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Reading Romans through the Centuries: From the Early Church to Karl Barth


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In the 16 searing chapters of his Letter to the Romans, Paul gets to the heart of the Law and the Gospel—of how human beings can be saved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and attain eternal life. In the process, he touches upon such perennially important topics as predestination, the role of the Jewish people in salvation history, and the responsibility of Christians to those in authority.

Not surprisingly, Romans has been used as cannon fodder in many of the theological disputes that have divided Christendom. Martin Luther, whose views lit the firestorm of the Reformation, claimed Romans had shown him that God declared sinners righteous and good works played no part in salvation. Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin both saw in Romans God’s predestination of the elect, although they differed over whether humans were given the freedom to reject the offer of salvation.

Reading Romans through the Centuries brings noted historians and theologians together to discuss how Luther, Aquinas, Calvin, and nine other leading lights of church history understood Romans. Many see Romans as the first truly theological work in the history of the church, and this book shows why it has had such a profound effect on the history of the church.

The Logos Bible Software edition of this volume is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of Scripture. Biblical passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about the Word of God.

  • Collects thoughts from contributors on historic theological thought regarding the book of Romans
  • Explores various viewpoints on the book of Romans and how interpretation can differ
  • Introduction
  • Ambrosiaster
  • John Chrysostom
  • Augustine
  • Thomas Aquinas
  • Martin Luther
  • William Tyndale
  • John Calvin
  • John Wesley
  • Charles Hodge
  • John William Colenso
  • Karl Barth
This helpful book attempts to trace how Paul’s most famous writing has been understood by several of its more influential readers. . . . Each of the chapters provides well-written summaries of seminal issues, though the contributions vary significantly in style and specificity. . . . The obvious strength of such variety is that the contributors are free to discuss what they find to be the most salient issues at hand. . . . This volume will find appreciative readers from a variety of disciplines (e.g. biblical studies, history, theology) who seek to understand better the role Romans has played in shaping Christian thought.

Reviews in Religion and Theology

This collection of essays makes a welcome contribution to the growing interest in the Bible’s history of interpretation. . . . This reviewer feels that study of the Bible’s history of interpretation needs to adopt a more synthetic perspective lest it become an exercise merely in collecting various curiosities of interpretation. This book provides the raw material for just such a discussion.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

The history of biblical interpretation has become a strong focus of scholarship today, and this lucid volume makes a fine contribution to this body of writings.

Bible Today

One of the more valuable features of this collection is that nearly half of the authors had to go hunting beyond commentaries and into sermons, devotional literature, theological treatises, and essays in order to discuss the views of the theologians presented. . . . If the question is raised about impact on the whole theological enterprise, most of the interpreters chosen for discussion in this volume have been at the forefront.

Lutheran Quarterly

The volume successfully lays out how Romans has been read through the centuries and urges contemporary readers of Paul’s letter to consider past attempts to understand Romans instead of simply assuming that recent commentators have a monopoly on exegetical truth.


The volume is rich and substantial. . . . One is left sated by this volume’s weight of content.

Review of Biblical Literature

These studies introduce fresh insights into the central place of Romans in Christian thought through the centuries. They reveal key issues in theology, soteriology, and Christology with which scholars have wrestled for the past two thousand years. Consequently, they provide tools for evaluating both the utility and limitations of present critical methods.

Toronto Journal of Theology

  • Title: Reading Romans through the Centuries: From the Early Church to Karl Barth
  • Editors: Jeffrey P. Greenman and Timothy Larsen
  • Publisher: Brazos Press
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 224

Jeffrey P. Greenman is a professor of Christian ethics and the associate dean of biblical and theological studies at Wheaton College. He is the author of Ancient Faith for the Church’s Future.

Timothy Larsen is the Carolyn and Fred McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the editor of Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals and a coeditor of Women, Ministry, and the Gospel.


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    Print list price: $26.00
    Save $0.01 (0%)