Sunday, June 16, 2013

Romans Reading Recommendations

Chora Church, Istanbul (Photo by David M. Miller)
Update: See the addition below.

I get to teach an upper-level elective on the book of Romans every second year. Since my primary research focus is elsewhere, staying abreast of all the recent important scholarship on Romans is out of the question. My compromise is to try to read a few important books on Romans or Paul each time I ramp up to teach the course. (See this post for an earlier list.)

On my list this time are a couple seminal books on Paul from my bookshelf--which I acquired because they are important but never got around to reading--and a couple newish finds on Romans from the Archibald Library.

I will comment on the list below, but first let me say that I am interested in recommendations: What are some recent Romans and/or Paul 'must-reads' that I should not overlook?

Here is the list as it currently stands:

Beker, J. Christiaan. Paul the Apostle: The Triumph of God in Life and Thought. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980.
  • Parts of this book were required reading for my comprehensive exams in early Christianity. I am now working my way through the whole thing. Jerry Sumney says the book was "[e]specially influential in shifting attention to the theology of other Pauline letters" aside from Romans. 
Watson, Francis. Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith. London: T&T Clark International, 2004.
  • I purchased Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith after hearing Richard Hays commend it as almost as important as his own monograph on Paul's use of scripture. Hopefully, I'll make it through all 500+ pages this summer before selling it on Amazon for $200. (Just kidding about the last part, but check out the link!)
Late addition: Keck, Leander E. Paul and His Letters. 2d ed. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988.
  • Another unread volume from my bookshelf: Katherine Grieb says "Leander Keck's introduction to Paul's letters and his theology is the single most helpful resource I know for understanding the logic of Paul's thought at all levels of education" (p. 78 in Sumney below).
Grieb, A. Katherine. The Story of Romans: A Narrative Defense of God’s Righteousness. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2002.
  • I am considering this as a secondary textbook. At first glance, it appears very well-written and accessible.
Sumney, Jerry L., ed. Reading Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012.
  • Looks like a nice collection of recent essays by fine scholars. I thought at first that it might work well as a secondary textbook, but decided to make my own selection of paired essays if I go that route.

Note: If I could get my hands on an advance copy of N.T. Wright's Paul and the Faithfulness of God, it would be on my list.

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