in Hermeneia

by Robert Jewett

4.73 Rank Score: 5.99 from 10 reviews, 3 featured collections, and 10 user libraries
Pages 1000 pages
Publisher Fortress Press
Published 11/1/2006
ISBN-13 9780800660840


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joshuajoyp joshuajoyp August 9, 2020
Had a copy of this commentary. It was exhaustive and self sufficient even for a deep study. Though quite technical, it can be adapted for devotional study with self input of the reader.
Paul Paul August 2, 2019
This is an exhaustive commentary that is now the new gold standard in the English language for scholarly depth. It argues that the point of Romans is to lay the groundwork for Paul's planned mission to Spain and that its main themes are an inversion of imperial Roman values (honour/shame, civilised vs barbarian) and practicing radical hospitality. Despite this very "non-theological" focus, Jewett's learning and exegetical skill mean that in many places he provides satisfying theological interpretation too.
Nijay K. Gupta Nijay K. Gupta June 7, 2019
Famously, Jewett worked on this commentary for a quarter of a century. His expertise is in socio-historical contextualization of biblical texts. The series is critically acclaimed—and this volume is very important indeed—but pastors should know the Hermeneia series is self-described as non-confessional and does not generally take interest in modern application (though there are occasional exceptions). [Full Review]
Robert M. Bowman Jr. Robert M. Bowman Jr. December 11, 2016
Standard liberal commentary, a massive work drawing heavily on ancient literature, making full use of new critical methods, and treating Romans more culturally and ideologically than theologically. [Full Review]
Marcus Maher Marcus Maher December 13, 2008
Hermeneia is a series for academics, hoping to bring the latest and best critical scholarship to bear fruit in interpretation. One thing that distinguishes this series from the ICC, which is, in my opinion, its main ‘competitor’, is that this series tends to focus heavily on rhetorical criticism. Jewett’s commentary is in that vein. It is not, though, exclusively a commentary on the rhetoric. It almost is a perfectly well rounded commentary, utilizing many tools to achieve its interpretation of the text.

Things I liked:

Jewett gives, by far, the most helpful and most thorough background to Romans. It was not merely information for information’s sake. He did an excellent job of showing the impact of the background (especially the section on Spain) on the interpretation of the text.

The structural comments and discussion of rhetorical features was impeccable. Jewett was thorough and well argued. I appreciated this because it made his results testable. He then uses his rhetorical analysis to drive his exegesis.

No commentary on Romans is as thorough in textual criticism. Jewett attempted to give every single variant found in the manuscript tradition for Romans, his assessment of its originality, and what may have been the cause for the variant (e.g., scribal error, ideological alteration, etc.).

Jewett is also thorough on issues of grammar and lexicography, sometimes even more so than Cranfield. For a commentary whose focus isn’t on grammar, the amount of information you get is generous.


Jewett states that theologizing is not his goal in writing the commentary, and I understand that. That does not need to be the goal of the commentary. I feel at times, though, that his interpretation went astray because he did not consider the theological framework of the text. This led to an overly situational reading of Romans.

He could have done without using feminine pronouns to refer to God the Father.

Overall Evaluation:

I give Jewett 4.5 stars. The vast majority of the commentary is extremely helpful. As a technical aid to the text one could not find a better commentary (even Cranfield’s). If he had framed things a bit more theologically, it would have received a fill five stars. Pair it with Schreiner and you’ll be off to an excellent start in studying Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007. Pp. lxx + 1140. Hardcover. $90.00. ISBN 0800660846. Friedrich W. Horn Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz Mainz, Germany Wer die Publikationen Robert Jewetts zum Römerbrief aus den vergangenen 25 Jahren aufmerksam verfolgt hat, wird bereits eine Vorstellung von der Zielsetzung und dem Profil dieses neuen Kommentars haben. Bereits 1982 stellte Jewett in einem Beitrag in der Zeitschrift Interpretation den Römerbrief als Ambassadorial Letter vor. Große Abschnitte dieser frühen Publikation sind einschließlich der damals verfassten Anmerkungen über mehrere Seiten hinweg wortwörtlich in die Einleitung dieses neuen Kommentars übernommen worden. Robert Jewett ist demnach seiner früh angelegten Linie treu geblieben und hat versucht, die einmal getroffenen Entscheidungen in der durchgehenden Kommentierung des gesamten Briefes als sachgemäß zu bekräftigen. Wie nähert man sich als Leser einem so voluminösen Werk von weit über eintausend Seiten? Der Blick in das Inhaltsverzeichnis zeigt sogleich, dass die rhetorische Disposition des Römerbriefs in Jewetts Kommentar einen eigenen Weg geht. Nach der umfangreichen Probatio (Röm 1,18–15,13) bietet 15,14–16,24 die Peroratio (‚conclusion’), auf die hin der ganze Brief angelegt ist. Diese Einschätzung wird durchaus von etlichen Exegeten geteilt, von anderen jedoch radikal zurückgewiesen, da sie in 15,7–13 die Peroratio und in 15,14–16,23 den Briefschluss erkennen. Sodann lassen die Überschriften der vier Beweisgänge innerhalb der Probatio erkennen, dass die Vorstellung, die antike Kultur orientiere sich an Schande und Ehre (shame and honor) für Jewett fundamental ist und er die Botschaft des Evangeliums im Römerbrief als eine Überwindung dieses Gegensatzes begreift. [Full Review]
Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007. Pp. lxx + 1140. Hardcover. $90.00. ISBN 0800660846. James D. G. Dunn University of Durham Durham, United Kingdom Robert Jewett’s commentary on Romans is one of the finest to have appeared in modern times. Most commentators follow a similar pattern and, if truth be told, often simply take over source references and cross-references from their predecessors. Indeed, when writing a commentary on a text such as Romans, it can be a wearisome business having to trail through predecessor after predecessor all saying much the same thing, shifting the chairs round the table, and moving the bowl of flowers, but not much else! With Jewett’s commentary, however, one can be sure that nothing is secondhand. In the twenty or so years of working toward this great commentary he has approached the whole and the individual parts with a freshness that has often produced genuinely new material to help illuminate particular texts and that has brought a fine maturity of judgment to controverted points of exegesis. Even in surveys of earlier views and summaries of particular debates his writing has a sharpness of observation and critique that is never less than a stimulus and pleasure to engage. The double-column bibliography is thirty-six pages in length and the introduction more than ninety pages. It explains the approach taken (a sociohistorical and rhetorical commentary) and reviews in detail text-critical issues (he is skeptical of textual emendations) and the chronological and compositional circumstances (the letter was probably drafted in Corinth in the winter of 56–57 or the early spring of 57). Central to Jewett’s interpretation is his belief that Phoebe provided the necessary funds for the writing of the letter and delivered the letter to the congregations in Rome, to be read to them by Tertius, Phoebe’s scribe. The rhetoric of Romans (“evangelical persuasion,” “ambassadorial letter”) is considered in considerable detail. [Full Review]