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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Letter to the Romans: Salvation as Justice and the Deconstruction of Law
Waetjen, Herman C.

Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2011 pp. xxvi + 390. $115.00

Series Information
New Testament Monographs, 32

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Description: Romans, says Waetjen, is the first publication of the Christ movement. To understand it well is therefore a task of monumental importance, and to understand it today requires a postmodern hermeneutics, in which the interpreter's subjective experience of reading the text is correlated with historical-critical knowledge and social-scientific criticism. That hermeneutics has to create a new genre of commentary, making room for readers' prior understandings as well as for a dynamic form of close reading and consistency building. The outcome is a contemporizing of Paul's theology that induces conversation with Derrida, Žižek, Badiou and Agamben and others. The central theme of Romans is, according to Waetjen, the healing of humanity through the realization of 'the justice of God', which is disclosed in the movement ‘out of trust into trust’, or, more specifically, out of the trust of Abraham into the trust of Jesus Christ. Living on this side of the law of Sinai and therefore being conscious of the condition of sin requires the reconciliation of Christ's death and the justification of Christ's resurrection in order to participate in the New Humanity of life-giving spirits. Consequently Romans is more than a rhetorical effort to mediate conflicts between Jewish and Gentile believers in Rome. Composed prior to his journey to Jerusalem with the possibility of martyrdom before him, the letter is Paul's major theological testament.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, Romans, Literature

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Review by M. Eugene Boring
Published 7/30/2015
Citation: M. Eugene Boring, review of Herman C. Waetjen, The Letter to the Romans: Salvation as Justice and the Deconstruction of Law, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2015).

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