Tag Archives: Quintilian

Is Diehl correct? (Jesus is Lord, Caesar is Not @ivpacademic)

In her essay “Anti-Imperial Rhetoric in the New Testament,” Judith A. Diehl, a New Testament professor at Denver Seminary, suggests anti-imperialist language in already suspect (because they were new) writings “could have resulted in the death of the ones communicating opposition to the ruling authorities and/or the audience to whom they wrote.” (43)

Is this accurate? I would counter that there are several barriers in existence between her statement and the allowance of a hidden anti-imperial stance in the Gospels and/or the rest of the New Testament. There are reasons to hide things in plain sight. We’d also have to assume the Emperor or someone connected to the Emperor cared enough to read the Gospels and/or Epistles. As Frederick Ahl suggests, Quintilian was able to get past the Flavian censors when he mentioned Lucan once. Then there is Statius and Martial. Lucan got caught, by Nero, but his wife still published his works.

It was entirely possible to write against the Empire, as I would like to hope I have demonstrated in my recent work, without the Empire taking note — and with other Christians not only taking note, but building upon it. The best anti-imperialist rhetoric comes from the hidden sources, hidden right under the Emperor’s nose. We see this in Latin orators/poets, so how is it we should not allow for this in a little known Jewish sect? The Jews had long perfect anti-imperialist writings, or polemical writings rather. The Christians just learned from those around them.

Again, I am not convinced every word in the NT drips with anti-imperialism, but there are aspects clearly evident.

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Jesus and Elocution

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Rhetoric class, more with Quintilian. John 14-16 in view.


I note that chapter 14, the reader should be able to pick up on several speeches. There is 14.1-7 which begins the long speech, albeit it is itself interrupted by a question from Thomas (14.5) followed by a brief answer. 14.8 has Philip asking a question which is answered in 14.9-21. Judas asks a question in 14.22 which is answered for the rest of the chapter. In 14.1-7, with the break of Thomas’ question in 16.5, the speech displays several elements which are similar, at least, with elocution. As throughout the entire speech, the image of Jesus and the Father is repeated at length (Geminatio) in 14.1-7. In this passage as well, Jesus’ character is developed as the one who is the mediator between the disciples and the Father, and later, between the Spirit and the disciples. There is also a picture of climax in 14.1-3 as well as 16.27-28. This section, if taken as a whole, would serve to persuade the audience to pay attention to the words of Jesus, as he establishing himself as the unique one who is in relationship with the Father, so much so as to return from the Father to united the disciples with God.

What follows in 14.9-13 contains further geminatio as well as interrogatio (14.9) which is also found in 16.5, 19, 31. In this section, unlike the previous one, there is a small ornament, in which Jesus gives to the future works of the disciples an embellishment, in that they will do greater workers than he. This section may fit the excitement role as it builds up to an onward looking promise for the disciples that as Elisha mirrored but outperformed Elijah, so too the disciples will outperform Jesus.

Throughout 14-16, the use of metaphors is used to describe What comes after the departure of Jesus. It is variously called the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, and the holy Spirit. There is no clear delineation of who or what this is supposed to be in this passage, however, there is no question from the disciples regarding this entity; therefore, we must assume that the language which Jesus was using was well within line of perspicuity. Further, in 14.18, there is the metaphor of orphan which would establish a parental relationship between Jesus and the disciples. Finally, in 14.30, there is the metaphor of ‘ruler of the world’.

Evidentia may be found in 15.1-6 in which the attempt at establishment the relationship between Jesus and the disciples is further explained. It is also present in 15.17-25 in which Jesus is speaking about the relationship between the disciples and the world through his experience with the world. There are strong images and words employed here, such as sin, hate, slaver and master. Finally, the strong image of the woman who is in labor is used to give reassurance to the disciples that the mourning and pain of worldly hatred may last for a while, but that  one day it would be over, and that this day would break forth with joy. Interesting in the use of figures of speech and thought, as well as evidentia, is the implication by Jesus that he was using these things all along, but that soon nothing would be needed to veil his words. (16.25) Following this is the disciples’ words seem to declare that Jesus is now speaking plainly, without the use of figures of speech (16.29-30).

Finally, there also seems to the character of Jesus developed according the “manly, noble, chaste” requirements of Quintilian (8.3.6). He is trying to still his followers (14.27), promises to return (14.28), follows his Father’s command (14.31), and has suffered the same persecution of the disciples.  Further, Praeterito can be found in 14.28-30 16.12-14, 23. Obscurity is on the part of the disciples who admit that they now understand Jesus. Further, there seem to be no antiquisms. Taken as a whole, the speech of Jesus answers questions, entices the audience to add to the speech for the things that they do not know, contains little ornament, and fits nicely into the middle style.

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Quintilian v Stephen

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This is an assignment, etc…. Again, this is just the first stage, with lots of dialogue to follow.


The summary of VI.2 is simply that the orator must know the proper uses of emotion in appealing to a judge. The Roman Rhetorician begins the book by starting at the end of the Argument, the peroration, and advises the reader that this part in particular is “chiefly concerned with the feelings.[1]” Like Aristotle before him, and against Plato before them both, the nature of human emotions is allowed to play a part in the decision making process of the audience; perhaps to the extent that it is one of the greatest assets to the speaker. To this end, Quintilian cautions against treating these emotions “cursorily” and urges the position that nothing greater is to be studied in the “whole art of oratory.”

He goes on to cite the “number of pleaders” who could establish proofs, but is more warm to those who can “seize the attention of the judges.” He writes, “Proofs in our favor, it is true, may make the judge think our cause the better, but impressions on his feelings make him wish it to be better, and that he wishes he also believes.” In this, we find that Quintilian is speaking more regarding, as Lopez pointed out, of the forensic style of rhetoric, and as such, is concerned with using emotional appeals to declare someone innocent. The emotional appeal is to be powerful enough to incite the judge, regardless of proofs, to connect to the person on trial, perhaps to see himself on trial. Of course, there is danger in this, I would state, in that as Quintilian notes, “passion overpowers the sense of sight, so a judge, when led away by his feelings, loses the faculty of discerning truth; he is hurried along as it were by a flood and yields to the force of the torrent.” To this end, the Roman Orator notes that pathos in the conclusion will excite judges, but the use of ethos[2] will soothe them. If may be advisable then, not to incite the judges to anger at yourself in the concluding statement, if one hopes to survive the trial.

Like Aristotle before him, Quintilian relies upon the character of the speaker (2.18) to be a force in making the argument. In the court room, the speaker must possess the “virtues which he ought to praise” in his client. To contrast this, a “bad man” must speak ineffectively or else his sincerity will be challenged. Thus is the connection made in the minds of the jurists between the speaker and the client, and perhaps reliant upon ethos. If the speaker is thought to defend only for fame or wealth, it may be argued that the defense of the client could be seen as mocking the needed ethos of the jurist, in that if the speaker cared nothing for the client, then why should the judge. I note here Quintilian’s further limitations on the speaker, in that the speaker should be “calm and mild”, lacking “vehemence” and “elevation.” A good speaker by these standards would be one not just emotionally connected to his client, but a bridge between the client and the judges. As an arbiter, the speech must not raise the client above the judge nor seek to anger the judge in such a way as that is the last emotion felt before making a decision.

The argument using pathos is one which seems to be the most difficult, because it is the one most in danger of going wrong. Pathos is focused on the negative, in that Quintilian states that it is to be used in “exciting anger, hatred, fear, envy or pity.” Any of these emotions can easily turn on the client and cause a hard view from the jurist. Quintilian gives the example of fear, in that fear can lead to several outcomes. In this, he goes into the use of words to give a more effective blow to the person. (2.23). This idea of “language adding force to things unbecoming, cruel, or detestable” could not have been profitable for a novice in the courtroom, especially if there was not an established connection of ethos. The ancient writer cautions that our language be so tempered as to use the same emotions “we would wish to excite from the judge.”

Finally, 2.29-36 deals with the phantasiai, or visions, which Quintilian defines as “images by which the representations of absent objects are so distinctly represent to the mind that we seem to see them with our eyes and to have them before us.” He goes on to give credit to the orator who can represent things so vividly that one can actually ‘see’ them. This is important for the judge, then, in order to establish both pathos and ethos so that the jurist can feel the evils “of which we complain.”

In examining Stephen’s speech (Acts 7), I must extend it to Acts 6.8-16 so that the events which sets up the drama are in view. In 6.8-15, Stephen is arrested due the “wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.” The charged leveled against Stephen was that he was blaspheming Moses and God (6.11) and was made complete with false witnesses (6.13). The author alludes to the almost favorable position of the Council when he writes that to them, Stephen’s face was like an angel[3] (6.15). Unfortunately, however, Luke records that Stephen was ultimately, in a fit of rage, put to death. If compared to Quintilian’s rules, Stephen failed in his defense, but if Stephen is seen as speaking for Christ, with Christ as the client, then Stephen was successful. In the narrative of Acts, speeches are regularly given in defense of Christ[4], so that here, Stephen, especially with the phantasiai in the peroration, can be seen to defend Christ and to establish a co-vindication[5].

In defense of himself, Stephen is successful in inciting anger and in having that anger influence the judges (7.51-43), but in doing so, he failed to properly place this in the argument, as the use of pathos caused Stephen’s immediate order of execution. Of course, no ethos could readily be established because Stephen was a Hellenized Jew, whereas the Council members were Palestinian Jews listening to other Palestinian Jews. Further, he failed in not using vehemence (Quint, VI.2.19; Acts 7.51-53) or elevation (Acts 7.60). He failed as well in using the “middling sort of eloquence” and in using the “temper of mind” which he sought to excite from the judges.

However, if the defense was of Christ, then Stephen is better seen as the Orator and Christ the client who needs vindicated. While the arrest charge was originally about Stephen’s supposed blasphemy (6.11), the final charge is laid against Stephen’s preaching of Jesus’ words (6.14) which leads to the High Priest asking for the validity of the words of Christ (7.1). In this context, Stephen’s speech is then seen as the usual defense of Christ given with the usual Jewish recapitulation of Hebrew history. Jesus is set against the history of Israel and against the promise of a Prophet Like Moses. The idea of human resistance against God’s Divine Messenger is prevalent, but Stephen does not claim this role for himself but is securing the verdict for Christ. To that end, Stephen elevates himself above the need for the Council, in declaring that Christ is vindicated because he, Stephen, can see him, Jesus, standing at the right hand of the God using a technique similar to Quintilian’s phantasiai. Further, Stephen establishes the ethos between him and Christ with his final words (cf Acts 7.59/ Luke 23.46; Acts 7.60/ Luke 23.34). Finally, Stephen doesn’t vindicate himself with the Council, but Luke is able to show the reader what is going above the human will. Stephen, in speaking for his client, shows that the client is indeed γενόμενον (Luke 23.47) and is thus vindicated by the audience.

The vindication of Christ (i.e., that he is resurrected[6]) is the emotional appeal, in that the Council, and through them, many in Israel, had failed to heed the Scriptures and crucified the Son of God who had been prophesied by Moses and was the culmination of Israelite History.

[1] The translation which I will be using is John Selby Watson’s, Quintilian. Institutes of Oratory, 2010 (Kindle Edition), ed. Lee Honeycutt

[2] Quintilian notes later, 2.14, that the “ethos ought especially to prevail between persons closely connected.” Perhaps if there is no ethos, or if the ethos is muted by the prosecution being closer in connection to the judges, then pathos is the only appeal left.

[3] Regardless of interpretation, the fact that to the Council, Stephen’s face was supernatural, should give the sense to the reader that the Council was in a good predisposition to hear Stephen’s case.

[4] 2.14-40 defended Christ as the Son of David/Messiah and cast blame upon those who had killed him. 3.11-26 can be seen to defend Christ as the Prophet Like Moses. 4.8-1, 19-20; 5.29-32 defends the superiority of Christ’s command to that of the Council as well as the outpouring of the Spirit.

[5] There is not enough space to connect Luke’s use of Wisdom (of Solomon) (See Peter Doble’s monograph, The Paradox of Salvation, 2005, SNTS), but I would contend that vindication is in Luke’s mind here. (Compare Wis 3.1-3, 7; 5.1-5)

[6] Cf 2nd Macc 7.10-14

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Some items on Quintilian

To Quintilian, rhetoric is “the good man speaking well.” (He seems to use the terms “rhetoric” and “oratory” interchangeably, placing much more stress in Book II on the latter term.) He divides it into 3 components: the art, the artist (artificer), and the work. Quintilian explains that:

  • Art=The knowledge of speaking well.
  • Artist (Artificer)=Has acquired the art of rhetoric. It is “his business to speak well.”
  • Work=That which the artificer achieves; that is, “good speaking.” (here)

A page dedicated to him, one of many I assume. One for his works, although I purchased one on kindle for 3.99. Some quotes.

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Quintilian on the Duty of the Student of Rhetoric

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Nor is it sufficient to have read the poets only; every kind of writer must be carefully studied, not merely for subject matter, but for vocabulary. . . . Unless the foundations of oratory are well and truly laid by the teaching of literature, the superstructure will collapse. The study of literature is a necessity for boys and the delight of old age, the sweet companion of our privacy and the sole branch of study which has more solid substance than display.

It is important that we study, in fine detail, even the most sacred of texts. I’ll be arrogant for a moment. I find in students today the absolute refusal to question what they have in front of them. To exegete is to blaspheme. To seek to question a long standing Tradition, interpretation or hermeneutic is tantamount to questioning YHWH himself. I find these students completely lacking in intellectual integrity and their professed love of Christ. Yet, we must. Yes, I say even question God a time or two, in order to know how or why people believed what they did. To find out why believe or what we should believe – or if orthodoxy is even necessary. We must be circumspect to know that not everyone, perhaps not even a majority of like-minded individuals have believed the same way, not even parents and children.

Study to show yourself approved.

For background, Cicero, more, and to see where I am going


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More with μίμησις

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During the Silver Age of Latin literature, which was occurring around the time that the Gospels were being written, the Roman writers were rediscovering what the Greek had already forgotten. One of these tools seem to be μίμησις which, as you know, carries a lot of different meanings, or perhaps nuances. It is, at the base, a rhetorical device of imitation. During the Silver Age as well, literary rhetoric began to develop. Anyway, I digress:

Since the objects of imitation are men in action, and these men must
be either of a higher or a lower type (for moral character mainly
answers to these divisions, goodness and badness being the distinguishing
marks of moral differences), it follows that we must represent men
either as better than in real life, or as worse, or as they are. It
is the same in painting. Polygnotus depicted men as nobler than they
are, Pauson as less noble, Dionysius drew them true to life.

Now it is evident that each of the modes of imitation above mentioned
will exhibit these differences, and become a distinct kind in imitating
objects that are thus distinct. Such diversities may be found even
in dancing, flute-playing, and lyre-playing. So again in language,
whether prose or verse unaccompanied by music. Homer, for example,
makes men better than they are; Cleophon as they are; Hegemon the
Thasian, the inventor of parodies, and Nicochares, the author of the
Deiliad, worse than they are. The same thing holds good of Dithyrambs
and Nomes; here too one may portray different types, as Timotheus
and Philoxenus differed in representing their Cyclopes. The same distinction
marks off Tragedy from Comedy; for Comedy aims at representing men
as worse, Tragedy as better than in actual life.

There is still a third difference- the manner in which each of these
objects may be imitated. For the medium being the same, and the objects
the same, the poet may imitate by narration- in which case he can
either take another personality as Homer does, or speak in his own
person, unchanged- or he may present all his characters as living
and moving before us.

