Thursday, July 15, 2021

Romans Readings

I decided to switch up the reading requirements for this fall's modular course on Paul's letter to the Romans. I will still require Stephen Westerholm's Understanding Paul (Baker Academic, 2004), which remains a fine introduction to the worldview of Romans:

But instead of Leander Keck's much longer (385 pp.) commentary on Romans (Abingdon, 2005), I am assigning (1) Beverly Roberts Gaventa's short and wonderfully engaging, When in Romans: An Invitation to Linger with the Gospel According to Paul (Baker Academic, 2016):

(2) John Barclay's hot-off-the-press, Paul and the Power of Grace (Eerdmans, 2020):

(3) A longer selection of book chapters and journal articles by other Pauline scholars.

I still regard Keck's commentary as the best short commentary on Romans available—and my seminary students will still need to read it—but it is dense, and I am not sure my undergraduate students give themselves enough time to digest it. In different ways, Westerholm, Gaventa, and especially the chapters on Romans in Barclay will have to do as a shorter and more accessible pre-class discussion of Paul's argument.

Dropping Keck lets me assign a combination of recent and seminal journal articles and essays on parts of Romans, without adding (much!) to the overall reading load:

Dunn, James D. G. “The New Perspective on Paul.” Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library 65, no. 2 (1983): 95–122.

Eastman, Susan. “Double Participation and the Responsible Self in Romans 5-8.” Pages 93–110 in Apocalyptic Paul: Cosmos and Anthropos in Romans 5-8. Edited by Beverly Roberts Gaventa. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2013.

Gorman, Michael J. “‘Justified by Faith … Crucified with Christ’: Reconciliation with God through Participation in Christ.” Pages 111-131 in Reading Paul. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2008.

Hays, Richard B. “Abraham as Father of Jews and Gentiles.” Pages 61–84 in The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul as Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005.

Käsemann, Ernst. “‘The Righteousness of God’ in Paul.” Pages 168–82 in New Testament Questions of Today. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1969.

Linebaugh, Jonathan A. “Announcing the Human: Rethinking the Relationship between Wisdom of Solomon 13-15 and Romans 1.18-2.11.” New Testament Studies 57, no. 2 (2011): 214–37.

McCaulley, Esau. “Freedom Is No Fear: The New Testament and a Theology of Policing.” Pages 25–46 in Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2020.

Wright, Nicholas Thomas. “Christ, the Law and the People of God: The Problem of Romans 9-11.” Pages 231–57 in The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991. (too long, unfortunately)

Zoccali, Christopher. “‘And so All Israel Will Be Saved’: Competing Interpretations of Romans 11.26 in Pauline Scholarship.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 30, no. 3 (2008): 289–318.

The effect of assigning readings from a variety of perspectives will, I hope, increase student engagement as well as stimulate my own learning.

Here are the college and seminary versions of the syllabus for anyone who is interested:

For an assortment of other Romans-related posts, click here.


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