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Title: Divine and human agency in Second Temple Judaism and Paul : a comparison of Sirach, Hodayot, and Romans 7–8
Author: Maston, Jason
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2009
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Recent scholarship on Second Temple Judaism and Paul has maintained that both held “salvation” to be through God’s grace not human obedience. This study challenges this claim. Based on Josephus’ portrayal of the Jewish schools, the Second Temple period appears more diverse than recent scholarship has claimed. One of the key distinguishing factors, according to Josephus, is the relationship between divine and human action. This diversity is revealed in Sirach, the Hodayot, and Paul’s claims in Romans 7.7–8.13. Ben Sira argues that the divine-human relationship revolves around human obedience to the law. He utilises the two-ways tradition to develop his view. He describes God as re-acting to human obedience in judgment. The Hodayot, by contrast, emphasise God’s initiative and his saving actions. Humans are immeasurably corrupt creatures, but God, through his Spirit, predestines some, gives knowledge to them, and purifies them. These divine acts lead to human obedience. The study of Paul’s view on divine and human agency is extremely complex. Romans 7.7–8.13 is used as the way into Paul’s thought. In Romans 7.7–25, Paul portrays the speaker as the human agent of the two-ways tradition. He argues that this view fails to explain the problem of Sin. In Romans 8.1–13, he contends that obedience becomes possible because God has acted in his Son to condemn Sin. Through the Spirit, God empowers believers to fulfil the righteous requirement of the law. This study challenges the idea that all of Judaism can be explained under a single view of salvation. Recognising the diversity allows one to situate Paul firmly within a Jewish context without distorting either the Jewish texts or Paul.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available