Some Aspects of Formation of Image of Man in St. Paul’s Letters Cover Image

Inimesepildi kujunemise aspekte Paulusel
Some Aspects of Formation of Image of Man in St. Paul’s Letters

Author(s): Randar Tasmuth
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion
Published by: Akadeemiline Teoloogia Selts
Keywords: Biblical Studies; New Testament; St. Paul

Summary/Abstract: Anthropological vocabulary used in Antiquity and also by St. Paul consists of general terms like anthrōpos, anēr, gynē, arsēn, and thēlys. More specific words like sōma, sarx, psychē, pneuma, nous, kardia describe different aspects of hu(man)s and hu(man)kind. The questions of terminology and comparisons of words and their meanings in different languages make the task more exciting. The present study is limited to exploring the meanings of two previously unstudied words: arsēn and thēlys. Nearly all instances of these words occur in Romans 1:26–27. Paul’s point of departure is based on his Jewish background, the awareness of belonging to the chosen people, necessity of observing the Law, and full acceptance of the basic narratives of the Scripture. In his view of humans as created beings, creation narratives of Genesis were of basic importance and stand in the background of Romans 1, too. In Romans 1:26–27 Paul used the words a1rshn three times and qh=luj two times. These words, being used in LXX and corresponding well to the Hebrew words rkz and hbqn, are best to be translated as male and female and describe one aspect or part of (the image or idea of) humans. These words accentuate physical and biological differences between men and women. Designations thēleiai and arsenes (plural) even accentuate sex(uality), an aspect which is common to humans and animals. At the same time, in Romans, both words express natural human condition which according to Paul is in harmony with physis and reflect order of creation. Sexual relations between man and woman are in harmony with this order, but this order is not extended to the same-sex relations. Linguistically females (theleiai) are perforata, whereas males are not, and the same-sex relations are according to the naturalistic law shameful. Paul calls these relations para physin. Surprisingly enough, in Galatians 3:28 Paul used these two quite naturalistic words to characterize baptized people. Baptized males and females have clothed themselves with Christ. Differences based on two sexes in the natural sense of word do not play any essential role any more.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 2 (61)
  • Page Range: 3-17
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: Estonian