Original Research

Forensic Metaphors in Romans and their soteriological significance

A B du Toit
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 24, No 1 | a311 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v24i1.311 | © 2003 A B du Toit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 October 2003 | Published: 15 October 2003

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Previous studies on legal references in Paul concentrated almost exclusively on matters of civil law. A study  of  five  important  passages  in Romans and an overview of the rest of Romans  indicate  that  this  letter contains an unusual number of forensic metaphors and  that  Paul,  in Romans, packaged his soteriology within a forensic setting. This  suggests that he deliberately created an implicature, inviting his readers to compare the iustitia Dei with the iustitia romana. Contrary to the latter, which was  expected  to function on the basis of equity and with which Paul’s addressees were all too well acquainted, the iustitia Dei proves to be astonishingly unconventional. This judge operates with grace. Ironical as it may seem, exactly by using  forensic  imagery, Paul completely delegalized the Christian message.


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