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NE567 Romans: Spring 2012


NE567: ROMANS (English Text). (4 units) Richard J. Erickson



A detailed English-text based study of Paul's epistle to Rome, which is, in some respects, the central document in the New Testament. Attention is focused primarily on the message and argument of the book itself and secondarily on exegetical method and certain significant aspects of Paul's ideas.


God's faithfulness to his covenant promise for all creation, applied by Paul to a real historical situation, shows the Bible to be both human word and divine revelation. The course intends, in light of this, to inspire students with enthusiasm for reading the Bible responsibly in ministry and for deeper obedience to Scripture in their own lives. We ourselves are to be "studied" by the text and by Him who meets us in it.


Students successfully completing NE567 "Romans" will have demonstrated (1) knowledge and understanding of the letter to the Romans; (2) ability to interpret this particular biblical book, and the Bible generally, through critical, community interaction, using historical, socio-cultural, literary and other methods; (3) and skill in reading the Bible theologically in view of diverse contexts.


Lectures will be posted online, leaving class time free for discussion, group work, and hands-on exercises. A high degree of quality student participation is expected; students will be responsible for preparing assigned passages to discuss in class and online. Class will meet weekly over ten weeks for a total of 30 in-class hours. In addition, a significant aspect of class discussion will be conducted online in Moodle.

REQUIRED READING (See syllabus for Recommended Reading):

       Two rapid readings of Romans, at least one in the NRSV or the TNIV. [c. 40 pp.]

       Weekly lectures, posted online

       Cranfield, C. E. B. Romans: A Shorter Commentary. Eerdmans, 1985. [384 pp.] ISBN: 978-0802800121. Pub. Price: $30.00

       Tamez, Elsa. The Bible of the Oppressed. Wipf & Stock, 2006 [orig. 1982; 88 pp.] ISBN: 978-1597525558. Pub. Price: $13.00

      Wright, N. T. "The Letter to the Romans: Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections." In The New Interpreter's Bible, vol. 10, pp. 393-770. Abingdon, 2002. [376 pp.] ISBN: 978-0687278237. Pub. Price: $74.00.

      Selected materials on reserve.


1.      Read rapidly through Romans, entirely and in one sitting (c. two hours). Use either the NRSV or the TNIV for this reading. Write a maximum 750-word reflective essay on your sense of (a) the message of Romans and (b) its relation to your previous assumptions of the books message. Essay due the end of Week 1. [15%]

2.      Faithfully read all other required, assigned material, including preparation of weekly texts from Romans.

3.      Write a 1500-word maximum essay relating the concerns raised in Tamez, Bible of the Oppressed, to the message of Romans. Essay due at the end of Week 4. [20%]

4.      Do a close-reading on an assigned text from Romans; write it up as an Interpretive Assignment. Due at the end of Week 7. [30%]

5.      Participate in occasional online forums and weekly classroom-based discussions and activities, focused on preparation of assigned weekly texts and theological interpretations of those texts, as well as on readings in assigned textbooks. [20%]

6.      Read rapidly through Romans again, at one sitting, after Week 8 and before the end of Week 9. Describe in a maximum 1000-word essay how your impressions of Romans in this second rapid reading differ from and resemble those from your first reading. This second essay is due at the end of Week 9. [15%]

PREREQUISITES: None. NS501 could be useful, however.

RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: MA: Biblical Studies; MDiv/MAT-BS: Elective; MA in Global Leadership Ministry Focus Elective.