The Theology of Paul's Letter to the Romans

The Theology of Paul's Letter to the Romans

The Theology of Paul's Letter to the Romans

The Theology of Paul's Letter to the Romans

Synopsis

Compelling introduction to the theology of Paul's Letter for teachers, pastors, and students of theology.

Excerpt

For centuries readers and expositors of Paul's Letter to the Romans took it for granted that this letter contained theology, i.e. Christian doctrine, more or less timeless truth about God and humankind presented in a consistent system of thought. This expectation left no room for doubts about statements which might have been relevant for a specific situation at the time of Paul and which could not be applied to very different situations of a later age. Therefore the Church fathers or the leaders of the Protestant Reformation could consult and appeal to the letter to the Romans as an answer to questions that were discussed among their contemporaries. This attitude changed gradually during the formative period of modern Bible study. As a first step, the Enlightenment introduced a distinction between eternal truth (defined as compatible with reason) and its accidental historical 'garments' (which could be neglected or disposed of by modern minds). The essential content of Scripture continued to be viewed as doctrine. But a door was opened for a closer look at circumstances and development. The next stage was the discovery of different theologies contained in different writings of the Old and New Testaments, reflections not only of changing times but also of personal profile. Sooner or later, this awareness of variety led to the question of relations and interactions between those different positions. Thus, partly under the auspices of Hegelian philosophy of history, the nineteenth century saw the emergence of the idea of early Christianity as a process of conflicting positions and movements. The quest for intentions began to prevail over mere expositions of content, and defining intentions implied . . .

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