From: Jeffrey B. Gibson (
Date: Fri Jun 02 2000 - 11:23:32 EDT

"Maurice A. O'Sullivan" wrote:

> At 23:33 01/06/00, Roe wrote:
> >Does TALAIPWROS favor the understanding that his "wretchedness" entailed
> >his frustration (at being unable to achieve that for which he
> >struggles)? I am assuming this partially because I would have expected
> >Paul to say, perhaps, hAMARTWLOS rather than TALAIPWROS if he had
> >referred to his sinfulness..

> After citing Epictetus, Plutarch, 'Joseph and Aseneth', and Test. Abraham
> ,Spicq continues:
> " The exclamation is a common one, whether after a mistake or a sin, to
> EXPRESS THE CONDITON [ emphais mine ] of the guilty person, or on the
> occasion of the loss of a loved one. It is the cry of a broke heart ".

In the light of this, I wonder if it is not important to note two things in
interpreting what Paul is trying to express:

1. Contrary to the Reformation view of Paul as one plagued by an introspective
conscience, Paul does not seem to have been plagued by a sense of "wretchedness" --
or at least a wretchedness grounded in a view that he was by nature a "sinner" and/or
ontically (sp?) undeserving of God's graciousness.

2. the only thing Paul ever expresses "guilt" over is his having persecuted the

So while the expression in question seems odd IF Paul is intent here to say something
about the "human condition" and the universal need for forgiveness, it is entirely
appropriate if what Paul is up to here is to show how a certain sort of Zeal for the
Law -- i.e., that which he himself was intent to embody before he was turned around
by his "call experience", and of which he, like the Zealots, though God approved --
actually is not God's way and, if followed, leads, as it did him in his persecution of
the church, to a rejection of God's ways.


Jeffrey Gibson

Jeffrey B. Gibson
7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
Chicago, Illinois 60626

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