Thursday, January 28, 2010

Moo Commentary on Romans (pp. 63-64)

We want to read the Moo commentary critically (non-hagiographically) and fairly.

1:16-7. What is a precise relationship between righteousness and faith/belief in these two verses? Moo, introductively, says there is a "connection between righteousness and faith" (p. 64). What is it? He says that righteousness is "based on faith" (p. 64). But is that the whole story of what the phrase "from faith to faith" means here?

It says that in the gospel, righteousness of God is revealed, from faith to faith. The Greek prepositions connote "from" and "to" in the motion sense. We might hear the Greek prepositions connoting "coming out from faith; headed toward, landing on faith" ( ἐ κ   ...   ε ἰ ς).

Let's explore the connotations of such a phrase. This is more specific than "based on."

If I used Twitter to send a message to a friend, and I said, "I'm coming out from Dallas, and headed toward and landing in Dallas" -- someone might smile. Not going very far, are we? Exactly!

"Based on" is one of the most general relationship indicators, in English. A knowledge of calculus is "based on" knowledge of arithmetic, but we can't get our calculus from everyone whose knowledge is based on arithmetic. The problem then with "based on" is two problems. It's too vague for some purposes in English, and it's not the same thing as the twin locators ek ... eis.

Just past our 18 pp. / week schedule target for today, on p. 76, Moo summarizes helpfully what the conclusion is that he reaches, regarding "from faith to faith." He says "the combination is rhetorical and is intended to emphasize that faith and 'nothing but faith' can put us into right relationship with God."

... "Can"? God, through faith, does put us there, Rm 5:1. Moreover, the nuances of righteousness ek faith (out of it), and eis faith (directed to it, landing on it), are rich. We'll see soon (p. 76) that Moo's list hits only some of them.

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