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Conflict and Identity in Romans: The Social Setting of Paul's Letter
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Conflict and Identity in Romans: The Social Setting of Paul's Letter


Fortress Press 2003

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


What is the purpose of Paul’s letter to the Romans? Esler provides an illuminating analysis of this epistle, employing social-scientific methods along with epigraphy and archaeology. His conclusion is that the Apostle Paul was attempting to facilitate the resolution of intergroup conflict among the Christ-followers of Rome, especially between Judeans and non-Judeans, and to establish a new identity for them by developing a form of group categorization that subsumes the various groups into a new entity.

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Praise for the Print Edition

Esler provides his readers with a discerning, exciting, and masterful reading of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. . . . For an incisive, penetrating, and sensible grasp of Romans, there is nothing better than Esler’s work. The unassuming and unostentatious style in which the book is written belies the freshness of insight and brilliance of perception that the author offers his readers.

Bruce J. Malina, professor of New Testament and early Christianity, Creighton University

This is an important study of Paul’s letter to Rome that breaks out of the traditional boundaries of doctrine interpretation. Employing insights from recent social science, Esler argues that Paul offers the diverse churches in Rome a common in-group identity that could overcome their ethnic conflicts and make cooperation possible. They need to understand that every ethnic group stands equally under sin and under grace. This innovative book makes Romans more important than ever for a world still torn by ethnic conflict.

Robert Jewett, visiting professor of New Testament, University of Heidelberg

Product Details

  • Title: Conflict and Identity in Romans: The Social Setting of Paul’s Letter
  • Author: Philip F. Esler
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Pages: 472

About Philip F. Esler

Philip F. Esler is professor of biblical criticism at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. Among his publications are The Early Christian World, Galatians, and The Early Christians and Their Social Worlds.