Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
SBJT 20:2 (Summer 2016) p. 99
The Epistle to the Romans. New International Greek Text Commentary. By Richard N. Longenecker. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2016, 1208 pp., $50.00 hardback.
“No other letter in the NT is as important [for the church] as Romans,” says professor Emeritus of Wycliffe College, Richard N. Longenecker (xv). He further contends, that whenever this letter is seriously studied, “there has occurred in the church some type of renewal, reformation, or revolution” (xiii). It is this legacy of Romans that has motivated Longenecker to offer his interpretation of the letter in the latest volume of the New International Greek Testament Commentary series. As one of the leading NT scholars of our day, Longenecker exudes competent exegesis to provide a fresh analysis of Romans, while at the same time building upon the work of past commentators. In this way, Longenecker aims to impact the contemporary Christian community’s thoughts and actions through Paul’s gospel presented in Romans (1).
Longenecker begins his commentary with a brief introduction, highlighting the challenges interpreters will face working through the letter. From the outset, Longenecker directs readers to his previous work, Introducing Romans: Critical Issues in Paul’s Most Famous Letter, for a more thorough treatment on matters related to authorship, dating, and setting (4). Though one must refer to another publication for an extensive introduction to Romans, Longenecker nevertheless, states that he will delve into these topics as needed throughout the exegetical portions of the commentary.
While readers may desire more from the introduction, they will likely appreciate the way Longenecker organizes the material into three main sections: (1) matters largely uncontested, (2) matters recently resolved, and (3) matters extensively debated today. Concerning the matters largely uncontested (i.e., authorship, occasion, and date), Longenecker affirms Pauline authorship, stating that Paul likely wrote Romans from Corinth during the winter of A.D. 57-58 (5-6). Next, Longenecker moves on to matters recently resolved by first addressing the presence of glosses and interpolations
SBJT 20:2 (Summer 2016) p. 100
in the manuscripts. He optimistically concludes, “it is always possible, of course, that minor glosses or extraneous interpolations have somehow become incorporated into a particular biblical text ... Suffice it to say that NT textual criticism has come a long way during the past few decades, with the result that a great many of the textual issues … have been resolved” (7). In a similar vein, Longenecker agrees with Hurtado and Marshall concerning the authenticity of the ending of
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