Shame in Romans

In the last post we heard from Robert Jewitt who is a scholar who has focussed much of his studies on the Epistle to the Romans. Another New Testament scholar, Halvor Moxnes, has argued that the entire argument of this, Paul’s most influential letter, is in the ancient context of an ‘honour society’ in which ‘recognition and approval from others’ is central, which means that the group is more important than the individual. Moxnes says that this “contrasts with the dominant concern of Western theology and its interpretation of Romans, in which guilt and guilt-feeling predominate as a response to wrongdoing. He notes that the semantic equivalents of honour and shame play important roles in the argument of Romans; these include: honour, dishonour, and the verb to dishonour; shameless, be ashamed, and put to shame; glory and to glorify; praise and to praise; boast, boasting and to boast.”[1]

[1] Robert Jewett; “Saint Paul Returns to the Movies: Triumph Over Shame;” Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1999; p18, quoting Halvor Moxnes, ”Honour and Righteousness in Romans;” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 32 (1988); p61-77.

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