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“Fleshly” Versus Spirit Perspectives In Romans 8:5–8

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Chapter Summary

Scholars have often explored the dominant biblical and Jewish motifs of Pauls description of flesh and Spirit, which certainly inform how we should understand Pauls contrast between the frame of mind of the flesh and the frame of mind of the Spirit. This chapter explores briefly how an audience familiar with the sort of language represented in Greek and Roman philosophy would have heard Pauls argument here. This exploration may make available additional nuances in understanding how members of a probably mixed real Diaspora community would have heard Pauls words. Traditional Stoics divided humanity into two categories: the wise, virtuous and otherwise perfect; and the foolish and vice-ridden (the masses of humanity). Pauls particular language contrasting the spheres of human flesh with Gods Spirit is surely Jewish. Pauls emphasis in the context of Romans itself, however, probably especially addresses peace in relationships in the Christian community.

Keywords: Christian community; flesh; Greek; Paul; Roman; Stoics

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