These, then, as we said at the beginning, are the three differences
which distinguish artistic imitation- the medium, the objects, and
the manner. So that from one point of view, Sophocles is an imitator
of the same kind as Homer- for both imitate higher types of character;
from another point of view, of the same kind as Aristophanes- for
both imitate persons acting and doing. Hence, some say, the name of
‘drama’ is given to such poems, as representing action. For the same
reason the Dorians claim the invention both of Tragedy and Comedy.
The claim to Comedy is put forward by the Megarians- not only by those
of Greece proper, who allege that it originated under their democracy,
but also by the Megarians of Sicily, for the poet Epicharmus, who
is much earlier than Chionides and Magnes, belonged to that country.
Tragedy too is claimed by certain Dorians of the Peloponnese. In each
case they appeal to the evidence of language. The outlying villages,
they say, are by them called komai, by the Athenians demoi: and they
assume that comedians were so named not from komazein, ‘to revel,’
but because they wandered from village to village (kata komas), being
excluded contemptuously from the city. They add also that the Dorian
word for ‘doing’ is dran, and the Athenian, prattein.

This may suffice as to the number and nature of the various modes
of imitation. (Aristotle – Poetics, II and III)

So, combine the two. Combine flourishing Rhetoric in Rome (think Quintilian) with the move to literary rhetoric – think Lucan and Pharsalia. Then, think Mark, Jesus and Vespasian. Tragedy, Comedy and Satire was used to tell a rhetorical truth for the Greeks. What if Latin-minded writers were using it, as Lucan did, to stand against Nero, or in our case Vespasian?

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Paul’s Use of Prosopopoeia in his Epistle to the Romans

Previously, I posted Quintilian’s boundaries for the use of prosopopoeia, a literary device that allows a speaker to create a fictional dialogue partner. It has been long recognized that Paul employs such a method in Romans 2-4 in dealing with Jewish resentment to Gentile salvation. We will examine Romans 2-3 (chapter 4 is continued from chapter 3 directly and only in Paul’s speech) in light of prosopopoeia as well as move into forgotten episode of Paul’s use of this which I hope to cast in a different light. (While I am sure that this is old work to many, it is new to me.)

I note that Paul was writing to the Church in Rome, which would have had accesses to the numerous philosophical, rhetorical, and oratory schools which abounded in the city. As Christians left these places for the Church, they would have brought their knowledge of these highly refined skills for use in the local congregation. With Paul being a supremely educated Roman citizen, he too would have known of these skills, at least in part. Paul could have used prosopopoeia as a rhetorical device to communicate a lot of information to his audience and use a relatively short space in doing so.

I will use two translations, the New Living Translation and the New American Standard Version. I will separate the NLT according to how I perceive the conversation, and allow the NASB to remain in tact. I have named the Apostle’s dialogue partner Saul:

New Living Translation New American Standard Version
Chapter 2Paul: “You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.

2 And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things.

3 Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things?

4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

5 But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.

6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done.

7 He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers.

8 But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.

9 There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil– for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.

10 But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good– for the Jew first and also for the Gentile.

11 For God does not show favoritism.

12 When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it.

13 For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.

14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it.

15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.

16 And this is the message I proclaim– that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.

17 You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God’s law, and you boast about your special relationship with him.

18 You know what he wants; you know what is right because you have been taught his law.

19 You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a light for people who are lost in darkness.

20 You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God. For you are certain that God’s law gives you complete knowledge and truth.

21 Well then, if you teach others, why don’t you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal?

22 You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples?

23 You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it.

24 No wonder the Scriptures say, “The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God because of you.”

25 The Jewish ceremony of circumcision has value only if you obey God’s law. But if you don’t obey God’s law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile.

26 And if the Gentiles obey God’s law, won’t God declare them to be his own people?

27 In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God’s law will condemn you Jews who are circumcised and possess God’s law but don’t obey it.

28 For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision.

29 No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.

Chapter 3

Saul: Then what’s the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision?

Paul: Yes, there are great benefits! First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God.

Saul: True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful?

Paul: Of course not! Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him, “You will be proved right in what you say, and you will win your case in court.”

Saul: “But,” some might say, “our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn’t it unfair, then, for him to punish us?” (This is merely a human point of view.)

Paul: Of course not! If God were not entirely fair, how would he be qualified to judge the world?


Saul: “But,” someone might still argue, “how can God condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights his truthfulness and brings him more glory?”


And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, “The more we sin, the better it is!” Those who say such things deserve to be condemned. Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others?

Paul: No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin.


As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous– not even one.


No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God.


All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”


“Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.”


“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”

“They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace.”


“They have no fear of God at all.”


Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are. But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time.

God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.


Saul: Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God?

Paul: No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.


Saul: Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law?

Paul: Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law (continued throughout chapter 4)

Chapter 2Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.

3 But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?

4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,


7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;

8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.

9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek,

10 but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

11 For there is no partiality with God.

12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;

13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.

14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,

15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,

16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

17 But if you bear the name “Jew ” and rely upon the Law and boast in God,

18 and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,

19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,

20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,

21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?

22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?


25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.

26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?

28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.

29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Chapter 3

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?

2 Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.

3 What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?

4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, “THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.”

5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.)

6 May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world?

7 But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner?

8 And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), “Let us do evil that good may come “? Their condemnation is just.

9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;

10 as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;









19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;

20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;

26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.

28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,

30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.

31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

If we examine Saul’s notion of God, the Law, Grace and the Gentile Mission we find that Paul corrected each and every point. Like Job’s friends, Saul is not speaking biblical, divine, or inspired truth and serves here as a method to relate Paul’s doctrine and establish (Romans 1.11-12) certain doctrines for the Roman Church.

Where does the prosopopoeia exercise begin? In chapter 3, Saul enters the conversation with the question to counter Paul’s statement in 2.29. Saul was obviously concerned that a ‘Jew’ was not merely a biological descendant of Abraham. So, the exercise does not begin in chapter 3.

We now examine 2.1 in greater detail:

New Living Translation New American Standard Version
“You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

The NAB reads:

Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things.

Verse 1 of the second chapter picks up in the middle of something, namely the above mentioned prosopopoeia. Paul is countering a previous statement which condemns a variety of people, which we can gather from chapter 2 as Gentiles. Thus the prosopopoeia exercise doesn’t begin in chapter 3, nor chapter 2, but in chapter 1.

Chapter 1 begins with a very long sentence in the Greek which in the original lasts through verse 7. It is a standard introduction mixed with Christian theology, ending with a Jewish and Christian salutation – Grace and Peace. From verse 8 through verse 15, Paul is communicating his missionary’s goal to the congregation in which he first praises the local church and then admits that he wants to take the gospel to the world. It is the mention of this gospel which moves Paul to make a powerful statement of just what the Gospel is – and what it means to the Jew and the Greek, which is where the prosopopoeia picks up.

Before we move on, I want to examine the Greek γὰρ which is ‘a conjunction basically introducing an explanation‘ (Friberg Analytical Greek Lexicon). In Greek, we read:

(v17) δικαιοσύνη γὰρ θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ ἀποκαλύπτεται ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν, καθὼς γέγραπται· ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται. (v18) Ἀποκαλύπτεται γὰρ ὀργὴ θεοῦ ἀπ᾽ οὐρανοῦ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν ἀσέβειαν καὶ ἀδικίαν ἀνθρώπων τῶν τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐν ἀδικίᾳ κατεχόντων,

There is a change of voice here. Paul starts with a statement about the Gospel –  that it is the power to save both Jews and Gentiles because the scripture says faith is what gives life. Then, there is a counter starting with γὰρ which would stand in contrast with the previous comments by Paul.

New Living Translation New American Standard Version
Paul:For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes– the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” 

Saul: But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

Paul speaks about life, but Saul speaks about death; Paul speaks about God saving everyone, but Saul speaks about God having no mercy on the Gentiles. Then we move to chapter 2 and onward to chapter where a dialogue takes shape into an argument with the epilogue in chapter 4 proving that God saves both Jew and Gentile.

Paul expresses condemns the statement made in chapter 1.18-32 as one which is contrary to God’s Grace and the Gospel thereof. I am reminded that in Job, we find four statements in response to Job’s condition. Three of them are false and based on human reason. Only one of them is godly. In the first few chapters of Romans, we find two responses to God’s Grace. One is false and one is true. In both, Job and Romans, the godly view defeats and condemns the view(s) based on human wisdom and reasoning. In doing so, we find attitudes and viewpoints which were are passively commanded not to hold.