Katherine Grieb’s The Story of Romans: A Narrative Defense of God’s Righteousness is reviewed by Charles B. Cousar:

Instead of reading the text as ‘a compendium of theology’ or as a treatise on faith and works, Grieb finds Romans to be a convincing defense of God’s righteousness rooted in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. While there may have been multiple reasons for writing the letter (she lists eight), Paul’s basic theological task was to affirm the impartiality of God, while at the same time reassuring Jewish Christian readers that God’s covenant with Israel was irrevocable. God was not going back on the promises made to the covenant people. Accordingly, Rom 9:11 takes center stage in the argument.

One critical point that Cousar makes is:

If there is a problem with the book, it has to do with the lack of definition regarding story. What constitutes a story? Must it have a beginning and ending and a plot? What is the relation of the story to nonstoried elements in the text? Does a single word such as deliverance necessarily trigger in one’s mind an account of the exodus of Israel from Egypt? If personal holiness is in fact depicted in Rom 8 as a weapon against unrighteousness, how does it reflect the story of Gideon and his victory over the Midianites (Judg 7), as Grieb proposes? How are the little stories incorporated into the big story of the gospel? (A recent collection of essays by a group of British scholars wrestles with these and other narrative questions in the epistles: Narrative Dynamics in Paul: A Critical Assessment, edited by Bruce Longenecker).

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