Book Review: Romans

RomansRomans by Douglas J. Moo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought going in this was just an abridged version of Moo’s longer commentary, but was pleasantly surprised that was not the case. There are certainly times where the text commentary reads similarly, but it is usually in a shorter, summary form that can actually be helpful. The Bridging Contexts and Contemporary Significance sections add excellent practical applications that go beyond the longer commentary. If you were to only have one, I would suggest the longer commentary though it is more technical. However, it is worth having both as this volume is an excellent complement to the longer commentary.

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Book Review: The Epistle to the Romans

The Epistle to the RomansThe Epistle to the Romans by Douglas J. Moo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a really good commentary on Romans. Moo gives a good balance of exegetical and theological work. For various passages, he interacts with different views and generally explains why he adopts the view he does. There were different places where I disagreed with Moo, some of those quite minor and some less so, but this is the kind of commentary that is helpful even when you disagree. He gives enough explanation for his view that it is helpful to work through it. This is a must have commentary for studying and preaching Romans.

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Book Review: Reading Romans in Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism

Reading Romans in Context: Paul and Second Temple JudaismReading Romans in Context: Paul and Second Temple Judaism by Ben C. Blackwell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book compiles articles from several scholars going chapter by chapter through Paul’s letter to the Romans in light of the literature and historical context of second temple Judaism. The authors compare and contrast the letter with writings from the Qumran community and the Apocryphal books, etc. to see what influence they may have had on Paul’s thinking.

Overall it was a good read. The book is insightful at times and also conjecturing and speculative at others. I don’t agree with the views of some that we have to read Paul through this particular lens in order to rightly understand him. However, this setting was a part of his milieu and does inform our understanding of the socio-historical setting of the New Testament.

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Book Review: Reading Romans after Supersessionism: The Continuation of Jewish Covenantal Identity

Reading Romans after Supersessionism: The Continuation of Jewish Covenantal IdentityReading Romans after Supersessionism: The Continuation of Jewish Covenantal Identity by J Brian Tucker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not thrilled with the term post-supersessionism as it could be construed that the non-supersessionist reading of the New Testament is new or more recent. The author acknowledges that supersessionist hermeneutics dominate contemporary scholarship, and I suppose that does give the appearance of being the traditional view. It would have been good to have had some treatment of the historicity of continuist, non-supersessionist hermeneutics.

Tucker focuses on Romans 9-11 and interacts with both the text and scholarship on different sides of this discussion. By the end of the book, he did a good job of bringing out the plural nature of the promises to the fathers, so fulfillment necessarily includes aspects of descendants of Abraham (Israel), land, and Gentiles inclusion.

I’m not entirely convinced by his arguments in Romans 14. He is influenced by the “spheres of influence” view of the continuing relevance of Torah. I personally need to do more work in this area, but it seems that view falls short in its assessment of the old covenant relationship to the new covenant and the extent of old covenant fulfillment. Further, it seems to divide the old covenant law into divisions nowhere made in scripture and doesn’t account for the all-or-nothing view in epistles such as Galatians or James, not to mention the book of Hebrews and the covenants discussion there. However, the continuing relevance of Torah is not entirely germane to his argument for non-supersessionist readings.

I appreciate the book and recommend it for study.

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Book Review: The Psalms: Structure, Content, and Message

The Psalms: Structure, Content, and MessageThe Psalms: Structure, Content, and Message by Claus Westermann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pretty good book. There are some good nuggets scattered through this one. Westermann looks at the Psalms through ten content genres. His notes on structure and content were probably the most useful. At times he’s a little heavy on the canonical criticism and redaction theory.

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