Abstract

Abstract:

Despite the myriad approaches to the identity of the “I” in Rom 7:7–25, there is one aspect of the passage that has not been considered: its similarity to the tragic Greek laments. I offer a new perspective on the identity of the “wretched man”—rather, the “wretched woman”—in Rom 7:7–25, contending, based on generic and intertraditional arguments, that Eve, not Adam, is the individual identified in Paul’s speech-in-character in this chapter. Paul has recast Eve in the role of the female lamenter who bemoans her tragic condition. In this way, he has uniquely fused Second Temple Jewish traditions about Eve with tragic traditions that were prevalent in his Greco-Roman context. I argue that Paul evokes Gen 3 in Rom 7 but that the intertextual themes and lexemes concern Eve, not Adam. A comparison of Rom 7 with portrayals of Eve from Paul’s Second Temple Jewish context shows that Paul is evoking an established tradition about Eve. Finally, I argue that Paul has recast Eve in the role of the tragic, lamenting woman to serve a pedagogical function in the unfolding argument of Rom 5–8. The constituent aspects of her character fit the Aristotelian model of the ideal tragic figure who provokes fear and pity in the audience’s mind and ultimately effects a cathartic release of these emotions.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-3876
Print ISSN
0021-9231
Pages
pp. 743-763
Launched on MUSE
2018-11-08
Open Access
No
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