Strong and the Weak
Romans 14.1-15.13 in Context
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
This 1999 book situates Romans 14.1-15.13 in the context of first-century Roman thought, using the lenses of asceticism (especially vegetarianism), superstition and obligation. It also seeks to situate this section of Romans within the letter as a whole, and concludes by arguing that the section illustrates the theme, or primary topos, of the letter: that Paul, his gospel, and those who follow it are not shameful. Contributions to Romans research surface where this book examines the terms 'strong' and 'weak' in light of their use within Roman social discourse; identifies the Roman social value of obligation throughout the letter as a key element both within Paul's self-understanding and in his ethical teaching; raises previously unrecognized implications of the letter's occasional nature for how we read and use Romans; and traces the topos of not being ashamed through the letter and back to its roots in the LXX.
"...the study advances our understanding of this much-debated problem by situating the apostle's appeal in the context of his intended readers' likely cultural setting, concentrating on the realities of social stratification, religious praxis, and moral discourse prevailing in first-century Rome." Walter T. Wilson, The Journal of Religion "For most readers...Reasoner's monograph helps move Paul's almost monolithic Romans from the stratosphere of early Christian theology...into the religious and social context of both early Christianity and first century Roman religious life." Bryn Mawr Classical Review "This is an important work for anyone studying Romans...Moreover, it very useful for anyone studying Roman culture." Joural of Bibilical Literature