New Testament Studies


Announcing the Human: Rethinking the Relationship Between Wisdom of Solomon 13–15 and Romans 1.18–2.11

Jonathan A. Linebaugha1

a1 Durham University, Department of Theology and Religion, Abbey House, Durham DH1 3RS, England. email:


Although the relationship between Rom 1.18–2.5 and Wisdom of Solomon 13–15 is variously interpreted, those who detect a level of textual engagement tend to agree that while Rom 2.1–5 critiques Wis 15.1–4, Rom 1.18–32 stands as a compressed yet theologically consistent restatement of Wis 13.1–14.31, 15.7–19. This paper challenges this virtual consensus by rereading Rom 1.18–32 in light of the rhetorical turn at Rom 2.1. The kerygmatic location of Paul's polemic, together with a series of alterations to the Hellenistic Jewish polemical tradition, suggest an interpretation of Rom 1.18–32 that runs directly counter to Wisdom of Solomon's rhetorical and theological purposes in chs. 13–15. Whereas Wisdom of Solomon's polemic functions to reinforce the anthropological distinction between Jew and Gentile on the basis of true and false worship, Paul reworks the aniconic tradition to establish the essential unity of humanity.


  • Romans 1–2;
  • Wisdom of Solomon 13–15;
  • anthropology;
  • idolatry