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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Reading Romans as Lament: Paulís Use of Old Testament Lament in His Most Famous Letter
Crisler, Channing L.

Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2016 pp. ix + 242. $30.00


Description: Reading Romans as Lament examines how and why Paul uses such a high volume of Old Testament lament in his letter to the Romans. Lament is not merely a poignant cry of distress, but a distinct form of prayer scattered across the pages of the Old Testament. It contains a distinct literary footprint and theology. Although often overlooked, Romans contains a great deal of this prayer form through its various lament citations and echoes. When these citations and echoes are heard, it impacts the interpretation of the letter's argumentation and sheds historical light on suffering in the early church. Building on the work of both Old Testament scholarship and recent trends in Pauline Studies, most notably Claus Westermann and Richard B. Hays, this book explores how Paul uses the language and theology of Old Testament lament to address the tension between what his gospel promises and the pain his listeners experience. The echoes of lament in Romans indicate that suffering stems from various sources, but they share a common concern with divine wrath. The experience of pain, including concern over God's wrath, is a reality for the "righteous" in Rome. Paul consistently answers their cries of distress with the gospel.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, Romans, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, New Testament Use of Old Testament

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Review by Nicholas A. Elder
Published 6/20/2019
Citation: Nicholas A. Elder, review of Channing L. Crisler, Reading Romans as Lament: Paulís Use of Old Testament Lament in His Most Famous Letter, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).


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