Lament in Romans: Promise, Suffering, and the Cry of Distress
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SubjectLaments in the Bible.
This dissertation explores the use of Old Testament lament language in Paul's Letter to the Romans. The overarching thesis is that Paul employs Old Testament Language in order to express the depth of creation's suffering as well as the power of the gospel he preaches. Suffering stems from four sources--namely divine wrath, sin's use of the law, distress caused by association with Christ, and Israel's unbelief. These sources of distress are especially evident in Romans 3:10-18; 7:7-25; 8:18-39; 9-11. Moreover, in these passages, Paul uses a great amount of lament language, especially from the Psalms of Lament. The use of this language indicates the profundity of creation's suffering and the promise of the gospel of God that answers all cries of distress. Chapter 1 introduces the history of interpretation on lament language in Paul's writings and the overarching thesis of the work. Chapter 2 analyzes lament language in various genres of the Old Testament. Chapter 3 looks at suffering caused by God's wrath and the lament language employed in Romans 3:10-18. Chapter 4 explores the lament language taken up by the "I" in Romans 7:7-25. Chapter 5 addresses suffering caused by association with Christ and the lament language used to express it in Romans 8:18-39. Chapter 6 looks at the interpretation of Romans 9-11 in light of Paul's lament over Israel's unbelief and the suffering it causes him. Finally, Chapter 7 brings the weight of the study's findings to bear on the interpetive approaches of two New Perspective proponents--N.T. Wright and Krister Stendahl.