I am pleased to announce the paper I will be presenting at the upcoming British NT conference (Aberdeen, Sept 3-5, 2009). The paper will be in the ‘Simultaneous Short Papers’ section, which is sort of a grab-bag group which anyone can attend. I did this two years ago and it was well attended and a lot of fun.
Here is the abstract:
What ‘mercies of God’? oiktirmos in the LXX as the context and background for Paul’s programmatic use in Romans 12.1
In what is considered to be a climactic point in Romans, 12.1-2, Paul makes a firm appeal to the Roman in view of ‘the mercies of God’. It is the conclusion of many scholars that either Paul is using oiktirmos to refer to the argument of Romans 9-11 or, perhaps, to summarize chapters 1-11 as a whole. Though the term is undoubtedly acting to refer back to Paul’s argument in the preceding material, there is a pattern of the usage of oiktirmos (and its cognates) in the LXX that has not been introduced into the scholarly discussion. We will examine the patterned uses of an oiktirmos motif in the LXX with a view towards how and why it appears as well as what other concepts are frequently and naturally correlated. Then we will demonstrate how suitable this particular term was for summarizing the message of Romans (and Paul’s gospel) as the foundation for the command par excellence that follows in the rest of 12.1-2. In particular we will observe how oiktirmos appears in the discussion of God’s covenant faithfulness with a view towards eschatology, revelation, guidance, and deliverance.
It was interesting to me that commentators generally ignored the LXX and Jewish background of this very important word group (oiktir*). The conclusions I will reach are probably not too shocking, but there are a couple of interesting patterns and developments that are more significant. The paper I presented two years ago eventually was published in Neotestamentica. I hope to do the same with this one, but the journal is yet to be decided.