Since I’m turning back to my work on my Glory in Romans paper for BNTS, I started doing some general Romans reading. One of the first that I picked up was Reading Romans through the Centuries: From the Early Church to Karl Barth.

I thought it was an interesting read, but it wasn’t as much about Romans as I had hoped. You could tell with some contributors that they were walking through major sections of Romans in their analyses (e.g., the Ambrosiaster paper), which is what I was expecting. For Chrysostom the contributor traced major theological issues through the book, which was also helpful. However, others focused on things that were not as helpful, imho. For instance with Aquinas the focus was mostly on chapters 9-11. Or with Barth the focus was whether his commentary on Romans was rightly a commentary, which was really a discussion of Barth’s view of scripture, but not really much on Romans itself.

The varied contributions of the historical writers adds to the problem because not all of them even had an extended treatment of Romans. But even more to the point is that this was a combination of papers from a symposium rather than an edited volume with directed content. It was a good read to refresh my understanding of some writers, but also good to introduce others. In the end, I think it is better a survey of different major theological thinkers rather than a detailed look at Romans.

[Addition] I also forgot to add in this thought… There is an unsurprising lack of Eastern writers (and I guess modern Catholics as well). The different writers that were covered reinforced to me that there isn’t as much difference between most Protestants. However, for more of a real distinction it might have been helpful to put in some major writers from other major traditions besides our own. Just a thought.

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