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6 Announcing the Human: Israel Against and as the Ungodly in Wisdom 13–15 and Romans 1.18–2.11

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Chapter Summary

This chapter compares the relationship between the polemics against idolatry and immorality in Wisdom 13-15 and Romans 1.18-2.11. The story of sin starts in Eden. If the beginning of a story was the whole story, then Romans and the Wisdom of Solomon would have a similar tale to tell; and have assumed that they do. Since Eduard Grafe alerted the world of Pauline scholarship to the unusually close connection between Romans 1.18-32 and Wisdom 13-14, readers of Romans have typically read Romans 1.18-32 as a condensed but consistent restatement of Wisdom's anti-idolatry polemic. The chapter discusses author's thesis: Paul's polemic in Romans 1.18-32, rather than standing as a compressed but consistent restatement of Wisdom 13-14, serves the opposite rhetorical and theological function of Wisdom 13-15. Wisdom's claim that the animal plagues function as the appropriate divine recompense for Egyptian animal worship invites an extended reflection on the origin of idolatry.

Keywords: idolatry; immorality; Paul's polemic; Romans; Wisdom of Solomon



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