Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2010.
In this new and provocative book, Andrew Perriman argues that the way forward for the church in the post-Christian, post-postmodern West is to reclaim a historically situated understanding of the Christ faith.
His book is an attempt to read Paul's letter to the Romans fettered, yes incumbered [these are my words not his], by all its historical particularity. While admitting such an approach will "set limits to the dogmatic and pastoral significance of the letter" [and this fact will no doubt concern many], he believes it "opens up interesting possibilities" for solving or at least soothing the church's present self-identity crisis in an age much like that of Paul's when "it is no longer possible (or desirable) to represent the victory of YHWH over the gods of the nations through various forms of political, social, and cultural dominance that made up Christendom" (p. 10).
There is likely much in this book to critically assess and, truth be told, I have not read this book "analytically", in Adler and Van Doren's terminology. The best I've done thus far is a "superficial reading". Still Perriman's hermeneutical intuition is correct in my view and I think the following quote is worth the price of book:
Because the narrative is bounded both geopolitically and temporarlly, because it proceeds the fulfillment that came to be interpreted in accordance with the overweening intellectual self-confidence of Western civilization, we would do well to disable the universalizing assumptions that we bring to the text and, in the interests of exegesis, re-contextualize ourselves--to the point that we come to share Paul's necessarily myopic outlook and limited horizon, to the point that the fate of national Israel matters more to us than the theoretical relationship of the Law to faith, to the point that we are more troubled by the prospect of a pagan backlash than by the suspicion that others have not rightly understood justification theory (p. 9).
Wow! Read that again. And again. Read it several times. Surely wiser words have rarely been spoken in contemporary Pauline studies.