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

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

Jeffrey P. Greenman, Timothy Larsen

| Brazos | 2005

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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.

Author Bio

Timothy Larsen is a Christian scholar and the McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College. Larsen received a BA in History and MA in Theology at Wheaton College (1989; 1990) and earned at PhD in History at the University of Stirling, Scotland (1997). He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and has been elected a Visiting Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge.

(From Freely redistributable under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.)