμά ἐσμεν ἐν Χριστῷ, ὁ δὲ καθ᾿ εἷς ἀλλήλων μέλη. 6 ἔχοντες δὲ χαρίσματα κατὰ τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσαν ἡμῖν διάφορα . . . . .
For individual keywords in this passage, it is also worth comparing with: 1 Corinthians 12:4, 11, 25.
That he does not create originally, he proves further when, in his instructions for the correct application of the gifts of grace that he lists according to the guidance of the first letter to the Corinthians and which relate to the leadership and edification of the community, he also includes instructions on how to practice private charity (verse 8)
Therefore, he already knows the gospel saying about the right way of giving alms (Matthew 6:3), as in his instruction (chapter 12, verse 14): “Bless those who persecute you”, the evangelical saying “bless those who curse you” echoes or rather is improperly changed.
The positive and calm relationship that the exhortations in chapter 13, verses 1-7 assume between the community and the secular authorities not only contradicts the revolutionary separation that the first letter to the Corinthians (chapter 6, verse 1) makes a duty for believers, but also contradicts the assumption of bloody discord that takes place between the community and the world power according to the conclusion of the first section of the letter to the Romans.
In the excursus on love as the fulfillment of the law (E. 13:8-10), the author combines elements from the two Gospel passages in which Jesus transitions from individual commandments to the ultimate moral necessity (Mark 10:19-21) and sets forth the greatest commandment (Mark 12:29-31). Additionally, for his category that the love of the law is “fulfillment,” he uses the saying about absolute fulfillment (Matthew 5:17, 48).
The material was given to him, but he was not able to master it or harmoniously integrate it into his work. Immediately after his statement about the fulfillment of the law, he uses the phrase “and this” *) as if he were going to further establish the excellence and necessity of love and give the reason why believers should be all the more moved by it. Instead, the text refers to the established nearness of salvation and infers from this secure datum the abstract necessity of abandoning the works of darkness (v. 42).
*) καὶ τοῦτο
Love is forgotten; its necessity is neither justified nor is any conclusion drawn from its sole value.
Furthermore, in his reflection on salvation, which is closer than one believes (v. 44), he also uses a saying from the Gospel about the parousia, but again he is unable to process and appropriately continue it, since the crisis of the parousia disappears in the abstract contrast of the bright day to the darkness (v. 12) that follows.
In a sudden and abrupt transition to a new topic (C. 14, 1): “But the one who is weak in faith, receive him”, the author provides the keywords of a dispute that he assumes is known to everyone, but he is not able to say even one clear word about the matter that should actually be the focus.
Although it is clear that weak faith should not consist in fear of enjoying meat sacrificed to idols, since it is not even mentioned once, it emerges from the contrast (V. 2) that the weak person is supposed to be a strict ascetic who avoids any meat consumption, as long as this formal contrast is assumed. However, the matter itself remains completely unclear. It is already highly fluctuating and unstable that the strong person is said to believe he can eat anything, when it only comes to the enjoyment of meat or to ascetic renunciation. Moreover, it is inexplicable why the common way of life, which was undoubtedly prevalent at the time of the author, is described as an expression of particular strength – it remains equally inexplicable why asceticism, an exceptional way of life, should be considered an expression of weakness – since asceticism could not have been so widespread in any case, as the extensive talk of this excursion assumes, the consideration that is required of the strong person with respect to the weak person remains incomprehensible – finally, if the author wants the consideration he demands of the strong person to be carried so far that he (V. 21) prescribes that one should renounce one’s own freedom and simply accommodate oneself to the weak person, the unnaturalness of this statement becomes apparent. The abstract nonsense that it leads to reveals its vacuity and its overly artful origin.
To put it bluntly, the author has, as evidenced by the borrowed keywords and entire sentences *), had the first Corinthians’ poorly written discussion about the consumption of meat sacrificed to idols in mind. However, he has turned his copy into a confused jumble by using expressions from his source material, which relate to a very specific dispute, without any further thought, and applying them to the question of the value of asceticism, thereby adding echoes from the evangelical discussion of Jewish purity laws to this already jarring dissonance.
*) Compare with Rom 14:13 τὸ μὴ τιθέναι πρόσκομμα τῷ ἀδελφῷ ἢ σκάνδαλον.
1 Cor 10:32 ἀπρόσκοπτοι γίνεσθε
1 Cor 8:13 ἵνα μὴ τὸν ἀδελφόν μου σκανδαλίσω.
Rom 14:6 ὁ ἐσθίων κυρίῳ ἐσθίει· εὐχαριστεῖ γὰρ τῷ θεῷ· καὶ ὁ μὴ ἐσθίων κυρίῳ οὐκ ἐσθίει, καὶ εὐχαριστεῖ τῷ θεῷ. v. 8 [corrected from 7] . . . ἐάν τε γὰρ ζῶμεν, τῷ κυρίῳ ζῶμεν, ἐάν τε ἀποθνήσκωμεν, τῷ κυρίῳ ἀποθνήσκομεν.
1 Cor 10:31 Εἴτε οὖν ἐσθίετε εἴτε πίνετε εἴτε τι ποιεῖτε, πάντα εἰς δόξαν Θεοῦ ποιεῖτε.
1 Cor 10:30 ὑπὲρ οὗ ἐγὼ εὐχαριστῷ
Compare also Romans 14:19 and 1 Corinthians 10:23, Romans 14:15 and 1 Corinthians 8:11.
