Reading Romans through the Centuries
From the Early Church to Karl Barth
"This volume will find appreciative readers from a variety of disciplines (e.g., biblical studies, history, theology) who seek to understand better the role Romans has played in shaping Christian thought."--Michael Barram, Reviews in Religion and Theology
In the sixteen searing chapters of his Letter to the Romans, Paul gets to the heart of the Law and the gospel, of how human beings can be saved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and attain eternal life. In the process, he touches upon perennially important topics such as predestination, the role of the Jewish people in salvation history, and the responsibility of Christians to those in authority.
Not surprisingly, Romans has been used as cannon fodder in many of the theological disputes that have divided Christendom. Martin Luther, whose views lit the firestorm of the Reformation, claimed Romans had shown him that God declared sinners righteous and good works played no part in salvation. Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin both saw in Romans God's predestination of the elect, although they differed over whether humans were given the freedom to reject the offer of salvation.
Reading Romans through the Centuries brings noted historians and theologians together to discuss how Luther, Aquinas, Calvin, and nine other leading lights of church history understood Romans. Many see Romans as the first truly theological work in the history of the church, and this book shows why it has had such a profound effect on the history of the church.
"This helpful book attempts to trace how Paul's most famous writing has been understood by several of its more influential readers. . . . Each of the chapters provides well-written summaries of seminal issues, though the contributions vary significantly in style and specificity. . . . The obvious strength of such variety is that the contributors are free to discuss what they find to be the most salient issues at hand. . . . This volume will find appreciative readers from a variety of disciplines (e.g. biblical studies, history, theology) who seek to understand better the role Romans has played in shaping Christian thought."--Michael Barram, Reviews in Religion and Theology
"This collection of essays makes a welcome contribution to the growing interest in the Bible's history of interpretation. . . . This reviewer feels that study of the Bible's history of interpretation needs to adopt a more synthetic perspective lest it become an exercise merely in collecting various curiosities of interpretation. This book provides the raw material for just such a discussion."--Angus Paddison, Journal for the Study of the New Testament
"The history of biblical interpretation has become a strong focus of scholarship today, and this lucid volume makes a fine contribution to this body of writings."--Donald Senior, CP, Bible Today
"One of the more valuable features of this collection is that nearly half of the authors had to go hunting beyond commentaries and into sermons, devotional literature, theological treatises, and essays in order to discuss the views of the theologians presented. . . . If the question is raised about impact on the whole theological enterprise, most of the interpreters chosen for discussion in this volume have been at the forefront."--Arland J. Hultgren, Lutheran Quarterly
"The volume successfully lays out how Romans has been read through the centuries and urges contemporary readers of Paul's letter to consider past attempts to understand Romans instead of simply assuming that recent commentators have a monopoly on exegetical truth."--Michael F. Bird, Themelios
"The volume is rich and substantial. . . . One is left sated by this volume's weight of content."--Mark Elliott, Review of Biblical Literature
"These studies introduce fresh insights into the central place of Romans in Christian thought through the centuries. They reveal key issues in theology, soteriology, and Christology with which scholars have wrestled for the past 2000 years. Consequently, they provide tools for evaluating both the utility and limitations of present critical methods."--Allison A. Trites, Toronto Journal of Theology