Vice Lists In Non-Pauline Sources -- By: René A. López

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 168:670 (Apr 2011)
Article: Vice Lists In Non-Pauline Sources
Author: René A. López


Vice Lists In Non-Pauline Sources

René A. López

René A. López is Adjunct Professor of Greek and New Testament and Spanish Biblical Studies, Criswell College, Dallas, Texas.

* This is the second article in a six-part series, “The Pauline Vice Lists and Inheriting the Kingdom.”

Vice Lists In The Old Testament

Surprisingly the technical use of vice lists does not appear in the Old Testament. Easton admits, “Lists of the kind [found in the New Testament] are all but absent from the OT and are very scantily represented in the Talmud, while the (acrostic) catalogs of sins recited in the synagogue confessions can scarcely be traced back of the fifth Christian century.”1 Aune notes, “That ethical lists are extremely rare in the OT (two examples are the short vice lists in Jer 7:9 and Hos 4:2) and relatively common in Greek ethical discourse from the 5th cent. BCE on, strongly suggests that such lists originated in Hellenism and were widely adapted throughout the syncretistic cultures of the eastern Mediterranean including early Judaism and early Christianity.”2

Although technical vice/virtue lists do not appear in the Old Testament as in the New Testament, several verses seem parallel (Exod. 20; 33:14-26; Lev. 17-19; Deut. 27:15-26; 30:15, 19; Ps. 15; Prov. 6:17-19; Ezek. 18:5-17; Hos. 4:1-2). The Torah identified

numerous sins.3 Particular sins to avoid were part of a holiness code for the Israelite community to remain pure.4

Evidence also demonstrates Wibbing’s observation that not until the Prophets and in Proverbs did such a vice/virtue list develop “into a solid literary form.”5 Ezekiel 18:5-17 exhorts Israelites to behave ethically by avoiding vices in order to remain in the ...

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