The Rhetorical Functions of Scriptural Quotations in Romans: Paul’s Argumentation by Quotations

By Katja Kujanpää.

Why are there so many scriptural quotations in Romans? What functions do they perform in Paul’s argumentation? Does Paul quote accurately according to a wording known to him or does he adapt the wording himself? How does the function of a quotation in Romans relate to the original literary context of the quoted words? In her new book, Katja Kujanpää (Th.D.), a postdoctoral researcher of the CSTT, seeks answers to these questions.

Numerous studies try to describe how Paul read Jewish scriptures. This book focuses on how he uses them. It views Romans as a letter composed to persuade its audience: quotations help Paul to articulate his views, to anchor them in scriptures, to increase the credibility of his argumentation, and to underline his authority as a scriptural interpreter. The book combines modern quotation studies, rhetorical perspectives and careful text-critical analysis of the 51 quotations in Romans.

The book shows that Paul actively tries to guide his audience to interpret the scriptural quotations as he wished them to interpreted. Rather than inviting his audience to an intertextual journey, that is, to listen to scriptures themselves and to reach their own interpretations, Paul actively tries to control the message that quotations have in his argumentation. The book highlights his various strategies in accomplishing this.

The question concerning the accuracy of Paul’s quotations is important, since deliberate modifications may reflect Paul’s intention and reveal what he wishes to communicate with the quotation. As the Introduction of the book shows, knowledge of the Septuagint studies and of the textual plurality of the first century CE are crucial for this question.

Combining rhetorical matters with close textual study results in a more comprehensive picture of quotations in Romans than has been previously seen. Thus, the book opens new perspectives on Paul’s argumentation, rhetoric and theological agenda.

More information of the book can be found here: https://brill.com/abstract/title/39089

 

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