Date: Sat, 5 Sep 1998 16:04:11 -0400
To: Crosstalk-L
Subject: Epistle to the Romans 


I've been trying to sort out the Epistle to the Romans recently, and to
see which parts of it would have been written by Paul. Here's a summary
based mostly on ORIGINS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (English tr., 1962, Collier
edition) by Alfred Loisy, but also on some other materials.

First, here are the authentic passages.

Authentic Paul. (Including passages containing the early "eschatological
theory of salvation". Such beliefs were characteristic of earliest
post-Easter community according to Loisy).

[NOTE: long arrows ----> indicate longish passages]

CH 1:1---->17 
CH 3:28---->CH 4:14, 16-24 (3:27 "adjusts the argument to the interpolated
context"; cf. 2:17 with which 3:27 seems to be co-ordinated.) Loisy
comments on this whole section: "The subtility of the argument is entirely
in the Rabbinic style."
CH 9:1-5a, 6-13, 30---->CH 10:21 (end of chapter)
CH 15:8-12, 14---->CH 16:16,19a,20-24


Secondary passages, not by Paul, containing a very different quasi-gnostic
"mystical theory of salvation". (This theory came to replace the
eschatological theory gradually as the expectation of the Imminent Return

CH 3:21-26 (including a "suture" 3:21-24; 3:21 "seems to have been first
written to make sequence with 1:16-18, the whole of 1:19-3:20 being added
CH 4:15, 25 ("forced transition")
CH 5:1-4, 6-8, 10---->CH 7:6; (CH 7:7---->25 attempted reconciliation of
the two theories: added later.) Loisy comments on 5:12-21 that the passage
contains "enormous absurdities", and that "this wholly abstract,
scholastic and false conception of the Law" could have never been
"imagined and professed by a man who had long lived in obedience to the
CH 8:1-9a,10, 12-13, 23b-25, 28-35, 37-39;


Loisy believed that, in general, the first stage of the NT writings was
primarily eschatological. This is what he calls the early "eschatological
catechesis", which was not so complicated. Mostly the expectation of the
impending Second Coming. These expectations of the imminent Return of
Jesus in Glory were originally crystallized in and encouraged by the
earliest Resurrection visions, the first one most likely an appearance to
Peter. (In my view, these beliefs were essentially Adoptionist.)

So first came the visions, and then came the eschatological catechesis
which was essentially entirely Jewish and based on the OT. These would
have been presumably the beliefs of the Historical Paul, at least early

But these end-times expectations were gradually disappointed as years went
by. The Big Day just failed to arrive (this will become a common story
with uncounted millenarian sects in the following 20 centuries). And so
then came the next stage, what Loisy calls "gospel/evangelical
catechesis". It is at this point that Loisy sees the introduction of
certain "gnostic elements" into a number of NT texts (sometime in the
second half of the first century, especially towards the end). These were
helping to soften the disappointment. The gnostic elements came together
with Pauline reinterpretation of the death on the Cross as a Mystery. Paul
may have began to introduce some of this gnostic stuff himself, but the
bulk of it was likely added by his editors/followers. 

This is how Loisy describes this secondary Pauline "mystical theory of
salvation" that was co-ordinated with his "evangelical catechesis" stage.

"In the gnosis of Romans, Israel and Abraham [characteristically
center-stage in the authentic Pauline passages -- Yuri] drop out of view,
nor is the theme any longer concerned with the promises made to them, nor
with the Christ who is to come, nor with faith in the Christ risen from
the dead as the sole condition of admission to the approaching Kingdom of
God. It is now a question of the _whole human race_, in bondage from its
beginnings to sin and death, which the Christ, descended straight from
heaven, has ransomed by his own death. And so this Christ is now ready to
share his divine immortality with all those who mystically unite
themselves to his death and resurrection in the rites of Christian
initiation. The essentials of this gnosis have nothing to do with promises
contained in the Scriptures; they are concerned with the revelation of the
mystery hidden in God till now revealed, which mystery, when occasion
demands it, is expressly distinguished from the eschatological catechesis
with its foundation in Scripture. Moreover, the two catecheses present
marked differences of style as well as subject-matter. ... with this
difference of subject and style there goes a different vocabulary. (p.

