Posted By MSH on August 5, 2009
I’ve had a request for the two articles on the idea of “original sin” and rabbinic material. Here they are:
S. Porter, “The Pauline Concept of Original Sin in Light of the Rabbinic Background,” Tyndale Bulletin 41:1 (1990): 3-30
Kister, “Romans 5:12-21 Against the Background of Torah-Theology and Hebrew Usage,” Harvard Theological Review 100:4 (2007):391-424
Again, one will note the lack of discussion on why the OT ITSELF doesn’t make the connections the traditional view of Romans 5:12 wants to see Paul making with regard to Adam, all the while including the idea of corporate responsibility. What do I mean? Maybe a chart will help:
The other thing to note is that the connections between what Paul says and contemporary non-canonical material and rabbinic material raise the interesting possibility that Paul, in Romans 5, was deliberately referencing Jewish thinking for the purpose of addressing and countering those ideas — namely to argue that Christ was the solution for sin (i.e., the focus wasn’t on how Adam’s sin “worked”; it was on Christ as the solution). This would mean NOT that Paul held the same ideas, but that he used those ideas to draw attention to the contrast between Judaism’s righteousness and the righteousness which comes through Christ. An interesting possibility indeed.