donderdag 21 februari 2013

Review of: Klaus Haacker, The Theology of Paul's Letter to the Romans (NTT), Cambridge University Press, 2003; in: Interpretation

Klaus Haacker, The Theology of Paul's Letter to the Romans (NTT), Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Review in: Interpretation 2004 58: 313
Review door: Charles B. Cousar
Gevonden op:

The Theology of Paul's Letter to the Romans
by Klaus Haacker
New Testament Theology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003.
183 pp. $20.00. ISBN 0-521-43535-8.
THIS VOLUME ON Romans brings to a conclusion an extremely useful series on the theology of the various canonical witnesses, edited by James D. G. Dunn. Volumes by Richard Bauckham (on Revelation), Victor P. Furnish (on 1 Corinthians), Joel Green (on Luke), Ulrich Luz (on Matthew), Moody Smith (on John), and Frances Young (on the Pastoral Letters), among others, have provided timely explorations of theological themes and issues that are freed from the burdens of a commentary.

In one sense, Haacker follows in the same tradition. He quickly walks the reader through the introductory questions of date, authorship, purpose, and audience, in order to get at the questions of theology. The initial readership, for Haacker, is primarily Roman, with a minority of Christian Jews in the picture. Yet the inclusion of the Gentiles in the community of faith was still enough at stake that Paul had to devote considerable space and attention to "the vindication of the universalism of the Gospel" (p. 26).

What Haacker sees as the distinctive idea of Romans is "the notion of peace with God as the promise of the Gospel" (p. 45). Since peace was a rare commodity in the Roman world, its proclamation addresses the universal chaos and promises to establish an adequate relationship between human beings and their Creator.

As far as Israel is concerned, one day they will be saved, confirming God's faithfulness and election. "The voice of God's love which speaks so powerfully through the death of Christ for our sins is not quenched by periods of error and alienation on the side of his people" (p. 95).

The latter portion of the book is given over to a somewhat sketchy discussion of the relation of Romans to other canonical literature and to its impact on the later history of the church (from 1 Clement to Karl Barth in ten pages!). Frankly, I wished for a more serious struggle with the theology of Romans, with its apocalyptic force (not mentioned at all), and with its tension between the impartiality and faithfulness of God, instead of the necessarily brief and slight treatment of the letter's place in the canonical structure and in the life of the church.

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