or lack of food and drink, his distinction fosters the view that P had
two separate meanings. P never stood for the 'purely physical life' apart
from this theme nor did P refer to the 'true life' without a qualifying
context. Therefore, when P was employed by the NT writers, what Schweizer
referred to as the 'true life' was but that 'purely physical life' which
received deliverance only through its sacrifice.
Schweizer also exaggerated the difference between
Paul and other NT writers with respect to the way they used P. He was
correct when he commented that in the few cases that Paul did use P, he
never used it to denote a life which survives death. When Paul incorporated
the NT notion of sacrificing P, he employed P in a manner that remained
close to the OT use for N. Unlike the other NT writers, he did not use
expressions such as 'saving P'. This difference permitted Schweizer to
conclude that the other authors used P to stand for life after death.
On the gaining of P through enduring persecution in Luke 21:19, he wrote,
"P is plainly understood as eternal life." (p. 647) On the passions
of the flesh warring against P in I Peter 2:11, he stated that P "takes
the place that is occupied by pneuma in Paul" (p. 653) and
noted the opposition of the desires of the flesh and desires of the spirit
in Gal. 5:17. Though Peter and Paul were probably referring to the same
struggle as now experienced in the Christian life; that does not mean
that Peter used P to denote the same thing which Paul termed pneuma.
For both authors the words had distinct imagery. None of those who wrote
the NT used P to stand for life after death per se.
Schweizer also posed numerous questions which
suggest he was mistaken on how P was used to bear on the 'religious life'
and the 'natural life' as they are termed in the English translation of
his article. For instance, he wrote, "Is the praise of God an emotional
movement on the same level as pleasure in eating and drinking?" (p.
642) He was inclined to ask this question only because he was not familiar
with the link attributed to P between praising God and pleasure in eating.
Like N, P praised God when He provided nourishing food and took intense
pleasure in eating such nourishment because it was a sign that God had
indeed stistained. The praising P did and the accompanying pleasure experienced
were two aspects of one event. As far as the Hebrew tradition was concerned,
the constellation of meaning for P was not divided into a 'religious life'
and a 'natural life'.
With another question he wondered if physical
life was separated from this 'religious life. "Here, however, is
the problem, for if the physical life is seen as God's gift, can it still
be separated from the life with God that takes shape in, e.g., prayer,
praise, and obedience, and which fashions a union with God that does not
come to an end with physical life?" (p. 640) Schweizer posed this
as a problem and not just as a rhetorical question. Any praise, prayer,
or obedience that P did, that is, that man did in light of being P, was
from the context of the theme that has its heritage in N. The praise,
prayer, or obedience that P offered to God arose from those experiences
involving danger and deliverance that its perishable existence, i.e.,
its 'physical life' presented.
"But each time the question arises whether
the P is equally the locus of faith as it is of confusion or stimulation,
of joy or sorrow. In other words, is faith to be viewed simply as a psychological
matter like joy, sorrow, or perplexity?" (p. 640) Here, too, Schweizer
made an unnecessary contrast. P was not so much the locus of faith; rather,
a P whose heart was obedient was kept safe (saved) through faith. (see
Heb. 10:39) "As the outcome of your faith, you obtain the salvation
of your P." (I Peter 1:9) Emotional states such as joy, sorrow, or
perplexity in conjunction with P occurred in the context of the theme
that typified N.
Perhaps Schweizer tried to answer his own questions
about the true life and religious life and their relation to natural life
when he wrote, "...the religious life does not differ from natural
life, but it is this life as it is experienced by the man who is freed
from trying to preserve it. It is thus a released and liberated and open
life which God and neighbor can penetrate and yet not disrupt it but instead
fulfill it." (p. 642) He here gave a worthy answer that may meet
the need of a 20th Century person caught with a schism between his 'religious
life' and his ‘natural life'. However, the point of the present study
is that the Hebrew would not have posed these questions in the first place.
Even for the disobedient, the 'religious life' was not something different
from 'natural life'. Nor was there a possible difference in stress between
the whole man and his life before God. (see p. 650) P was never framed
in such a dilemma; it was never linked to one and thereby dissociated
from the other. Even I Peter 2:11 was meant to contrast this physical
living from two vantage points--that of P and that of sarx (flesh).
Unfortunately, Schweizer, like many scholars, organized
his discussion in terms of contemporary Western categories of thought.
Subheadings such as physical life, whole man, place of feeling, true life
in contrast to physical life, life as supreme good, and resurrection life
suggest a more analytical method of approach than would have typified
the synthetic mentality of the Hebrew tradition. During NT times the Jew
may have been more able to abstract from concrete experience and conceive
of himself as an individual 'apart from' the group than his ancestors;
yet, he still demonstrated that 'grasping of a totality' when it came
to his view of P. The theme of danger and deliverance, though developed
into the NT message, still overarched the different ways the NT writers
used P. The word was addressed to the subheadings Schweizer presented,
but his categories do not demonstrate the unity and fluid diversity that
was intrinsic to P in Israel just under 2000 years ago. Schweizer's list
suggests a distinction between the mundane and the spiritual which was
not characteristic of Hebrew nor earliest Christian thought. The Hebrew
did make distinctions, but not along these lines. He instead held the
view that the flesh was I mundane' and N was 'sacred' in that it was the
product of flesh having been inspired with ruah--that which is
now termed 'spiritual'.
Nonetheless, Schweizer did say that P referred
to the whole man and, furthermore, understood that P presented something
about man's living situation before God. He commented that "rest
for your P" in Mat. 11:29 was an expression taken from the OT and
added that P probably meant the self that lived before God and would one day give account rather than some being
that rested when liberated from the body. (see p. 639-40) While discussing
the phrase "anchor for the P" in Heb. 6:19, Schweizer wrote,
"P is assailed and threatened and needs an anchor." (p. 651)
He noticed that P, like N, was also subject to harm; it could be sought
and killed. Furthermore, the phrase "well with your P" in III
John 2 referred to not merely the whole self or life or man, but to the
life which was ultimately important. (see p. 651-52) Perhaps best of all,
he stated that James used P to refer to the earthly life of man before
God which would find its consummation in resurrection. (see p. 652)