Reviews - What do customers think about Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament: The Sarum Lectures 1960-1961?
Roman Society and Roman Law in the NT Jan 17, 2008
Although I have not yet finished it, I thought this book deserves to have some preliminary remarks made in its favor, seeing that there are no reviews for this book yet on this site.
This is a scholarly work. It is impeccably well-researched and documented, and the author's reasoning is judicious and measured. The book is derived from a series of lectures by its author on Roman law found in the NT. It discusses the Roman law involved in Paul's encounters with Roman officials (and Greek communes under Roman administration) and the events surrounding the condemnation and Crucifixion of Christ, and it also examines the historian Luke for accuracy vis-a-vis the conclusions of recent scholarship in the field of Roman imperial law.
It is a small book, but its size is inversely proportional to its weight. It is useful for the Christian who wishes to inform his understanding of the NT Sitz-im-Leben as it relates to the juridical aspects of the narrative. It should be a part of every Christian's library, but it also valuable to the student of the period or of Roman law in general, irrespective of his religious beliefs.
I have no regrets investing in this one. It's also just a plain old interesting read. Its numerous citations to other works in this field will prove useful to anyone who is interested in this subject.
Note- I plan on rereading this one, once I have finished it. That is a testament to both its detail and its worth. Although being somewhat literate in Latin and Greek would help the reader, the author does provide translations much of the time.
Why only 4 starts then? Well, let's call it 4.75. I ding it a quarter star simply because, as an adaptation from lectures, the flow is not as smooth as the reader might like. The reader can slog a while between natural divisions or breaks, wishing for a new chapter or at least a subheader so he can bookmark it until his next sitting, but that speaks more to our modern preference for reading in sprints than it does to the merits of this book, I suppose.
But let me close with this: if you have any interest at all in the study of the NT, or of Roman Law for its own sake, your library is incomplete until you acquire Sherwin-White's magisterial treatment on Roman Law in the NT.