seed as inclusive (corporate?)
Note: I also am getting only half of the conversations,
so it is fortunate that Tom quotes them before commenting!
On the matter of Paul's linguistic awareness in his use of
SPERMA (explicitly singular, not plural, he states) in Gal 3.16,
I continue to be amazed that various readers are aware that Paul
returns to the SPERMA theme in 3.29, but they fail to note that
he not so subtly treats it as a collective plural in the latter
instance -- HUMEIS ... TOU ABRAAM SPERMA ESTE ... KLHRONOMOI !!
It is not, in general, important to me that Paul be correct or
even linguistically lucid. But to accuse him of screwing up on
his treatment of SPERMA (singular and collective), as some commentators
have done through the ages, seems to me quite unfair. For me, the "key"
to Pauline thought and conduct is his eschatology, which clearly treats
the "messiah" concept in the same way he treats the "seed" concept
here in Gal 3. We may not like it, or fully understand it, or "feel" it
as Paul seems to have done, but it is quite consistent with the pattern
of his eschatology for Paul to visualize the one/collective "seed/messiah"
in the promise to Abraham, which also helps to focus the argument on
the recurring theme in Gal 3 of "oneness" HWS EF' HENOS. God's plan and
promise has to do with unity. Law, via a mediator, does not promote that
unity (which characterizes God, not the MESITHS), but PISTIS, which
permits and promotes the "henosis" (HEIS ESTE 3.28) of Jew and Greek,
male and female, slave and free (OUK ENI...OUK ENI...OUK ENI), makes
it possible in these end times for the promised/intended unity to take
place in the corporate seed/messiah. For a rationalist like me, there
is "mystery" in such an approach -- nothing to be embarrassed about,
on behalf of Paul, since he seems to be fully conscious (and intentional!)
about being caught up in God's mysterious activity. On themes like this,
Cadbury might have warned about "the perils of modernizing Paul" (as
he did regarding Jesus -- a classic article). I, for one, would like to
understand Paul as best I can in his own terms, his own (somewhat strange
to me) times, with as much of that "mystery" as I can reconstruct in my
framework of academic rationality.
Bob Kraft, UPenn