Re: Romans 7:14-25 -- Historical Present

Carl W. Conrad (
Fri, 25 Oct 1996 14:41:36 -0500

At 2:29 PM -0500 10/25/96, Carlton Winbery wrote:
>Tommy Wilson wrote:
>>I am interested in hearing some viewpoints on the present tense
>>verbs as well as the whole interpretation of Romans 7:14-25. In my
>>undergraduate work, my professor claimed Paul was describing his
>>pre-Christian experience in this passage with his major support for
>>such a view point being that the presents Paul used were historical
>>omit rest<

Just a note to piggy-back on top of Carlton's good comment: I tend to think
that this passage in Romans 7 may very well BE autobiographical, but I
don't think there's any way to prove that hypothesis, certainly not by use
of the present tenses in it; but beyond that, the validity of the argument
set forth (isn't this what Luther called DE SERVO ARBITRIO?) is altogether
independent of any autobiographical connection. I've always thought there
was something useful in comparing this passage with Mark's account (chapter
5:1ff.) of the Gerasene Demoniac, which I (personally) am inclined to see
as a figurative account of precisely the beleaguered, helpless condition of
a person released by Christ from that bondage. Or the passage could also be
viewed (I won't try to develop this interpretation here, as it doesn't
really depend upon the Greek text) as an interpretation, offered in the
first-person singular, of the account of the fall of Adam and Eve in
Genesis 2-3.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR