Date: Sun, 30 Aug 1998 17:15:38 -0400
To: Crosstalk-L
Subject: Loisy on the Romans


In his ORIGINS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, p. 282ff, (Eng. tr. 1962) Alfred
Loisy presents his reconstruction of the original Epistle to the Romans as
written by Paul. His reconstruction of the original epistle is very short. 
He thinks it was indeed written to the Roman Christians, and gives his
arguments for this.

In his BIRTH OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION (Eng. tr. 1948, p. 26) Loisy
presents this brief summary of the Romans.

"Whatever value we may assign to it, the Epistle, like the two to the
Corinthians, is a compilation."

Here are the original parts, according to him,

"In the preamble (i, 1-17) Paul announces an explanatory apology for his
ministry to pagans. Connected with this explanation is the discussion of
Abraham's righteousness realized in his faith (iii, 28--iv), a line of
thought already encountered in Galatians, and here completed by the
discussion of prophetical texts which the author interprets as foretelling
the conversion of the Gentiles and the reprobation, at least temporary, of
the Jews. The passages at the end of the Gospel, describing the projects
of Paul (xv, 8-38), are equally authentic."

And here are some of the interpolated parts,

"But the theory of sin and grace, of salvation by the death of Christ,
which is expounded at great length (v-viii) is clearly detached from these
[original] passages, has a style peculiar to itself, and makes no attempt
to support the argument in detail by scriptural texts [as genuine Pauline
passages seem to -- Yuri]. On the other hand, certain developments seem to
have been inserted to soften the rigour of this theory (i, 18--iii, 20)
[from the endnote: i, 18--iii, 20 where the indictment of the pagans,
which has a rhetoric of its own, seems to have been borrowed from a Jewish
source] and to prevent its abuse in practice by conclusions that might be
drawn from it." 

Now, here's the part that is relevant to our recent discussions,

"The moral part of the Epistle must in like manner be secondary, since it
was not for Paul to offer such lessons to a community of which he had no
personal knowledge; these lessons moreover were not all inserted at the
same time (xii--xv, 7) [from the endnote: The fragment which follows xv, 7
seems lost in this place. In the moral part, the verses in respect for
established authority (xiii, 1-7) are by a later hand; 8-12 depend on the
Gospel tradition. The warning against heretics, xvi, 17-20, belongs to a
time when gnostic editors were at work.]

So here's Loisy offering another passage, Rom 13:8-12, that seems to
depend on the Synoptics.

Best wishes,


Click here to go one level up in the directory.