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"First Adam" And "Second Adam" In 1 Cor 15:45–49 In The Light Of Midrashic Exegesis And Hebrew Usage

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Chapter Summary

There are three passages in Paul which deal with the characters of Adam and Christ and the theological relationship between the two. One of the passages, Rom 5:12-21, was analyzed in detail elsewhere in order to demonstrate its Jewish source. Another study dealt with 1 Cor 15:21-22 and its Jewish setting. The remaining passage, 1 Cor 15:45-49, also contrasts Adam with Christ in the context of the resurrection, but with considerably different nuances. Paul's passage employs exegetical techniques, approaches of Scripture, and theological themes comparable to those found in rabbinic texts. The background of the Pauline appellations "last Adam" and "second man" for Christ (which is hitherto unattested in Jewish literature) might well stem from a Hebrew usage known from Mishnaic Hebrew. The central theme of 1 Cor 15:45-49 is the contrast between the bodies of human beings in this world, and the "spiritual" bodies of the resurrected.

Keywords: Adam; Christ; exegetical techniques; Hebrew usage; Paul; rabbinic texts

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