More “Rhetoric at the Boundaries”: Additional Evidence for a “Chain-Link” Transition at Rom 7:25

In a 2005 monograph entitled, Rhetoric at the Boundaries: The Art and Theology of New Testament Chain-Link Transitions, Bruce W. Longenecker proposes that in Rom 7:25 Paul employs an ancient rhetorical device to transition from one section of material to another. This “chain-link” transition described by Longenecker follows an A-b-a-B pattern, in which a brief summary of the first section (a = 7:25b) follows a brief introduction to the second section (b = 7:25a). Longenecker’s proposal, if correct, has decisive ramifications for the famous debate concerning the identity of the ἐγώ in 7:14-25. However, Longenecker presents only three other passages from Romans which purportedly display such a chain-link transition (10:16-17; 12:14-16; 13:13-14), and one of these examples is not particularly convincing (13:13-14). In this paper, I supplement Longenecker’s argument by providing two additional examples of chain-link transitions in Romans (1:24-25; 3:21-23). I conclude that Paul clearly employs this rhetorical device throughout Romans, and that the use of this device is the best explanation for the ordering of his statements in 7:25.

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