HTS Theological Studies
Print version ISSN 0259-9422
ROBERTS, Ronald D.. Deviance or acceptable difference: observance of the law in Romans 14-15 and Dialogue with Trypho 47. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2012, vol.68, n.1, pp. 1-10. ISSN 0259-9422.
Utilising the symbolic interactionist study of deviance, this article compares the treatment of Law-observant Christ-followers in Romans 14-15 and Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho 47, in order to understand better the declining status of Law-observant Christ-followers in the early Christ-movement. The 'strong' in Romans 14:1-15:13 are likely Christ-followers who do not observe the Law, whilst the 'weak' are likely Christ-followers who do. Although Paul accepts Law-observant Christ-followers, his preference for non-observance decreases the status of those who observe the Law, thereby undermining Paul's vision of a unified, ethnically mixed Church. In Dialogue 47, Justin intensifies the marginalisation of Law-observant Christ-followers by placing them at the very limits of orthodoxy. Dialogue 47 suggests that the campaign for the legitimacy of Law-observant Christ-following was already failing by the middle of the 2nd century, largely because of Paul's own preference for non-observant Christ-following.