Paul’s Masculine Theology

In this article published in lectio difficilior (1/2012), Professor Peter-Ben Smit of the University of Utrecht demonstrates that Paul’s doctrine of justification trades in Greco-Roman assumptions about gender.  Specifically, Smit argues that Paul, like other writers of his time, links weakness, sin, and impiety with a lack of virtue (i.e., as feminine) because of their correlation with the body and the passions.  According to Paul, however, the individual can overcome these vices by following Christ and attaining justification.  The righteousness that derives from justification thus becomes a sign that the believer (whether man or woman) possesses one of antiquity’s most prized virtues, “manliness” (andreia).

Making Men: Weakness, Justification, and Andreia in Romans 5:6