FransJVermeiren wrote: ↑
Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:35 pm
Paul's letter to the Romans 1:22-23 goes as follows: (22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
I have a small question: have the mortal man, birds, animals and reptiles above ever been explained as referring to the Roman imperial army?
Maybe the four categories refer to different Roman legion standards. The mortal man could be the Roman emperor, whose image was present on military standards, as well as the eagle (Latin aquila
), some quadrupeds (wolf, boar, horse) or a reptile (Latin draco
Any reference to relevant literature is welcome.
I have just checked five commentaries on Romans (by Ernst Käsemann, Leon Morris, Charles H. Talbert, Frank J. Matera, and Douglas J. Moo), and none of them goes in that direction. Nor do the commentaries on BibleHub
The usual suspect is Egyptian religion, as suggested by the range of scriptural and parascriptural parallels on offer:
Romans 1.22-23: 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory [ἤλλαξαν τὴν δόξαν] of the imperishable [ἀφθάρτου] God for an image in the form of perishable [φθαρτοῦ] man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. / 22 φάσκοντες εἶναι σοφοὶ ἐμωράνθησαν 23 καὶ ἤλλαξαν τὴν δόξαν τοῦ ἀφθάρτου θεοῦ ἐν ὁμοιώματι εἰκόνος φθαρτοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ πετεινῶν καὶ τετραπόδων καὶ ἑρπετῶν.
Deuteronomy 4.15-16: 15 So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day Yahweh spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, 16 so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth.
Psalm 106.19-20 (105.19-20 OG): 19 They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a molten image. 20 Thus they exchanged their glory [ἠλλάξαντο τὴν δόξαν αὐτῶν] for the image of an ox that eats grass.
Jeremiah 2.11: 11 Has a nation changed gods when they were not gods? But My people exchanged their glory [ἠλλάξατο τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ] for that which does not profit.
Wisdom of Solomon 11.15-16: 15 In return for their foolish and wicked thoughts, which led them astray to worship irrational serpents and worthless animals, thou didst send upon them a multitude of irrational creatures to punish them, 16 that they might learn that one is punished by the very things by which he sins.
Wisdom of Solomon 12.24: 24 For they went far astray on the paths of error, accepting as gods those animals which even their enemies despised; they were deceived like foolish babes.
Philo, On the Life of Moses 2.32 §171: 171 And, when Moses saw them rushing forward as if starting from the goal in a race, he said, "Surely it is not with your bodies alone that you are hastening to come unto me, but you shall soon bear witness with your minds to your eagerness; let every one of you take a sword, and slay those men who have done things worthy of ten thousand deaths, who have forsaken the true God, and made for themselves false gods, of perishable [φθαρταῖς] and created substances, calling them by the name which belongs only to the uncreated and imperishable [ἀφθάρτου] God; let every one, I say, slay those men, whether it be his own kinsmen or his friends, looking upon nothing to be either friendship or kindred but the holy fellowship of good men."
Deuteronomy 4.15-16; Psalm 106.19-20 (105.19-20 OG); Wisdom of Solomon 11.15-16; 12.24; and Philo are all dealing with the exodus from Egypt. Psalm 106.19-20 (105.19-20 OG) and Jeremiah 2.11 provide that line about exchanging glory.