Because when you are in a Master’s Program trying to frantically remember how any human being can read this.much.stuff in any kind of time- let alone 7 short weeks when real life doesn’t slow down – nationality doesn’t matter.
And the one thing I do know with certainty is that Paul was definitely not Italian.
Question 1 of 4 due in like, oh, 27 hours: Your personal encounter with Romans. (Note: these are all just the “easy” weekly on-line postings that will comprise 70% of our total grade. I saw someone’s first posting and it was about a sentence. Rookie.)
1. Admittedly, to date my personal encounter with Romans has been a moving target. Initially as I read the narrative, my conclusions and overall understanding centered solely on presuppositions including but not limited to: my Catholic upbringing, study-style, and preferred methodology of reading, i.e. whatever I could apply to my life in the moment. Therefore, with that somewhat sophomoric approach, there was nothing “special” in terms of take-a-ways in my encounter with the epistle, and certainly nothing revolutionary.
In question is, has there in fact been a shift from reading Paul’s letter as a compilation or compendium of Christian doctrine from/to reading it as one of his thirteen or fourteen (cf. Hebrews) epistles which address situational issues to its intended recipients at the time of its writing? Much like Paul rhetorically asks in 10:19 (“Did Israel not understand?”) and textual evidence strongly suggests that they did, my personal encounter with life suggests that I should, at a minimum understand Romans to be a treatise of Christian doctrine and at a maximum, dig deeper into understanding Paul the missionary and teacher as he instructs the Judeans and gentiles among the house churches of Rome. (gentiles not capitalized for a reason – more on that and the regions of Israel later).
I am a fan of Paul’s strong rhetorical rhetoric throughout the book, as its usage interrupts his own narrative on more than one occasion (ex.11:1-6). Equally as much, I also enjoy Paul’s interjection of himself into an argument (ex.10:1-4). However as I reflect further, my personal encounter can perhaps best be summarized by stating what fully resonates every time I read Romans and begin to further comprehend the beautiful unfolding of events – that is, the way in which Paul bares his soul through irony and pain masterfully revealing to us – a timelessus – the unconditional covenant love God has for His collective people. (9:1-11:36)
My answer concluded with the above, as I thought it slightly irrelevant that in every scholarly text written about Romans it says that Chapters 9-11 are um, hard to figure out. Dr. McCabe probably doesn’t care when I was born.
“Romans 9-11 remains one of the most difficult and contested biblical texts…”
Grieb Katherine A. The Story of Romans. Page 105. Louisville: London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002.