The importance of Paul's letter to the Romans need hardly be stated; it is still, however, the subject of serious interpretative disputes. One such pivotal and disputed text in Romans is 3.21-26. The actual meaning is a far less settled issue than the shared evaluation of its importance.
Douglas Campbell gives a clear account of why much current description of Paul's theology, and of his gospel and of his theory of salvation, is so confused. After outlining the difficulties underlying much of the current debate he lays out some basic options that will greatly clarify the debate. He then engages with these options and shows how one offers far more promise than the others, sketching out some of its initial applications.
Campbell then shows in more detail how another option -- the main alternative, and the main culprit in terms of many of our difficulties -- can be circumvented textually, in a responsible fashion. That is, we see how we could remove this option from Paul's text exegetically, and so reach greater clarity. Finally, he concludes with a 'road-map' of where future, more detailed, research into Paul needs to go if the foregoing strategy is to be carried out thoroughly. Campbell believes that by utilising this strategy Paul's gospel will be shown to be both cogent and constructive.
This is volume 274 in the Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement series.
"Before dealing with any part of the Theology which is peculiarly Christian, we must trace the connection between the Reign of Law and the ideas which are alike fundamental to all Religions, and inseparable from the facts of Nature. It is to this preliminary work that the following chapters have been devoted. Modern Doubt has called in question not only the whole subject of inquiry, but the whole Faculties by which it can be pursued. Until these have been tested and examined by some standard which is elementary and acknowledged, we cannot even begin the work. It has appeared to me that not a few of the problems which lie deepest in this inquiry, and which perplex us most, are soluble in the light of the Unity of Nature. Or if these problems are not entirely soluble in this light, at least they are broken up by it, and are reduced to fewer and simpler elements. The following chapters are an attempt to follow this conception along a few of the innumerable paths which it opens up, and which radiate from it through all the phenomena of the Universe, as from an exhaustless centre of Energy and of Suggestion. It is the great advantage of these paths that they are almost infinite in number and equally various in direction. To those who walk in them nothing can ever come amiss. Every subject of interest, every object of wonder, every thought of mystery, every obscure analogy, every strange intimation of likeness in the midst of difference--the whole external and the whole internal world--is the province and the property of him who seeks to see and to understand the Unity of Nature. And if, in the wanderings of our own spirit, and in the sins and sorrows of Human Life, there are terrible facts which resist all classification and all analysis, it will be a good result of our endeavours to comprehend the Unity of Nature, should it lead us better to see, and more definitely to understand, those features in the character of Man which constitute The Great Exception"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).
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