This volume traces the earliest receptions of Paul’s Letter to the Romans, seeking to elucidate their hermeneutical strategies as they endorse, explain, construct, and rework Romans as a normative authority. These early patristic readings of Romans by Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Origen, and others are pivotal. Long before Augustine and Luther, they set formative interpretive principles upon which is built the imposing yet diverse edifice of subsequent interpretations and uses of Romans.
By the end of the second century CE, the letters of Paul had established themselves as authoritative bears of divine revelation. Yet, the task of tracing the earliest receptions of Paul’s Letter to the Romans is challenging, because the thought world of the early Christians is remote, molten, largely oral, and as such hard to trace. The essays in this volume rise to the challenge by explicating significant aspects of Paul’s reception among early Christian readers. They ask: How did these readers construct Paul’s view of pagan and Christian relations? Of the Gentiles? Of Jewish salvation? Of faith? Of resurrection? Of Christian Platonist principles? Contributors to this volume demonstrate specific ways in which Romans was appropriated to define the philosophy of Christian Platonism, a development that has had an enduring impact upon the creation of a Christian paideia.
Early Patristic Readings of Romans builds upon and contributes to a growing recognition that the Pauline corpus proved important to the early church before Augustine.
—Rowan A. Greer, Professor of Anglican Studies Emeritus, Yale Divinity School
Kathy L. Gaca is Associate Professor of Classics at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and the author of The Making of Fornication: Eros, Ethics, and Political Reform in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity.
L. L. Welborne is Professor of New Testament at United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio. He is the author of Politics and Rhetoric in the Corinthian Epistles and editor (with Cilliers Breytenbach) of Encounters with Hellenism: Studies in First Clement.