Respondent: Dr. Todd Klutz (Manchester)
No paper will be circulated for this session, as it will be presented in full during the meeting.
Seeing the Invisible God: Troubling Natural Theology (Deuteronomy 4 and Romans 1:18-32)
Though Paul never identifies the culprits, Romans 1:18-32 is increasingly read as describing gentiles, primarily if not exclusively. A major support is the natural theology reading of vv. 19-20. This paper proposes that Paul writes of the knowledge of God arising from his mighty deeds in history rather than the contemplation of creation, and that Deuteronomy 4 provides a primary tributary to Paul’s language, conceptual framework, and argument. When combined with additional intertextual features, this reading suggests an unexpected identity of the culprits.
Debating Diagonal Δικαιοσύνη: The Epistle of Enoch and Paul in Theological Conversation
If, as is commonly recognised, Jewish apocalyptic provides an essential background for Pauline theology, then a dialogue between Paul and his ideological predecessors promises to yield some interpretive fruit. Placing Paul in conversation with the Epistle of Enoch, this paper argues that despite substantial overlap, the two authors provide antithetical readings of (soteriological) reality. For the Epistle, the observable link between the wicked and the covenantal blessings, implying as it does the inversion of the Deuteronomic formula, is the fundamental problem. Responding to this crisis, the author announces a coming judgment in which the diagonal line between sin and blessing will be erased and the straight lines between, on the one hand, righteousness and blessing and, on the other, wickedness and curse will be redrawn (compare 1 Enoch 103.9-15 with 104.1-6). Put another way, the judgment functions as an act of judicial recalibration which overturns the apparent justification of the ungodly that constitutes the problem of the present. Paul, by contrast, delights in the diagonal. Having eliminated the category of ‘the righteous’ (Rom 1.18-3.20), Paul, in diametric opposition to the Epistle, overcomes the straight line of justice (χωρὶς νόμου, Rom 3.21), which links the wicked and curses, with the diagonal tangent of grace, linking as it does the ungodly with justification (Rom 4.5). In both cases, the line that connects saving judgment with its object is conceived as mercy; but the contrasting objects of that mercy imply incompatible definitions of the common term. While for Paul, mercy is the link between sinners and soteriological blessing, the Enochic author locates mercy in the deconstruction of this unjust diagonal.