Tom Geer clarifies:

>I certainly agree that Paul read Gen. 15 as foreseeing what
>God was going to do; it just seems very problematic to me to suggest that
>Paul thought the author of Gen. 15 realized that the Gentiles would be
>included.  That would also mean, of course, that thousands of Jewish readers
>missed the point.  Of course that might be possible (though I think not..

I think I understand now, let me try to state it back in different words.
Paul thought that God's statement "In your seed all the nations of the earth
shall be blessed" was God's way of telling Abraham that by coming to faith
even the Gentiles will be blessed with Abraham the believe (Gal 3:9) and
therefore counted among Abraham's seed.  BUT although this is the way Paul
reads Gen 15. he is NOT (with your understanding) claiming that the author
of Genesis 15 understood this point, thus the author either spoke better
than they knew, or they simply reported God's revelation without understanding
it's meaning or significance.

Did Paul think his earlier understanding of Gen 15:8 was wrong and his new
one correct?  Did Paul think that thousands of Jewish readers have missed
the point in their reading of the Hebew Bible?  These ideas seem very likely
to me, considering the time Paul spends trying to defend his view of how
the Law fits in his understanding of the Old Testament.

My thought about authorship is made more complex by the special case of
textual quotations in authorial intent.  For those of you on the IOUDAIS
mailing list you probably have been receiving the posts, the latest of
which said against Bob Kraft, in essence, "Authorial intent, you must be
kidding, that was proven wrong and impossible to determine decades ago."
In response of which I can only ask the original author, 'What do you
mean by that?  And how would we ever know what you meant?'

But authorial intent in this case has three different people involved
because of the special case of textual quotations.  The author of Genesis
could simply be trying to decribe the story of what God said to Abraham in
much the same way I might say, "Your spouse told me to tell you that the
dogs died again."  Presumable your sponse meant something by that and
expected you to understand it, but the author (me) is not claiming to
know the meaning of that phrase.  BUT it is correct to ask about another
communication in which your spouse was the author (not me) when she said
to tell you that the dogs died again.  What did she mean by that? etc.
In the Genesis account we can ask, is Paul claiming that God meant the
Gentiles would be among Abraham's seed?  The author of Genesis meant to
communicate that?  Abraham understood it that way?  I think that Paul is
at least claiming the first, that God meant that when he spoke to Abraham.

David John Marotta, Medical Center Computing, Stacey Hall
Univ of Virginia (804) 982-3718 wrk INTERNET: djm5g@virginia.edu
Box 512 Med Cntr (804) 924-5261 msg   BITNET: djm5g@virginia
C'ville VA 22908 (804) 296-7209 fax   IBM US: usuvarg8