Paul among the Philosophers: The Case of Sin in Romans 6–8

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Against the prevailing view that Paul is (at most) marginally influenced by Greek intellectual traditions, this article argues that Romans 6…8 manifests certain Platonic traditions about the soul. Following a consideration of scholarship on Pauline anthropology and a critical definition of discourse, Paul's appropriation of Greek philosophy is recast as the adaptation of a Platonic discourse about extreme immorality or the death of the soul. This discourse explains the language about sin, death, flesh, passions and the body; the metaphors of enslavement, imprisonment and rule that predominate in these chapters; and the inciting role of law in Rom. 7.7-13.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-415
Number of pages29
JournalJournal for the Study of the New Testament
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies


  • Anthropology (Pauline)
  • Pauline theology of sin
  • Philo of Alexandria
  • Romans 6-8
  • middle Platonism
  • moral psychology


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