Engaging Josh Jipp and his Christ is King, Chapter 4, Josh’s Response

Engaging Josh Jipp and his Christ is King, Chapter 4, Josh’s Response January 8, 2016

5130ey-BqRL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Thanks again for your review and interaction with the fourth chapter (see posts Part 1 and Part 2) of Christ Is King: Paul’s Royal Ideology. I think this was probably also my favorite chapter to write, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m going to simply respond point-by-point to the six questions of your second post.

Psalms of Solomon 17

I have no qualms with you here! I like how you say it: “Notice the relationship between the king’s righteousness on account of his being “taught by God” and the people’s. The righteousness of the people is consequent: as goes the king so go the people.” I’ve always found it funny when people say that so-and-so has anticipated their own argument, but I’m just going to say it: Joel Willitts has anticipated my own argument in chapter 5. There were places where some of the kingship language genuinely illuminated multiple topics, and this is an instance where I kept Psalms of Solomon with the righteousness chapter instead of the participation chapter.

Seriously, I take your point that Psalms of Solomon (esp. chs. 17-18) should receive more play in my book. And I look forward to your take on what I think is probably the most controversial chapter of the book – ch. 5 where I argue for the saving consequences of the Messiah’s own righteousness “given the inextricable relationship between the Messiah and his people” (p. 216).

Why Davidic Messianism? – or to use my language “tradition and innovation”

We keep coming back to this point, which is essentially a hermeneutical issue in my view. I still insist that my argument does not entail Paul speaking outside or above the evidence, although I think I do see Paul’s messianic language as more innovative than you. I do not think there was a singular “Davidic tradition,” but rather all kinds of royal, messianic scriptural texts that were susceptible of being interpreted in a variety of ways. And Paul’s distinctive understanding of a, yes, Davidic Messiah that was crucified, resurrected, enthroned, and poured forth the Spirit, combined with Paul’s own creative theologizing, produces Paul’s innovative articulation of Jesus as the Davidic Messiah.

Let me try to say it this way. Certainly Paul’s understanding of the identity and work of Jesus is constrained by and, in many ways, conforms to the Davidic texts in the OT Scriptures – albeit in a highly creative way! But Paul only understands what those Davidic texts mean in light of his distinctive and particular understanding of the crucifixion, resurrection, and enthronement of Jesus of Nazareth. I think that strong prior commitments to a particular “Davidic tradition” or a particular metanarrative about 2nd Temple Judaism can distort one’s interpretation of Paul.

“according to the flesh” (Rom. 1:3)

First, I do not deny that this phrase refers to Jesus’ family ancestry – my quote of Schlatter (along with references Rom. 4:1; 9:3, 5, 8; 11:14) attempt to get at this. Second, the adjectival participles (τοῦ γενομένου, v. 3; τοῦ ὁρισθέντος, v. 4) which modify “his son” (v. 3) speak of two events in the life of the Son – the Son is born, and he is enthroned – hence, incarnation and enthronement. See now especially Matthew Bates’ excellent article in CBQ (“A Christology of Incarnation and Enthronement”). Perhaps I am too influenced by many of the church fathers who argued with respect to Romans 1:3-4, that what is not assumed is not redeemed. See my article “Ancient, Modern, and Future Interpretations of Romans 1:3-4,” in JTI 2009. Further, immediately after describing the Son’s birth “according to the flesh,” the same figure is found among “the corpses” in 1:4. I don’t want to pin too much on one prepositional phrase, but the Son’s participation on human/Adamic flesh is definitely necessary for his deliverance of the human subject in Romans 5 – 8 – see esp. Rom. 7:17-24 and 8:3-4.

David and Adam

I like how you’re thinking backwards here from David to Adam! Makes sense to me. It’s a good retrospective hermeneutic. I agree with you here, and I could have expanded on this to make the connection more solid. I think Walter Brueggeman and Walter Wifall have some essays on Genesis that argue precisely the point you’re making here. Also, see Scott Hahn’s Kinship by Covenant.


Interesting! I wish I’d known about the article, since the notion of sharing in the royal/judicial activities of the Messiah would have aided my argument. Thanks for pointing me to this.


This is an interesting question. I’m fairly convinced that Romans was written to a Gentile audience and am very sympathetic to the concerns of those within the Paul within Judaism approach [I have learned much from Caroline Johnson Hodge and Stanley Stowers for example!], but all that Paul says, for example, in Rom. 5:12-8:39 seems to also apply to the Jewish Christian as well precisely because he shares in the same bodily predicament as the Gentile. The Jew may not have the faults that the Gentile idolater has in Rom. 1:18-32. But according to Paul, the Jew still inhabits Adamic flesh, is under sin, is not righteous, is under the reign of sin and death, and is in need of God’s pneuma to inhabit his/her body in order to bring life (3:9-20; 5:12-21; 6:6-8; 7:4-6).

I wrote this as a forthcoming response to a set of essays that represent those sympathetic to or within the Paul within Judaism approach.

Undergirding almost everything Paul says in Romans 5 – 8 (and I have argued this also for 3:21 – 4:25) is Christ’s resurrection from the dead as the means whereby both Jew and gentile are liberated from sin and promised future liberation from death. Death and sin are gentile and Jewish problems, and hence Paul’s frequent use of tropes related to old/new humanity (Rom. 5:12-21; 6:5-7; Gal. 3:28-29; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:11-21; Col. 3:9-11). In Romans 6:6 Paul speaks of “our old humanity” as inclusive of all people precisely because Paul believes that Jew and gentile are plagued by the same problem of sin and death and therefore are both in need of sharing in Christ’s resurrection (Rom. 6:5b, 9-11).

So would Paul have argued differently? In terms of content and substance, I do not think so.

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