Introducing Romans: Critical Issues in Paul's Most Famous Letter

Introducing Romans: Critical Issues in Paul's Most Famous Letter

Introducing Romans: Critical Issues in Paul's Most Famous Letter

Introducing Romans: Critical Issues in Paul's Most Famous Letter

Synopsis

Paul's Letter to the Romans has proven to be a particular challenge for commentators, with its many highly significant interpretive issues often leading to tortuous convolutions and even "dead ends" in their understanding of the letter.

Here, Richard N. Longenecker takes a comprehensive look at the complex backdrop of Paul's letter and carefully unpacks a number of critical issues, including:
- Authorship, integrity, occasion, date, addressees, and purpose
- Important recent interpretive approaches
- Greco-Roman oral, rhetorical, and epistolary conventions
- Jewish and Jewish Christian thematic and rhetorical features
- The establishing of the letter's Greek text
- The letter's main focus, structure, and argument

Excerpt

The study of Romans has had a long history, with many matters of importance treated fruitfully in the past. There have also been, however, many rather tortuous convolutions and some “dead ends” in the understanding of the letter. Further, during the past century and a half a number of highly significant interpretive issues have arisen and various methods of interpretation have been proposed. It is impossible in short compass to deal with everything that has to do with the study of so important a writing as Paul’s letter to the Christians at Rome. Nonetheless, particularly in light of the great amount of scholarly study and the diverse opinions that exist today, some overall account and evaluation of the major critical issues in the contemporary study of Romans seems appropriate — which is what we propose to do in what follows.

Our Present Procedures and Purposes

For pedagogical purposes, our introduction to Paul’s most famous letter will be set out in terms of five sets of critical issues. Part One, “Important Matters Largely Uncontested Today,” will deal with issues regarding the authorship, integrity, occasion, and date of the letter. Part Two, “Two Pivotal Issues,” will highlight two key issues in the scholarly study of Romans, that is, (1) the identity, character, circumstances, and concerns of the letter’s addressees, and (2) Paul’s purpose or purposes in writing them. Part Three will treat a number of conventions, procedures, and themes of importance in the ancient world, both Greco-Roman oral, rhetorical, and epistolary conventions . . .

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