4 Stars Out Of 5
Does what it says, but perhaps needs updating
June 1, 2011
I was quite excited to see this book as I have read and used Richard Longenecker's works with profit in the past. This one is intended as an examination of introductory issues in preparation for a major forthcoming commentary on Romans in the NIGTC series.
Longenecker covers all the major issues and does a good job of introducing the various interpretative possibilities as well as giving his own take on them. In this, the book does what it says in the title.
I do have a few problems, though. First, it is at times somewhat repetitive. A point will be made and then, a few pages later, made again often in precisely the same words. Secondly, Longenecker keeps repeating that an issue will be dealt with in 'a proposed forthcoming commentary' or using some such phrase. Each time this is expressed as if it is the first time the reader has been made aware of the proposed work.
These are both small points, but they perhaps suggest that the book was written in sections over a period of time without proper final editing. After reading the section on orality in Romans, I wondered whether the book had been dictated to a modern Tertius who wrote it down, but did not tidy it up!
More seriously, is that this book gave me the impression that it should have been published in the late nineties. There are very few books or articles referred to or listed in the biographies from the past decade.
I would, however, recommend this book. I am looking forward to the proposed exegetical commentary it heralds. I just hope that the Commentary itself feels a bit more up to date.