The view from Romans is breathtaking. From first creation to eternal glory, it’s sin and redemption, Christ and the Spirit, Jew and gentile, law and gospel, church and state, all under the justice and mercy of God.
I’ve had a blast this summer teaching on Romans, and I can’t wait to teach it again. This fall we’re launching our new MA Classical Theology program, and Romans is scheduled for this coming spring. Each week we’ll be guided by a set of major interpreters, both classical and contemporary, and then we’ll spend our class time in Socratic seminar-style discussion.
For Romans, those major interpreters include:
- Origen (c. 184 - c. 254). Origen is from another planet. But he is astoundingly attentive to intertextual resonances. That is, if there’s a faint echo of anything Old Testamenty in Paul, or if Paul brushes up against Jesus tradition, Origen’s on it. Origen’s great strength is reading Scripture as a whole and in light of the Christian confession.
- Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). Thomas is a mental machine. He ploughs through what can seem like lumps and bumps in Paul and leaves behind straight furrows. The clarity and precision of Thomas’s analysis are simply remarkable, and he can draw in just the right theological principle to help explain what Paul means.
- John Calvin (1509-1564). Calvin is a wine that sweetens with age. He wrote his Romans commentary in the turbulence of exile, and it remains one of the most stable and enduring accounts of Paul’s great letter in the whole of the Christian tradition. Calvin identifies “lucid brevity” as his chief end as a writer—and he actually achieves it!
- Thomas Schreiner (1954- ). Schreiner is one of the finest evangelical biblical scholars writing today. He took what was already an outstanding commentary (first edition 1998) and thoroughly revised it with twenty more years of wisdom (2018).
We’ll also hear from a number of special guests, including:
- the Antioch-born Archbishop of Constantinople John Chrysostom (c. 349-407)
- the great North African bishop Augustine (354-430) and his nemesis Pelagius (c. 360-418)
- the French Benedictine abbot William of St. Thierry (c. 1080-1148) and his nemesis Peter Abelard (1079-1142)
- the feisty, brilliant German Reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546)
- the Spanish Reformer Juan de Valdés (c. 1490-1541)
- the Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius (1560-1609)
- the unstoppable, heart-on-fire John Wesley (1709-1791)
- and my dear “uncle” Karl Barth (1886-1968)
We’ll read, and we’ll talk. Applications to the MACT are open now. Come join us!