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3 More Romans Monographs to Check Out

January 24, 2013
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Abraham by Wordle 2

To add to the three books I mentioned in yesterday’s post, here are three more books about Romans I’ve enjoyed using the last couple months, with sample quotes.

Benjamin Schließer, Abraham’s Faith in Romans 4: Paul’s Concept of Faith in Light of the History of Reception of Genesis 15:6. (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007.)

The foregoing overview of the interpretation of Gen 15:6 in Jewish theology has yielded a wide array of results and by no means a straightforward line of development in the way how the authors conceived of Abraham’s faith and God’s judgment on it.

Krister Stendahl, Final Account: Paul’s Letter to the Romans. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995.) (I reviewed Stendhal here.)

Consequently, Romans is central to our understanding of Paul, not because of its doctrine of justification, but because the doctrine of justification is here in its original and authentic setting: as an argument for the status of Paul’s Gentile converts on the model of Abraham (Romans 4).

Gerhard H. Visscher, Romans 4 and the New Perspective on Paul: Faith Embraces the Promise. (New York: Peter Lang, 2009.) Here is Visscher’s outline of Romans 4:

Rom. 4:3-8: Paul’s First Argument from Genesis 15:6
Rom. 4:9-12: Second Argument from Genesis 15:6: Faith, Circumcision, and Gentiles
Rom. 4:13-22: Third Argument from Genesis 15:6
Rom. 4:23-25: Fourth Argument from Genesis 15:6: “For us also…”

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2013 4:33 pm

    Abram (a most fitting name!),

    I’d love to see a post or two from you interacting with the text of Romans 4 and the issues around justification and imputation. What has all this reading led you to conclude?

    Thanks,

    Bob

  2. January 25, 2013 9:52 pm

    Hi, Bob! Thanks for the comment. The paper I’ve just finished focused on the second half of Romans 4. I wonder if by “imputation” you’re referring to the Psalm verses in the first half?

    I’m still trying to figure out how to digest parts of the paper (if I decide to do that) into blog posts… thanks for the encouragement. I’ll keep thinking on that.

    In the meantime, I will say that what most stands out to me in reading Romans and chapter 4 in particular is that, no matter what else is going on regarding justification, it is at least equally noteworthy the context Paul sets it in. Namely, that justification by faith can be had by Jew and Gentile alike. I read somewhere (I think) that Paul wasn’t necessarily answering a question of, “How can an individual be saved?” so much as he was tackling larger questions of Jewish salvation and Gentile inclusion–which of course still address justification. But it’s justification in a decidedly pan-ethnic context.

  3. January 26, 2013 7:42 am

    Actually, never mind about the Psalms comment–I realize there’s imputation language throughout (even if Paul didn’t use that word per se).

  4. January 31, 2013 12:46 pm

    Yeah, I’m thinking of the logizomai word group (which translates HSV in the OT quotations) and what that implies. I agree mostly with what you are saying but would probably approach it from reverse – that the contemporary (to Paul and the Romans) question of how Jews and Gentiles are saved or incorporated into the people of God raises the question of how anyone at all is to be saved and justified.

    Perhaps we’re just saying the same things.

    • January 31, 2013 1:01 pm

      Yeah, I don’t think those two reads are mutually exclusive. I agree that too often the starting point question for interpreters is, “How does individual salvation take place?” but for Paul that question comes only after (as you’ve suggested) and as a sub-set (as I’ve proposed) of the larger Jewish-Gentile unity question.

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