Re: Bultmann on Rom. 3:23ff.--old tradition

From: Edgar Krentz (
Date: Mon Jun 02 1997 - 17:53:57 EDT

Carl wrote (gekuerzt) long ago on 4/5/97, in response to me and Edward
Hobbs. Sorry it has taken me this long to respond in any fashion.

>It appears to me, however,
>that what Bultmann there says really concerns more Paul's argument in Rom
>3:24ff rather than what he says in 3.23, namely PANTES GAR hHMARTON KAI
>hUSTEROUNTAI THS DOXHS TOU QEOU. ...Paul has gone to great lengths to
>argue for this proposition of universal human depravity in the course of
>chapters 1-3 of Romans, and ... 3:23 is a summary of his entire argument
>up to this
>point before launching, in 24, into atonement as a way out of the human

I agree with the above analysis.

Edgar Krentz was also arguing for some source being cited by
>Paul at this point, but were you referring, Edgar, to this Bultmann

Not specifically. It has almost become common coin to argue that the
participle DIKAIOUMENOI in v. 24 ought to be a finite verb + DE to carry
out the structure implied in v. 23.

>hUSTEROUNTAI THS DOXHS TOU QEOU, is in fact a phrase cited from some
>previous author or source that can at least be speculatively identified in
>the early Christian community or in rabbinical Judaism (if it isn't a
>misnomer to speak of rabbinical Judaism prior to the Synod of Jamnia). Do
>you think, either Edgar or Edward, that vs. 23 ought to be set in quotation
>marks in our text (granting, furthermore, that punctuation is a modern
>invention, of course, still, it is a very helpful thing, even if it is
>mischievous to the extent that it makes the editor of a Greek text an
>interpreter, anytime that he or she even sets a comma or a period in a
>particular place in the text).

No, I do not think that Rom 3:23 is citation of an earlier something.

There is an excellent article on this passage by John H. P. Reumann some
years ago in the journal INTERPRETATION; but almost any recent commentary
on Romans will take up the issue. See especially Kaesemann or Wilkens on

I argue that Paul is citing a Jewish-Christian interpretation of the
crucifixion as covenant sacrifice, that they use it to argue the
superiority of their group to gentile Christians at Rome, and that Paul
inserts CARITI and DIA THS PISTEWS into the citation to maintain that God
justifies Jew and Gentile alike, without either having priority (see Rom

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