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Religion Paul's Letters


Text, Readers, and the History of Interpretation

by (author) Stephen Westerholm

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Paul's Letters, History, New Testament
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

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A wide-ranging study of the interpretation of Paul’s letter to the Romans throughout history, from Origen to Karl Barth. 

In anticipation of his Illuminations commentary on Paul’s letter to the Romans, Stephen Westerholm offers this extensive survey of the reception history of Romans. After two initial chapters discussing the letter’s textual history and its first readers in Rome (a discussion carried out in dialogue with the Paul-within-Judaism stream of scholarship), Westerholm provides a thorough overview of over thirty of the most influential, noteworthy, and representative interpretations of Romans from nearly two thousand years of history. Interpreters surveyed include Origen, John Chrysostom, Augustine, Peter Abelard, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Locke, Cotton Mather, John Wesley, and Karl Barth. 

Bearing in mind that Paul did not write for scholars, Westerholm includes in his study interpreters like Philipp Jakob Spener and Richard Baxter who addressed more popular audiences, as well as an appendix on a remarkable series of 372 sermons on Romans by beloved British preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones. A further aim of the book is to illustrate the impact of this New Testament letter on Christian thought, supporting Westerholm’s claim that “the history of the interpretation of Romans is, in important areas and to a remarkable extent, the history of Christian theology.”

About the author


Stephen Westerholm is professor emeritus of early Christianity at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. His other books include Reading Sacred Scripture: Voices from the History of Biblical Interpretation (with Martin Westerholm), Justification Reconsidered: Rethinking a Pauline Theme, and Understanding Paul: The Early Christian Worldview of the Letter to the Romans.

Stephen Westerholm's profile page

Other titles by Stephen Westerholm