Original Research

Negotiating creation in imperial times (Rm 8:18−30)

Jeremy Punt
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 1 | a1276 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i1.1276 | © 2013 Jeremy Punt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 June 2012 | Published: 26 February 2013


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Abstract

Appreciation for the literary qualities and structural function of Romans 8:18−30 abounds. Recently, some attention has also been given to ostensible anti-imperial sentiments in the letter that Paul directed to a Jesus-follower community in the heart of the Roman Empire. Tensions and ambiguities inherent in this passage become more pointed when it is read with attention to the interplay between creation, conflict and empire. The focus of this contribution is on how creation is portrayed and negotiated in Romans 8:18−30, given its underlying Jewish setting which ought to be filled out by the imperial-infused environment. Acknowledging an anti-imperial thrust in Romans 8:18−30 but reading from a postcolonial perspective offers the advantage of accounting specifically for ambivalence typical of conflict situations characterised by unequal power relations, all of which are appropriate and vital for the interpretation of this passage.

Keywords

Epistle to the Romans; Roman Empire; creation; power; postcolonial interpretation

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1. The accusation of 'world disturbers' (Acts 17:6) in socio-political context
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