Conceptual unity of the prologue and final doxology in Romans: an Alexandrine approach
Zuiddam, Benno A.
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The prologue of Paul's Epistle to the Romans (1:1-7) and the doxology in the final chapter (16:25-27) share core theological concepts about humankind's relationship with God. In what is only the limited space of three verses, the final doxology repeats all major concepts that were introduced in the prologue: God, gospel, Jesus Christ, an ancient divine plan coming true, God revealing himself and his will through holy scriptures, and an invited response of obedience of faith. This article concludes that there is basic conceptual unity of the prologue and final doxology, but also difference, particularly as the prologue explicitly introduces God as Father, a concept implied but not expressed in the doxology. Also the doxology stresses the mystery of the gospel for the gentiles in ages past, while the prologue suggests that within the Jewish context a lot was made known to and by the prophets already. On the basis of this conceptual unity of the prologue and the final doxology, this article follows Clement and Origen of Alexandria in their appreciation to the final chapters of Romans as part of the epistle. It uses a philological, source orientated method to explore the agreement and divergence between both passages and suggests that the author uses repetition of the main contents of the prologue in his final doxology to reinforce his overall message.
- Faculty of Theology