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14

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)


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