See Romans in the light of modern historical and cultural studies with this commentary from ground breaking scholar James D. G. Dunn. Dunn maintains that it is imperative to grasp the coherence of Paul’s thought as it moves with sustained logic and consistent rigor from the opening announcement of God’s righteousness revealed in Christ and the gospel through each interlocking section of this epistle. He insists that the letter must be read and understood within a specific historical and cultural context. Paul’s background in Judaism, his perception of the role of the law as a marker of national Jewish identity, God’s saving actions in Christ both in continuity with the past and as a decisive new chapter in salvation and world history, and the ongoing eschatological tension between the “already” and the “not yet”–clues that inform a penetrating and moving piece of commentary writing.
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“Paul has in view the eschatological tension of the present stage of salvation history, with both the ‘I’ and the ‘law’ divided between the two ages of Adam and Christ in a period when these two ages overlap. Hence the cry of 7:24 is one of frustration (not of despair) that the process of salvation still has to work through the body of death, and the concluding v 25 is a statement of calm realism that in this interim period the believer’s loyalties are bound to be torn between the demands of the two ages to which he belongs.” (Page 377)
“The significance presumably is that in such passages he wishes to focus not solely on the initial act of faith but on faith as a continuing orientation and motivation for life.” (Page 40)
“One is the fact that Paul is clearly writing to Gentiles” (Page xlv)
“It is God’s righteousness which enables and in fact achieves man’s righteousness.” (Page 42)
“On the contrary, however, as Sanders demonstrated clearly enough, Judaism’s whole religious self-understanding was based on the premise of grace—that God had freely chosen Israel and made his covenant with Israel, to be their God and they his people. This covenant relationship was regulated by the law, not as a way of entering the covenant, or of gaining merit, but as the way of living within the covenant; and that included the provision of sacrifice and atonement for those who confessed their sins and thus repented.” (Page lxv)