Therefore, all those uncertainties that do not even deserve the honorable name of contradictions or difficulties – therefore, the recommendation of consideration for the “weak” and finally the command of submission to them – therefore, the appeal to the Lord, who has given him the conviction (V. 14) – (cf. Mark 7:15) – that nothing in itself can defile a person.
In the tangle of this confusion, there is – or rather loses itself purposelessly and without leaving even the slightest echo, after having appeared unmotivated and unprepared – the reflection on the contrast between those who observe a specific day and those who do not. This is clearly as inappropriate an allusion to the Gospel discussion about Sabbath observance as the previous appeal to the Gospel’s struggle against Jewish dietary laws. And once again, the observation of that day and its profanation is only described as an indifferent contrast in itself because the author remains dependent on that type of the first Corinthians letter, according to which freedom and restraint are lowered and raised to the same level.
15 – 16.
Tertullian’s declamations about Marcion’s violent actions against the Letter to the Romans, which is said to have formed part of his collection of Pauline letters – I say “said to have” because I initially leave the question of whether that Gnostic really had the collection in his hands, which Tertullian attributes to him, undecided – are so worthless and lacking in substance that they give us no clarification about actual differences between individual redactions of this letter.
Only that well-known note of Origen’s *) informs us that there were copies of this letter in which the current two concluding chapters were missing, or rather in which the current chapter fourteen was immediately followed by the doxology of chapter sixteen, verses twenty-five to twenty-seven.
*) in his commentary on Romans (on Ch. 16:25).
Even if Origen’s statement about Marcion removing the last two chapters of the letter is accepted, we will not even ask whether he actually had a copy of the letter without even the crudest attempt at a conclusion in his hasty accusation. As for those copies in which the doxology immediately follows the fourteenth chapter, Origen explicitly states that they still contained the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters, and he only speaks of a rearrangement of the current components, but this alleged rearrangement is only evidence of a gradual growth of the letter: the immediate connection of the doxology with the fourteenth chapter takes us back to a time when the current final two chapters did not yet exist.
Even if that note from Origen did not help and raised doubts, we would still ask whether these two final chapters were written by one of those authors who added their own contributions to the dialectical masterpiece of the first section, and the answer would be a resounding no.
The author of this concluding section, like his two predecessors, is a Pauline apologist who seeks to gain recognition for Paulinism by blunting the sharpness of its opposition. Like them, he is a tool of that Catholic direction which made Paulinism useful to general consciousness by reconciling it with Christian Judaism. However, while the author of chapter 1-11 allowed the Pauline category of grace to serve his universal Judaism, and the author of the following section (chapter 12-14) transformed Pauline faith into Christian virtuosity, expressed in the correct evaluation and application of the gifts of grace, as well as in the accommodation to the weak, the author of the final chapters, in the same way as it happens in the Acts of the Apostles, made Paulinism one of the peripheries that revolve around the Jewish center, which is represented by the supposed original community and its holy Jerusalem.
The confusion in the consciousness of the latter, in which Paulinism and Christian Judaism intermingled, was so great that he speaks in the same breath (chapter 15, verse 8) as if his readers were born Jews, and justifies his right to write to them with his calling as an apostle to the Gentiles (verse 15-16). The first time he wanted to add the dogmatic justification to his occasional sentence that Christ had accepted them (verse 7), namely, that Christ was a servant of circumcision – the obligated one – and a servant of the Jews through the promise to the fathers; the second time, he copied the formula of the introduction (chapter 1, verse 5) to make the unity of the author certain, an intention that he achieved so little that he apologized for the audacity of writing to his readers more daringly than their known perfection allowed, making the daring author of the first section a timid and uncertain person.
When he added his supplement to the letter, the second Corinthians letter already existed. He borrowed from both the first Corinthians letter and the second Corinthians letter the keywords of that quarrel with opponents who left their homeland, which was already chimeric in itself, and suddenly went from Corinth to Rome. Only a copyist, only such an awkward copyist as the author of this appendix, was able to have the apostle suddenly speak (v. 17) of “the name” that he has “in Christ,” i.e., to introduce a keyword from the first Corinthians letter without any preparation or motivation *) – only the copyist of the second Corinthians letter could have the supposed Paul suddenly speak (v. 19) of the signs and wonders that are supposed to establish his calling as a Gentile apostle beyond doubt – only to the second and first Corinthians letters is the here essentially purposeless exposition on the collection, with which the apostle is about to travel to Jerusalem, (v. 25-27) taken *) – finally, the mouthpiece that the copyist performed when he easily transferred Aquila and Priscilla along with the church in their home from Ephesus to Rome **), proves that the entire accumulation of personal information in the concluding chapter is a later composition.
*) Rom 15:17 ἔχω οὖν καύχησιν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ
1 Cor 15:31 καύχησιν ἣν ἔχω ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ
*) Compare Rom 15:25 with 2 Cor 9:1. Rom 15:26 with 2 Cor 8:4. Rom 15:27 with 1 Cor 9:11. 2 Cor 9:6-12
**) Compare Rom 16:5 with 1 Cor 16:19
The mention of the collection for “the saints” in Jerusalem was not completely purposeless. If Jerusalem was the starting point and support base for the apostle and the Greek sphere of influence he operated in, then this pivot point must now demonstrate its importance as the first great sphere of influence extends to its outermost end in Illyria (Romans 15:19), and the apostle is already on the verge of crossing the second western sphere of influence to its outermost end, all the way to Spain (Romans 15:24). Therefore, the apostle must first prove his loyalty to Jerusalem and the holy community of believers (Romans 15:25).