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Fall Meeting 2012

November 2-3, 2012

How Should We Read Romans?

Tucson Room at Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP), Berkeley, California


Friday, Nov 2
2-5 pm - Paper Session
5-7 pm - Business Meeting, Social Time, Dinner (Cost for Dinner = $25, RSVP)
7-8:30 pm - Public Lecture, Mark Richardson (CDSP). He will speak on the millennial generation and the future of theological education. [Text of talk: pdf, docx]

Saturday, Nov 3
9–9:30 am - Continental Breakfast
9:30 am-noon - Paper Session


We will examine the book of Romans, and in particular Herman Waetjen's recent examination of Romans in his monograph The Letter to the Romans: Salvation as Justice and the Deconstruction of Law (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2011). For a description of the book and table of contents, visit the publisher's description. Herman has also made available the preface and Chapter 1 as a pdf [Link removed after meeting].

Herman Waetjen's position is that Biblical scholarship continues to pursue biblical interpretation in terms of the Cartesian subject/object split.  Ontologically that implies that the Bible has the distinctive character of the being of an actuality, the being of an object for scientific investigation.  The Bible is a “presence-at-hand.”  What is required for the establishment of validity in interpretation is the correspondence theory of truth, that is, coherence between the interpreter as subject and the biblical text as object.  The ontological identity that is imposed on the interpreter is the “I” of the Cogito, and therefore the “I” of the Sum, the “I am” of the interpreter is bracketed.  A post-modern “hermeneutics of disclosure” supersedes the subject/object relationship ontologically by transforming the biblical text into a “ready-to-hand” tool as an extension of the interpreter.  In the process the identity of the interpreter is shifted from the “I” of the Cogito to the “I” of the Sum drawing the everyday-utilized a priori understanding into the interpretation of the text and, therefore, for the first time actualizing the hidden possibilities of textual meaning.  “Possibility is higher than actuality!”  And this is what Paul Ricoeur designates as “the second naiveté” of interpretation.  The information derived from subject/object hermeneutics is not excluded but is naturally drawn into the interpretation of the text.

Paper Session - Friday, Nov 2, 2-5 pm
David Balch (PLTS) (pdf, doc)
Respondent is Jack Crossley, USC (pdf, docx)

Doug McGaughey (Willamette University) (pdf, rtf)
Respondent is Herman Waetjen (pdf, doc)

Discussion Session - Saturday, Nov 3, 10 am-noon

Led by Herman Waetjen. We will discuss two sections of Herman Waetjen's commentary on Romans:

    Romans 1:17 (especially in conjunction with Galatians 3:15-28). In many respect, this is the key to the entire commentary, particularly the interpretation of the enigmatic phrase, "from faith to faith," as it is translated by many versions.  The interpretation of that double prepositional phrase unlocks the meaning of Romans 4 and 5 and connects the faith/trust of Abraham with the faith/trust of Jesus Christ. [Link removed after meeting]

    Romans 9-11. This part intimates a new, second Exodus in Romans 9:17 that Jesus' death and resurrection signify and moves into the issue of how confession by the mouth and belief in the heart combine to produce the reality of a New Humanity, and then continues to the eschatological anticipated universalims of Gentiles and Jews collaborating to actualize God's justice in the world. [Link removed after meeting]