Open Access

The Plight of Humanity in Paul

   | Sep 20, 2012


In Paul and Palestinian Judaism, E. P. Sanders argues that, for Paul, humanity’s plight was not the condition that necessitated the solution of Jesus Christ. Instead, the solution was presented to Paul first on the Damascus road, and humanity’s plight was simply the logical corollary to the solution. This study will critically examine the particulars of Sanders’s argument— particularly with regard to Romans 7, Philippians 3, and Galatians 3—and offer some alternative exegetical analyses. This essay will argue that, while the development of Paul’s thinking may indeed have run from solution to plight, the exposition of Paul’s thinking goes from plight to solution. The movement of Paul’s exposition may suggest that his conception of the plight of humanity was born out of his ideational milieu, which must have been fed, at least, by the Old Testament and evidenced, at least, by literature such as 4 Ezra.

Publication timeframe:
3 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Theology and Religion, General Topics and Biblical Reception