Romans Interpreted : A Comparative Analysis of the Commentaries of Barth, Nygren, Cranfield and Wilckens on Paul´s Epistle to the Romans

Abstract: This thesis deals with the problem of how to explain different interpretations of Paul's Epistle to the Romans in the four contemporary commentaries of Karl Barth, Anders Nygren, Charles Cranfield and Ulrich Wilckens. The purpose of this study is to put forward and analyse the different interpretations given by the commentators and to examine some ways in which these differences may be explained.The differences analysed primarily concern central theological issues. A detailed description of the four different interpretations of Romans is given on three levels: (i) concerning Romans 7, (ii) concerning some theological themes in Romans and (iii) concerning some general remarks on Romans which are important for the interpretation of the Epistle.Different kinds of interpretations are defined by the development of a theory of interpretation which focuses on the arguments supporting the commentators' choices of interpretation. The different interpretations of Romans are explained by reference to the commentators' pursuit of different combinations of kinds of interpretations and by the contents of their arguments. Explanations are also found in their pursuit of different combinations of purposes. Their views of the contents of Christian faith, revelation and the Bible also explain the different interpretations. Special attention is paid to a fundamental lack of clarity in the commentaries concerning the relation between reconstructive and constructive interpretations, the problem of application.The commentaries are used as examples of biblical interpretation to arrive at a detailed knowledge of the complex process of interpretation. Distinctions are developed concerning kinds of interpretations, kinds of purposes and different views of revelation and the Bible

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