From: Mark Goodacre (
Date: Thu May 22 1997 - 08:36:03 EDT

Dear Andrew, Jim and everyone

I find myself in the difficult situation that I am sure you have all
been in before of desperately wanting to continue an interesting
exchange but being rather limited for time - we are right in the
middle of examinations here and I have to finish an article for
end of the week at the same time. But I would very much like to say
something more on this topic. I will try to be as brief and clear as

Andrew is right that we have got into 'thorny' questions about Paul
and the Law and perhaps we should have tried to avoid these. As soon
as one is touching on this huge area, it is inevitable that there
will be clashes over fundamentally different ways of reading Paul.
Let me simply state, therefore, that broadly speaking I am with Ed
Sanders on Paul and the Law (hence my contributions earlier about the
role of the Law in salvation), but I have some (only some) leanings
towards Tom Wright.

In response to Jim, I appreciate that 'salvation' is something of
an all-encompassing term and more broadly includes sanctification
etc. Forgive me, but I don't want to get into the broader
questions, and, if possible to limit my comments to the function of
the analogy in Rom. 7.1-6.

On which, Andrew wrote:

> Are you saying that the married woman is playing two roles, one of which is also played by
> the first husband when you write that she is "the individual + the
> body of sin" ? Or are you saying that she is "the individual" but by
> her marriage has been bound to "the body of sin" ? Does that
> distinction make sense to you ? It's important for your second
> point concerning who dies in Paul's application of the analogy in
> v4.

I am pleased that you ask. This helps to clarify things nicely. I
over-simplified things before to try to get the point over. Look at
7.2. The woman is described as hH hUPANDROS GUNH, 'the married
woman'. This corresponds with 'the old self', if you like - the
individual who is bound to Sin by the Law (bound to her husband by
the law of marriage). The husband dies and the marriage relationship
(and with it the law of marriage) ends. In the interpretation, the
old self is crucified with Christ (cf. 6.6) and the result is

1. Sin is put to death - we are no longer EN THi SARKI (7.5)

2. The death of this husband releases us from the Law, that
specific Law = Torah that bound us to Sin.

The analogy is quite coherent. One does not need to ask whether the
woman 'dies', nor whether she is playing two roles. In the
analogy itself (7.1-3) she does not die; the husband does,
bringing to an end the old relationship. In the interpretation
(7.4-6) it becomes clear that it is the old self who is crucified
with Christ. One only makes 'the woman' in the analogy die if one
artificially forces the interpretation back into the analogy so as to
manipulate it.

I suppose that if one really does want to push the point one could
say that marriage is a good choice of analogy because of the concept
of 'one flesh' - the married woman is bound up with her husband in
such a way that the death is effectively that of the one-flesh
married woman. I do not really want to push this, though, because it
misses the point of an analogy. One needs to examine the way in
which the analogy is functioning in context and should not try to
force it to do something it does not want to do.

This reminds me of Jim's point that if law of marriage means Law =
Torah in the first marriage, then it necessarily means it also in the
second. This is just not the way that analogies / parables work.
You need to look at each constituent element and see how it is
functioning. Thus Jim says 'The law of marriage is binding wherever
there is a marriage', to which I respond that of course this is the
case in life in general, but we are talking here about the
confines of the analogy of 7.1-3 in which there is no reference to a
'law of marriage' for the second marriage.

Let me return to Andrew:

> Perhaps I wasn't clear. Of course, the woman does not die in the
> analogy of vv2,3 but, in the usual interpretation of v4 [even your
> modified form] "you", the individual who are playing the part of the
> woman in the application of v4 do "die". So, above you talk of the
> husband's death [as in the analogy] but then explicate that as
> "individual now crucified with Christ" which seems to me to be
> saying that the "you" of v4 who is playing the part of the wife must
> die for the application of v4 to make sense. But then - as you
> rightly say - it contradicts the marriage analogy because the woman
> does not die there, the husband does. Hence my question as to
> whether KAI HUMEIS ETHANATOTHETE TO NOMO could just be another way
> of talking about the "discharge" and "freedom" from the law without
> needing to read into it - as you do - the wife's death in and with
> Christ.

This is all dealt with by realising that in the analogy the husband
dies which effects the end of the married relationship. The old
self is crucified with Christ; Sin dies; we are released from the
Law. In short, one needs to do three things:

1. Distinguish clearly between analogy (vv.1-3) and application

2. Not push the analogy in ways it does not want to go, like
importing a new 'law of marriage' into v.3, etc.

3. Look carefully at how the analogy functions in context.

Andrew continued (some omitted):

> I think - although I fear I'm the
> only one who does - it must be, quite literally, "the law of the
> husband" ie the husband's rule over the wife who is bound to him by
> law. This - even if not very PC - then makes wonderful sense of all
> that follows in Rom 7 and early ch 8 - especially when the first
> husband is Sin. It also allows Jim to have law, in some sense,
> still functioning for the Christian, but now the law of the risen
> Christ/of the Spirit [the second husband] and not either Torah or
> the Law of Sin [the first husband].

I like your translation - it makes good sense to me, especially of
how Sin is being understood here. Jim does not want a different Law,
though, for v.3. I have said that, if anything, the law that binds
the two together at the end of v.3 is that of the Spirit (cf. v.6).
I think you are quite right here, and that we are really not that far
from each other. Perhaps you *can* have your cake and eat it.

Well, I have not been as brief as I had intended and have written
this now over a long period of time because of constant interruptions
from people at the door + the phone. So apologies if this is

Kind wishes to all


Dr Mark Goodacre
Department of Theology
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TT

Tel.: 0121 414 7512 Email:
Fax.: 0121 414 6866

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