Scholars universally recognize that Rom 1:3–4, perhaps our earliest christological confession, features parallelism. In describing this feature, many scholars have appealed to Robert Lowth’s category of “antithetical parallelism.” I question such an approach for two reasons: (1) it often results in setting Davidic descent and divine sonship in antithesis to one another, an unlikely reading based on David traditions in Second Temple Judaism; (2) it fails to take account of the widespread disuse of antithetical parallelism in the contemporary study of biblical parallelism. These shortcomings, which falter on historical and literary grounds, call for a twofold response. First, I survey the evidence from Second Temple Judaism on Davidic descent, concluding that, far from being in antithesis to divine sonship, it was in fact a sine qua non for installation as the son of God. Second, I counter the antithetical reading of Davidic descent on formal grounds by offering a fresh reading of Rom 1:3–4 through the lens of Adele Berlin’s critical account of parallelism. The study concludes by providing nuanced alternatives to antithetical parallelism for our understanding of the relationship of the elements in Rom 1:3–4.

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