On these two doctrines being very different, Loisy writes:

"... the mystical gnosis was hitched on ... to the eschatological theory
of salvation. ... Not only are the two theses (setting aside a few
glosses) developed in mutual independence, but each is complete in itself
and in contradiction with the other. If, instead of being thus independent
and contradictory, the final text presented them as reconciled and fused
into one, the mind of the author having thus fused them, then indeed we
should have to maintain that this arrangement of the two doctrines was the
outcome of spiritual forces at work in Paul himself. But this is not the
case of fusion but of juxtaposition..." (p. 231, ORIGINS) 


Polemical hors d'oeuvre added to soften the rigour of the later "mystical"
additions. These passages, in themselves, betray some later editing and

CH 1:18---->CH 3:20 (Here the "indictment of the pagans, which has a
rhetoric of its own, seems to have been borrowed from a Jewish source. In
2:14-15 we may suspect a gloss", Loisy, BIRTH, p. 363)


Moral instructions, added later:

CH 12---->CH 15:7

CH 13:1-7 "the verses about respect of the established authority are by a 
later hand"
CH 13:8-12 "gospel dependent"
CH 15:8ff fragment beginning with 15:8 "seems lost in this place"
CH 16:17-20 against gnostics


And now, here's the original Pauline epistle.

Reconstruction of the original Epistle to the Romans according to Alfred
Loisy. Based on his ORIGINS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (English tr., 1962,
Collier edition.)

                             Romans, chapter 1
   1: Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart
   for the gospel of God
   2: which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy
   3: the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David
   according to the flesh
   4: and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of
   holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,
   5: through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about
   the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,
   6: including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
   7: To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to
   you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
   8: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because
   your faith is proclaimed in all the world.
   9: For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of
   his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers,
   10: asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in
   coming to you.
   11: For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual
   gift to strengthen you,
   12: that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith,
   both yours and mine.
   13: I want you to know, brethren, that I have often intended to come
   to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap
   some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.
   14: I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to
   the wise and to the foolish:
   15: so I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
   16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for
   salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the
   17: For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for
   faith; as it is written, "He who through faith is righteous shall

[big snip]

   CH 3:28: For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works
   of law.
   29: Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles
   also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
   30: since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the
   ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith.
   31: Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the
   contrary, we uphold the law.
                             Romans, chapter 4
   1: What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather according to
   the flesh?
   2: For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast
   about, but not before God.
   3: For what does the scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was
   reckoned to him as righteousness."
   4: Now to one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but as
   his due.
   5: And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the
   ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.
   6: So also David pronounces a blessing upon the man to whom God
   reckons righteousness apart from works:
   "Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins
   are covered;
   blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not reckon his sin."
   9: Is this blessing pronounced only upon the circumcised, or also upon
   the uncircumcised? We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham as
   10: How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had
   been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
   11: He received circumcision as a sign or seal of the righteousness
   which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose
   was to make him the father of all who believe without being
   circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them,
   12: and likewise the father of the circumcised who are not merely
   circumcised but also follow the example of the faith which our father
   Abraham had before he was circumcised.
   13: The promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should
   inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the
   righteousness of faith.
   14: If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith
   is null and the promise is void.

[[small gloss: 4:15: For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law
there is no transgression.]]

   16: That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may
   rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants -- not only to
   the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of
   Abraham, for he is the father of us all,
   17: as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations" --
   in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the
   dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
   18: In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father
   of many nations; as he had been told, "So shall your descendants be."
   19: He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which
   was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or when
   he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.
   20: No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he
   grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,
   21: fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
   22: That is why his faith was "reckoned to him as righteousness."
   23: But the words, "it was reckoned to him," were written not for his
   sake alone,
   24: but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him
   that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord ... 

[almost the end of CH 4]

[big snip]
                             Romans, chapter 9
   1: I am speaking the truth in Christ, I am not lying; my conscience
   bears me witness in the Holy Spirit,
   2: that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
   3: For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from
   Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen by race.
   4: They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the
   covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;
   5: to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the
   flesh, is the Christ. 

[[small gloss: 9:5b, God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.]]

   6: But it is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all who
   are descended from Israel belong to Israel,
   7: and not all are children of Abraham because they are his
   descendants; but "Through Isaac shall your descendants be named."
   8: This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the
   children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as
   9: For this is what the promise said, "About this time I will return
   and Sarah shall have a son."
   10: And not only so, but also when Rebecca had conceived children by
   one man, our forefather Isaac,
   11: though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or
   bad, in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not
   because of works but because of his call,
   12: she was told, "The elder will serve the younger."
   13: As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

[big snip: a passage containing many additional citations from OT]

