Re: Romans 7:10 - KAI EUREQH MOI

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Feb 18 1997 - 19:33:42 EST

At 4:11 PM -0600 2/18/97, Jeffrey Gibson wrote:
>On Tue, 18 Feb 1997, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>> AUTH picks up as an intensive pronoun hH ENTOLH making this rhetorical
>> sequence very powerful. The effect, it seems to me, is something like this:
>> " ... and I died, and I came to realize that the commandment intended to
>> bring me into life--this very commandment was bringing me into death."
>Carl and Jonathan (especially),
>Do you think that, in light of the fact, stated elsewhere than in
>Romans, that the only Sin that Paul feels he has committed (persecuting
>the church of Jesus) was as a result of his active zealousness for the
>Law, that the expression here about "being brought into death" is
>intended to be redolent of the idea of "being brought into DEALING
>death"?. Obviously Paul has not died. And it seems to me to be far too
>prosaic to see this as a reference to "future death" or to "death" of the
>"Old Man".

That's not my own reading of the passage; I'm more inclined to think that
Paul means APEQANON in the sense that Genesis 2 shows Adam warned, "Do not
eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for on the day
that you eat of it you shall surely die." Genesis does not record any
physical death of Adam on the day that he ate the fruit, but it does speak
of his becoming aware of his nakedness and hiding from God. I think that
the death Paul refers to is precisely that profound sense of alienation and
the demonic aspect of his doom as a rebel against God. In a sense this is
part of every human being's achieving adulthood, although it may be that
some don't ever reach it--I don't know. But there is a point of loneliness
and estrangement and wilful independence that one rues and cherishes at the
same time that may well deserve to be considered a death. Paul is talking
about a "fall" into awareness of moral helplessness--and I think that is
exactly what the story in Genesis 2 is also about.

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

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