Saturday, September 26, 2009

Session Seven, NPTS Sympsium

Stephen Chester, Romans 7 Conversion in the Protestant Tradition

History of interpretation organized between how interpreters answer these questions of conversion and how their beliefs about what conversion influences the exegesis of Romans 7.

Story of Romans 7 interpretation-
Sketch mainlines of development-
In connection with conversion as long as people have interpreted the text so far as we have evidence of reading Romans 7. Patristic authors do see this as a model of the progress of the individual towards God through a struggle with sin.
Begin alienated from God and move or moved closer to God.

This is the background of these interpretations for the Reformation interpretations of Romans 7.

Protestantism developed at least two approaches to Romans 7. 1) Reformed side puritan tradition as concerned with struggle with sin in the Christian life. Driving concern the need to distinguish of experience of conviction of sin in conversion and struggle of sin in Christian life. In order to distinguish between that which is counterfeit and genuine.
2)the whole of Romans seven has to do with the conviction of sin in conversion.

19th century nuance sees this as autobiographical but is still about conviction of sin in conversion.

These all have an introspective quality and focus on conviction of sin.

20th century down to the present:
Variety of interpretations but which share the common rejection of what tied together early interpretations. A turn away from introspection and from an emphasis and conviction of sin as essential for conversion.

Romans 7 still speak of human sinfulness but is not a description of of an experience of conversion.

Anti-Theological interpreters of Romans 7-
The whole theological interpretation is erroneous, and thus this is just not about human sinfulness, or even about conversion.

At least three new ways of reading Romans 7 in the 20th century-