Mar 25, 2009

The Ending of Romans

One of the most difficult literary issues related to the Epistle to the Romans is the unity of the epistle, in particular the end of the epistle (i.e. chapters 15–16). Some have concluded that the content of chapter 16 is not original to this epistle. Namely, the number of personal greetings in the chapter appear to be out of place given the fact that at the time Romans was written Paul had never visited Rome and thus would not likely know so many people in the church there. Another issue is that some manuscript evidence suggests that there was more than one recension of the epistle. The problem is that different manuscripts place the doxology at the end of chapter 16, at the end of chapter 14, at the end of chapter 15, at the end of both chapters 14 and 15, and some do not include it at all. So, some have suggested that a shorter form that lacked the two final chapters (except for the doxology in 16:25–27) was in circulation at least by the second and third centuries. See this post
for. F. C. Baur's reasons for rejecting the ending and see this post for accepting the ending. For what its worth, I hold that Romans 15-16 are authentic and were originally part of the epistle for many of the same reasons in the second post noted above.

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