In my recent preparation for my viva (tomorrow!), I have been doing some ‘general reading’ in Pauline theology. I had to stop and ponder when I reached this choice sentence from Lou Martyn:
[Paul] says in effect that the foundation of the cosmos has been subjected to a volcanic
explosion that has scattered the pieces into new and confusing patterns.
This is in response to his reading of Galatians. How strange it is that Paul’s says that neither circumcision NOR UNCIRCUMCISION is of any matter, but just new creation. Martyn, as is well-known, argues that antinomies (pairs of opposites) were understood (at that time) to be the building blocks of the view of the cosmos. As for Paul, ‘[h]e is denying real existence to an antinomy in order to show what it means to say that the old cosmos has suffered its
I don’t always agree with Martyn (such as on the origins of the law), but on this point he really has a way with words.