Paul's Hellenistic Dualism

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The mid-19th century interpretative context in theology was focused on etymology and ethnicity. In regard to σάρξ, August Tholuck saw an older Platonic view coming up against the predominant Catholic and Reformation position. He identified σάρξ with soma (σῶμα) as “material sensuality” which solicited or directly induced sin, which was understood as a Platonic view.1 Moreover, in Ferdinand C. Baur theological investigation took a new turn that had a profound impact on many aspects in New Testament theology, including the interpretation of σάρξ. Baur proposed a Hegelian view on the history of religions which was based on the assumption that a thesis (Judaism) had met its antithesis (Hellenism) and the result was a synthesis (Christianity).2…show more content…
D. Dickson, John A. T. Robinson, and W. David Stacey, who suggested that Paul held a Jewish holistic perspective on humans (although not consistently).8 Rudolf Bultmann offered an individualistic and existentialist interpretation of Paul’s letters.9 In his view, “The soma is man himself (sic!), while sarx is a power that lays claim to him and determines him.”10 Ernst Käsemann reintroduced a collective-oriented perspective, and suggested that σάρξ in Paul speaks of humans as part of God’s creation and inevitably existing in a physical context.11 Robert Jewett stated that in earlier scholars the intrepretation of σάρξ “provoked a rather fruitless debate as to whether Paul was more influenced by Judaism or by…show more content…
The study takes the interpretation of σάρξ beyond the individualistic legacy of the modern era, and also beyond the now-discredited Hellenism-Judaism divide. The monosemous approach is an avenue toward the interpretation of σάρξ as integral to the rhetorics and argumentation presented in Paul’s letters. While the constructs of collective identity can be used to legitimate violence against outsiders and deviants (such as Jesus), they can also serve as a means to develop the structures that endorse mutual respectful and contributory relations. The constructs of collective identity are essential both to the development of personal character and to the development of inter-personal solidarity. The discussion about the meaning and function of collective identity is highly relevant in times of emerging nationalism and racism (such as

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