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xxv + 394 pp.

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Hardback






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

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.


Herman C. Waetjen is Professor Emeritus of New Testament at San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.

Series: New Testament Monographs, 32
978-1-907534-22-5 hardback
Publication September 2011

Contents
Chapter 1
INTRODUCTION

Chapter 2
SALUTATION, THANKSGIVING AND THE PROSPECT OF A VISIT
1.1-7. Salutation and Benediction
1.1. Paul, A Slave
1.1. A Slave of Christ Jesus
1.1. A Slave of Christ Jesus, Called an Apostle Set Apart for the Gospel
1.3-4. A Creedal Fragment
1.8-16. Thanksgiving and Intercession
1.17. The Transition: Paul’s Announcement of God’s Revelation

Chapter 3
PAUL’S ANALYSIS OF THE GENERAL HUMAN CONDITION
1.18-32. God’s Wrath: ‘Being Handed Over’
2.1-16. Indicting the Moralists
2.17-29. Indicting the Jews

Chapter 4
THE ADVANTAGE OF BEING A JEW
3.1-8. Entrusted with the Word of God
3.9-20. Paul’s Summation in the Role of Prosecuting Attorney

Chapter 5
‘OUT OF TRUST’—‘INTO JUSTICE’
3.21-22a. The Justice of God through the Trust of Jesus Christ
3.22b-26. Scribal Interpolation
3.27-4.22. The Trust of Abraham
4.23-25. From the Trust of Abraham into the Trust of Jesus Christ

Chapter 6
JUSTIFICATION THROUGH JESUS’ DEATH
5.1-2. We have peace toward God
5.3-4. Scribal Interpolation
5.5-10. At-one-ment
5.11. Scribal Interpolation

Chapter 7
THE LEGACY OF JESUS CHRIST
5.12-21. Saved by his Life
5.12-14. Adam and Eve, the Fall, and Original Sin
5.15-21. The Abundance of Grace and the Legacy of Justice

Chapter 8
ENTRY INTO THE NEW HUMANITY AND ITS DUTY WITHOUT DEBT
6.1-11. The End of the Old Moral Order and the Power of Hamartia
6.12-23. The Indebtedness of the New Humanity
7.1-6. The End of the Law
7.7-25a. The Other Side of the Paradox of Being ‘in Christ Jesus’
7.25b. Scribal Interpolation

Chapter 9
EMPOWERMENT BY GOD’S SPIRIT OF LIFE
8.1-8. Walking according to the Spirit
8.9b-10. Scribal Interpolation
8.9a-11. Liberation by God’s Indwelling Spirit
8.12-17. Membership in God’s Family
8.18-30. The Indebtedness of liberating the Creation
8.31-39. No Separation from God’s Love

Chapter 10
GOD’S SALVATION AND THE PROBLEM OF ISRAEL
9.1-5. The Great Heritage of Israel
9.6-13. Paul’s Dialectical Interpretation of Israel’s Beginnings
9.14-33. The Criterion of Reversal in the First and the Second Exodus
10.1-21. The Possibility of the Actualization of God’s Justice
10.17. Scribal Interpolation
10.18. ‘But I say…’
11.1-36. The Cosmic Tree of Life: Disobedient Israel Will Be Saved

Chapter 11
THE ETHICS OF GOD’S NEW HUMANITY
12.1-2. Entering the New Indebtedness as Bodies Offered to God in Worship
12.3-8. The Ministry of the Gifts of Grace
12.9-13. Genuine Love
12.14-21. Against Retaliation
13.1-7. Ethical Relationships to Government and Civil Authorities
13.8-14. The Indebtedness of Love
14.1–15.6. The Unity and Inclusiveness of God’s New Humanity
15.4. Scribal Interpolation
15.5-6. Continuation of the Ethics of God’s New Humanity
15.7-13. Conclusion of the Ethics of God’s New Humanity

Chapter 12
PLANS FOR THE IMMINENT FUTURE
15.14-21. Motives for Writing
15.22-33. Rome, Spain and Jerusalem
16.25-27. The Doxology Following 15.33 in P46

Chapter 13
CONCLUSION OF THE LETTER SENT TO EPHESUS
16.1-2. The Commendation of Phoebe
16.3-16. Greetings
16.17-20a. Scribal Interpolation
16.21-23. The Greetings of Those with Paul in Corinth
16.24. The Problem of the Concluding Benediction
16.25-27. The Doxology


Reviews
There seems to be no end to the number of Roman
commentaries being published recently. Waetjen’s contribution,
however, is unique among the various choices, not so
much for its findings as for its approach to the text. The
commentary combines a historical-critical, social-scientific,
and a specifically postmodern hermeneutic in its reading of
Romans. Following the recent trend to read Paul alongside
modern continental philosophers, Waetjen brings Romans
into conversation with contemporary political philosophers,
such as Derrida, Zizek, Badiou, and Agamben. Doing so
causes Waetjen to pay attention to readers’ subjective experiences
in engaging the text. This attempt to read Paul
“through” the eyes of modern philosophy certainly brings
about new insights into this text itself.
Jason A. Myers, Religious Studies Review.

[R]eaders who struggle with interpreting Paul and ask what he has to say to contemporary believers who themselves struggle with Christian responsibility amid the social issues of our time can come away from this book with several fresh insights. Readers who have worked through this commentary, even if they reject its fundamental thesis, will henceforth find it difficult to separate Paul’s affirmations of the dikaiosynē theou in a way that allows them to be disengaged from the challenges of injustice in our own time … Even at those several points where contemporary readers cannot adopt Waetjen’s own reading, their own thinking will be challenged, enriched, and deepened, and will inform their actions. M. Eugene Boring, Review of Biblical Literature.