   9:30: What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue
   righteousness have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith;
   31: but that Israel who pursued the righteousness which is based on
   law did not succeed in fulfilling that law.
   32: Why? Because they did not pursue it through faith, but as if it
   were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,
   33: as it is written,
   "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make men stumble,
   a rock that will make them fall;
   and he who believes in him will not be put to shame."
                             Romans, chapter 10
   1: Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they
   may be saved.
   2: I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but it is not
   3: For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and
   seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's
   4: For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may
   be justified.
   5: Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is
   based on the law shall live by it.
   6: But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your
   heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down)
   7: or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up
   from the dead).
   8: But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in
   your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach);
   9: because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and
   believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be
   10: For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he
   confesses with his lips and so is saved.
   11: The scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to
   12: For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord
   is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him.
   13: For, "every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be
   14: But how are men to call upon him in whom they have not believed?
   And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And
   how are they to hear without a preacher?
   15: And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written,
   "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!"
   16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel; for Isaiah says, "Lord,
   who has believed what he has heard from us?"
   17: So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the
   preaching of Christ.
   18: But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have; for
   "Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
   and their words to the ends of the world."
   19: Again I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
   "I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
   with a foolish nation I will make you angry."
   20: Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
   "I have been found by those who did not seek me;
   I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me."
   21: But of Israel he says, "All day long I have held out my hands to a
   disobedient and contrary people."

[big snip]

   15:8: For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to
   show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the
   9: and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As
   it is written,
   "Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles,
   and sing to thy name";
   10: and again it is said,
   "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people";
   11: and again,
   "Praise the Lord, all Gentiles,
   and let all the peoples praise him";
   12: and further Isaiah says,
   "The root of Jesse shall come,
   he who rises to rule the Gentiles;
   in him shall the Gentiles hope."

[[Loisy: "At this point the fundamental thesis of the letter written by
Paul to the Roman Christians comes to its natural close. The letter is no
skeleton outline, but a complete exposition, well balanced and well
developed, of what Paul, in the given circumstances, had to say to these
Christians" (p. 287). Then follows the conclusion of the letter.]]

[[small gloss: 13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in
believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in

   14: I myself am satisfied about you, my brethren, that you yourselves
   are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct
   one another.
   15: But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of
   reminder, because of the grace given me by God
   16: to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly
   service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may
   be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
   17: In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for
   18: For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has
   wrought through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and
   19: by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy
   Spirit, so that from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyr'icum I have
   fully preached the gospel of Christ,
   20: thus making it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ
   has already been named, lest I build on another man's foundation,
   21: but as it is written,
   "They shall see who have never been told of him,
   and they shall understand who have never heard of him."
   22: This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming
   to you.
   23: But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these
   regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you,
   24: I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be sped on
   my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a
   25: At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem with aid for the
   26: For Macedo'nia and Acha'ia have been pleased to make some
   contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem;
   27: they were pleased to do it, and indeed they are in debt to them,
   for if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings,
   they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.
   28: When therefore I have completed this, and have delivered to them
   what has been raised, I shall go on by way of you to Spain;
   29: and I know that when I come to you I shall come in the fulness of
   the blessing of Christ.
   30: I appeal to you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the
   love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God
   on my behalf,
   31: that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my
   service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,
   32: so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed
   in your company.
   33: The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
                             Romans, chapter 16
   1: I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at
   2: that you may receive her in the Lord as befits the saints, and help
   her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a helper of
   many and of myself as well.
   3: Greet Prisca and Aq'uila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,
   4: who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I but also all
   the churches of the Gentiles give thanks;
   5: greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epae'netus,
   who was the first convert in Asia for Christ.
   6: Greet Mary, who has worked hard among you.
   7: Greet Androni'cus and Ju'nias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners;
   they are men of note among the apostles, and they were in Christ
   before me.
   8: Greet Amplia'tus, my beloved in the Lord.
   9: Greet Urba'nus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved
   10: Greet Apel'les, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong
   to the family of Aristobu'lus.
   11: Greet my kinsman Hero'dion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to
   the family of Narcis'sus.
   12: Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphae'na and Trypho'sa. Greet
   the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord.
   13: Greet Rufus, eminent in the Lord, also his mother and mine.
   14: Greet Asyn'critus, Phlegon, Hermes, Pat'robas, Hermas, and the
   brethren who are with them.
   15: Greet Philol'ogus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olym'pas, and
   all the saints who are with them.
   16: Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ
   greet you.


   19: For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over

[[small gloss: I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless as
to what is evil;]]

   20: [then] The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The
   grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
   21: Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and
   Sosip'ater, my kinsmen.
   22: I Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord.
   23: Ga'ius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you.
   Eras'tus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.


[The verse 24 is missing here in standard edtions of Romans]

[snip: Doxology, vv 25-27]

Best regards,


Click here to go one level up in the directory.