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Romans 4 and the New Perspective on Paul

Visscher, Gerhard H.

Romans 4 and the New Perspective on Paul

Faith Embraces the Promise

Series: Studies in Biblical Literature - Volume 122

Year of Publication: 2009

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2009. XIV, 265 pp., num. ill.
ISBN 978-1-4331-0537-1 hardback  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.500 kg, 1.102 lbs

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Book synopsis

As the vigorous debate over the New Perspective on Paul will only be decided by means of careful consideration of the relevant Scripture passages, Romans 4 and the New Perspective on Paul makes a significant contribution to the discussion. Interpretations by scholars promoting the New Perspective approach are reviewed in detail and contrasted with those of scholars who are critical toward this method. A detailed analysis of the context and exegesis of Romans 4 completes the work. By suggesting a more nuanced exegesis of Romans 4, this book is able to offer a careful critique of the New Perspective while still noting the positive aspects of the latter approach.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

The Author: Gerhard H. Visscher is Professor of New Testament Studies at the Theological College of the Canadian Reformed Churches in Hamilton, Canada. He earned a Ph.D. in early Christianity from the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, a Th.D. from the Theological University of the Reformed Churches in Kampen, the Netherlands, and a M.Div. from the Theological College of the Canadian Reformed Churches in Hamilton, Canada.


«In Romans 4:4 Paul compares a ‘righteousness’ that might be attained through ‘the works of the law’ with the ‘wages’ that one earns through labour. The passage thus represents a difficulty for the New Perspective interpretation of Paul, in which ‘works of the law’ is understood instead as a reference to boundary markers and covenant membership. In this thorough and perceptive investigation, Gerhard H. Visscher draws attention to the weaknesses in various New Perspective readings of this verse and thus adds his voice to those that call for a new appreciation of old perspectives. This study is a helpful contribution to an ongoing debate.» (Terence L. Donaldson, Lord and Lady Coggan Professor of New Testament Studies, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto)
«No passage in the Pauline corpus is more crucial to a proper assessment of the ‘New Perspective on Paul’ than Romans 4. In his review of recent scholarship on the chapter, Gerhard H. Visscher makes an important addition to the current debate. But his careful exegesis makes its own original contribution as well, highlighting aspects of Paul’s argument that are significant though commonly overlooked.» (Stephen Westerholm, Professor of Biblical Studies, Department of Religious Studies, McMaster University)


Studies in Biblical Literature. Vol. 122
General Editor: Hemchand Gossai