This chapter sets up the major problem of the book: how might we best clarify and understand group-level agency, and the invocation of the language of personhood? Two contemporary analogies, “the Network” and “the Market,” help to illuminate the key question of how to understand the vivid personal language Paul employs. Are we to conceive of Sin as a “real,” “personal,” power that menaces the human agent; as a social reality, a complex system of human sins; or simply as a literary device that describes to us a feature of individual human agency? Traditional exegesis does not suffice to answer such questions; rather, interdisciplinary approaches must be employed.
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