Friday, June 12, 2009

Reading Romans

Mike Bird is has a reading list for Romans for a course he will presumably be teaching. I'm not brave enough, nor have I read enough to teach a course on Romans. My experience in reading Jewett's tome (which I never finished) left me completely baffled as to the purpose and meaning of Paul's letter to Rome. However, in reading Jewett's articles, I've come to appreciate much of his perspective, and his pastoral heart. For example, at the end of brilliant and utterly helpful article, Jewett writes the following:

If Paul's grandiose argument were better understood, it might still provide a basis for achieving its original vision: to bring "all the peoples" (Rom 15:11) to praise the One whose gospel can still restore our eroded and fractured world to its intended righteousness.

Robert Jewett, "Following the Argument of Romans," in Word & World Volume VI, Number 4, pg. 389

I can't help but think that the world, including the church, should be helped by such scholarship with a pastoral and apostolic concern. Of course there will always be quibbles. I'm not sure about the supposed interpolations in Romans 16:17-20a and the concluding doxology in 16:25-27. [[I accept that these could undermine Jewett's case somewhat.]] But his work on Shame, unity, and the missionary purpose of Romans is, to this student, undeniable in its accuracy. His structuring of the argument employing the rhetorical features provided by Quintilius is helpful in unpacking Paul's argument.
My five top reads on Romans:
  1. Paul Achtemeier, Romans (WJK)
  2. N. T. Wright, “Romans,” in NIB (Abingdon)
  3. R. Jewett, Romans (Fortress)
  4. J. D. G. Dunn, Romans 1-8, 9-16 (Nelson)
  5. C. E. B. Cranfield, Romans 1-8, 9-16 (T & T Clark)

Romans is like a black hole. You could spend the rest of your life just studying this letter. Oh well, back to 1 Peter. :)

1 comment:

mike whitney said...

Thanks for this info. I like the list on the link you gave too.

I am trying to get a bibliography together on Romans and to be able to sort by applicable chapter. I also have put together a unique outline. Like you said "Romans is like a black hole" and I've been caught in it for many years.

Some of my observations are at my website: and I would love to hear back.