Paul's purpose in writing Romans : the upbuilding of a Jewish and Gentile Christian community in Rome
The aim of this thesis is to provide a comprehensive study of Paul's purpose in writing Romans, showing the coherence between the 'frame' and the 'body' of the letter and the relationship between the situation of Roman Christians and the main argument of the letter. In order to bring a more objective approach to the study of the letter, we develop a methodology which we call personae analysis. This approach takes Romans seriously as a letter and as Paul's argumentation in the context of the interaction between himself and his addressees. In Chapter 1, we argue for the feasibility of studying Romans as a letter addressed to the situation in Rome. In Chapters 2 to 4 (Part I), we use information mainly from Roman authors, Jewish authors and the inscriptional data from Roman Jewish catacombs to reconstruct a plausible situation of the Roman Jewish community in the first century C.E. with special reference to the social intercourse between Jews and Gentiles. In Chapters 5 to 8 (Part II), we reconstruct a plausible situation of the Roman Christians and develop a hypothesis of Paul's purpose in writing Romans. We suggest that one of Paul's main purposes in writing the letter is to persuade the Jewish and Gentile Christians in Rome to build up a Christian community net work, which he does by arguing in accordance with his understanding ot the gospel. With the assumption that Gentile Christians are not required to become Jews and Jewish Christians are not expected to relinquish their connection with non-Christian Jews, Paul expects that he can promote the upbuilding of this community net-work by means of his letter before he arrives in Rome to launch his mission to Spain. Thus this community net-work would give concrete support to his mission to Spain and spiritual support for his journey to Jerusalem. In Chapters 9 to 11 part III we test our hypothesis in a survey of Paul's main argument in the doctrinal core of the letter, Rm. 1-11.In the Conclusion, we draw out from our study some theological, missiological and hermeneutical implications for our understanding of Paul, his letters and his relationship with Judaism.