Saturday, August 03, 2013

Colin Kruse (Pillar Series) Commentary on Romans currently $2.99 on Kindle

Click here to get it. Not sure how long it will stay this way.

This is a 2012 release, which normally sells for $40.00 (and can’t presently be gotten used for less than $33).

Couple of reviews:

D.A. Carson:

…a good commentary must not only provide a reliable unpacking of the text, but it must also be a useful guide to the plethora of books and essays that swirl around this letter. Enter Colin Kruse. Readers of The Pillar New Testament Commentary will know him for the clarity and good sense in his commentary on John’s letters in the PNTC series. Here his skills come to the fore again: clarity of thought and writing, independent judgment, deep reverence for what the text actually says, and uncommon wisdom in sorting through the vast secondary literature without getting bogged down. It is a pleasure to commend this commentary and include it in the series.

Phillip Long, “Reading Acts” Blog:

This commentary replaces the 1988 Leon Morris volume in the Pillar series. While it might seem strange to replace a commentary after only 25 years, much has happened in the study of Paul since Morris’s work was completed. While E. P. Sanders wrote his Paul and Palestinian Judaism in 1979, there is nothing in Morris’s commentary which interacts with Sanders or his view on Judaism. In fact, Morris had a single paragraph in his introduction on the topic of Romans and Judaism and he cites only J. Christiaan Beker, Paul the Apostle. Morris’s Romans commentary is still valuable, but it reads like a commentary produced in the seventies and does not address some of the questions more recent scholars have put to the book of Romans….

The Introduction. The thirty-three page introduction covers the standard issues expected in a Romans commentary and Kruse does not stray far from a traditional view of when the book was written.…

The longest section of the introduction (14-22) is devoted to the New Perspective on Paul and how that perspective has understood the book of Romans. He primarily interacts with Wright and Dunn since they have adapted and extended Sanders’ initial insights and both have written major commentaries on Romans. Kruse does not engage in strawman tactics by using early statements which have been revised and clarified. Rather he cites the most recent work by Dunn and Wright (Justification, 2009). Kruse makes several conclusions on the New Perspective which guide his commentary.

First, he finds that the New Perspective has correctly pointed out Covenantal Nomism in some Second Temple Period literature, but legalism does appear in some texts (especially 4 Ezra). This seems to be the conclusion of many Pauline scholars who have read Sanders and attempted to work with the literature of the Second Temple Period. In many ways, the New Perspective is a helpful correction, but Sanders’ description of Second Temple Period Judaism is not the only form known from the sources (see the essays in Justification and Varigated Nomism, Baker, 2004).

Second, for Kruse, by the time Paul wrote Romans the phrase “works of the law” referred to the “whole law” not simply the “boundary markers” of circumcision, Sabbath, and food laws (176). After evaluating Wright and Dunn, Kruse concludes that when Paul says “no one is justified by works of the Law” (Romans 3:20) he means keeping the whole law, not simply the boundary markers. What I find missing here is any discussion of the phrase “works of the Law” in the Qumran literature, especially 4QMMT. Since he has a substantial excursus on the phrase “works of the law” (173-6), I would have expected some interaction with Qumran, especially since Wright emphasizes 4QMMT frequently. I think that this is implied by Kruse’s comment that the earlier use of the phrase primarily meant “boundary markers,” but the text is not referred to in the introduction or commentary.

Third, Paul was critical of ethnocentricism and exclusivism as well as legalistic tendencies of Second Temple Period Judaism. While Sanders is famous for saying that Judaism was not a legalistic religion in the Second Temple Period, Kruse understands that at least some Jews were in fact legalistic, and it is this legalism which Paul argues against in Romans.

Fourth, justification by faith “was articulated as part of his defense of the incorporation of Gentile believers into the people of God without having to submit to circumcision or take upon themselves the yoke of the Law” (21). This does not mean that Paul created “justification by faith” so that he could do Gentile ministry. Kruse cites Machen, “Paul was not devoted to the doctrine of justification by faith because of the gentile mission, he was devoted to gentile mission because of the doctrine of justification by faith” (20).

Fifth, Paul’s law-free gospel did not imply a denigration of the law. Rather, Paul argues that the Law functions as a great privilege for Israel, but one that ultimately increased sin and awareness of sin (29). Believers are free from the Law, but they are not free to live sinful lives. While they live under grace, the Law can have a “educative role for believers,” a guidance for godly living (29).

Last, with respect to the controversial topic of justification, Kruse states that his understanding of Paul is that justification is “God’s declaration in favor of the believer” (22). Justification is forensic, referring to “God’s decision as a judge to justify sinners (27). This sounds very much like the traditional view of Paul, although Kruse does admit that justification is not itself the whole gospel message. Wright frequently quips that his critics use the word justification to mean “total salvation,” Kruse seems to agree with this critique.

From the Eerdmans site:

Douglas J. Moo -- Wheaton College: “Among the many commentaries available on Romans today, Colin Kruse's Pillar volume stands out for its combination of academic depth and accessibility.”

Craig Blomberg -- Denver Seminary: “The Pillar New Testament Commentary is the finest up-to-date, mid-range commentary series on the market today. Kruse's volume maintains this high standard, meriting wide usage and a warm reception. Of particular help are numerous short additional notes on key exegetical and theological topics raised by specific passages.”

Paul W. Barnett -- Moore Theological College: “Kruse's Romans will take its place among the best of the best English commentaries on Paul's magisterial epistle.”

Steve Walton -- London School of Theology: “Leads readers through the depths of Paul's central letter lucidly, clearly, and readably. This accessible commentary will be greatly helpful to students, pastors, and teachers.”

Brendan Byrne, S.J. -- Jesuit Theological College: “Imbued with reverence for the Word and the theological depth characteristic of the evangelical tradition, Kruse's Romans is noteworthy for the consideration and respect it accords to the widest possible range of interpretations, from the patristic era to the present day.”

James R. Edwards -- Whitworth University: “Kruse's comprehensive commentary on Paul's supreme theological achievement is an anchor contribution to Pauline studies.”

David Instone-Brewer -- Tyndale House, Cambridge: “A wonderfully erudite and deceptively easy commentary that dodges none of the problems and deals with all the important issues.”

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