Does Paul Have a Consistent Anthropology? Appropriation and Synthesis of Philosophical Traditions in Romans 7 and 2 Corinthians 4–5

This paper argues that Romans 7 and 2 Cor 4–5 appropriate certain Platonic premises and assumptions about the body-soul relation and that Paul’s anthropology emerges as more coherent in light of these premises and assumptions. Like the Wisdom of Solomon and the writings of Philo of Alexandria, Paul’s use of Greek traditions can be better understood as part of a productive synthesis of different traditions and discourses, particularly Stoic and Platonic ones. In contrast to the view of Paul’s anthropology as inconsistent and haphazard as well as the common view that Greek traditions are merely instrumental to expressing Paul’s essentially Jewish apocalyptic thinking, I find that a basically Platonic view of the person makes sense of these texts. Platonic premises also illuminate the supposed already/not yet tension in Paul’s thought and contextualize Pauline anthropology as of a piece with ancient thought about human nature.