An die Roemer, part 1 - 1:1-7

[I'm starting a little running commentary on Romans as I translate it -- comments, suggestions, corrections, discussion, &c are welcome! The Greek text is Tischendorf's 8th, version 2.5, done up by Ulrik Sandborn-Petersen (available from, and checked against NA27. I've segmented the text into reasonably logical units, and will be going at them straight through. Each segment has four parts: the text, my translation, my notes, and my commentary on the passage. The text is unstructured here, since I haven't figured out how to translate my sub-colon analysis into blog form.]

1:1-7: Introduction

Παῦλος δοῦλος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, κλητὸς ἀπόστολος ἀφωρισμένος εἰς εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ, ὃ προεπηγγείλατο διὰ τῶν προφητῶν αὐτοῦ ἐν γραφαῖς ἁγίαις περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα, τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν, δι’ οὗ ἐλάβομεν χάριν καὶ ἀποστολὴν εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ, ἐν οἷς ἐστε καὶ ὑμεῖς κλητοὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Ῥώμῃ ἀγαπητοῖς θεοῦ, κλητοῖς ἁγίοις, χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, a called messenger set apart for the proclamation of God -- which proclamation God promised in advance through his prophets in holy scripture -- concerning his son, the one born of the seed of David according to the flesh, the one declared son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness 1:[by the resurrection of the dead], Jesus Christ our lord, through whom we received grace and sending into the obedience of faith among all of the nations for the sake of his name, 2:[in which] you also are those called Jesus Christ;

To all the beloved of God who are in Rome, those called saints:

Grace to you, and peace from God our father and the lord Jesus Christ.
1: "ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν" - How do we mean ek+G here: from? after? by means of? And "the resurrection of the dead": "ἀναστάσις νεκρῶν" is the traditional referent for the resurrection of the dead, what the Synoptics suggest that the Sadducees deny. It is a seme; these words are syntagmatically connected through long usage. So, what resurrection is Paul talking about? The resurrection of Jesus? The general resurrection as an eschatological belief? Metaphorically, the salvation of Israel? I think that will tell us what we need as the translation of ek+G here. Of course, I also think all three of those options are tightly linked, so maybe we'd best not get too set on defining it here. This is the introduction of a topos within its context. And for Paul, that topos is inextricable from the gospel of Christ's death and resurrection. If we simply say "by the resurrection of the dead," which Paul believes to be an event brought about in Christ, which will be brought about eschatologically, and which in Christ is the salvific act of God, I think we've hit it square enough.

2: "ἐν οἷς" - Do we reference the last appropriate noun (in which name), or mirror the last en+D construction (among which nations)? The latter is true, but says less as an invocation of the Romans' standing. I think the former works better in context, since the name is that which they are also called (presumably as fictive kinship through the baptismal ritual). In this case the genitive is instructive because it is used of familial names, as "child of ...". Cf. Galatians 3:29, "εἰ δὲ ὑμεῖς Χριστοῦ," where the genitive is also reasonably so interpreted.
Who is Paul? A messenger of Christ, subaltern to Christ. He has been set apart, segregated out, that action God does with chosen people, and assigned. If we understand it in that same light, Paul is not separated to be separate, but moved in order to move others likewise. God routinely uses one to get all. So Paul, a Judean, has been detailed to another branch of God's people: the Gentiles. God has detailed Paul a specific duty in that service: God's proclamation, advanced first in God's prophets, who wrote it down. Paul proclaims Jesus, this Christ about whom they wrote, son of David by flesh and son of God by spirit and power, to be lord. And this is the very first thing that connects Paul and the Romans: common lordship, common service. The saints in Rome, who are also called by Christ's name, have not met Paul. Nor has Paul met them, except perhaps as those sent out from Rome have crossed his path, voluntarily or involuntarily away from their home city because of their faith. And yet because of their common service, Paul is bold to speak of things held in common. We received grace, we received a mission, and we are children of God in Christ's name, who sends grace and peace. These who have not met are already one in what truly matters.


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