Considered among the most influential texts in the New Testament, St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans is the topic of a University course offered Aug. 27-Sept. 19 by Jerusalem-based scholar Gregory T. Tatum, O.P.
Holder of a doctorate in New Testament and Christian Origins from Duke University, Tatum is a professor since 2006 at the internationally ranked Ecole Biblique et Archeologique Francais in Jerusalem.
Romans directly addresses the key topic that threatened to divide the Roman church of Paul’s day: Were followers of Christ required to observe Mosaic Law, with its focus on the many rules of Israelite religious observance, or was adherence discretionary?
“And if obedience to the law is optional,” Tatum said, “what does that say about Paul – himself a former Jew – and his moral principles. Romans leaves us with questions that deserve close reading.”
The Romans course meets from 7 p.m. to 9:20 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, Aug. 27 through Sept. 19, in Rooms 103/104 in the Carr-Gottstein Building at Alaska Pacific University. Newman Observers are welcome. Undergraduate and graduate credit is available.
APU Religious Studies Professor Regina Boisclair, Newman Chair of Catholic Theology and herself a Pauline scholar, said Tatum offers students insight into the contentious, enigmatic apostle.
“Paul challenges us to consider God’s relationship with the people of Israel,” Boisclair said. “The Newman Chair is honored to host a researcher as fine as Father Greg, a friend and colleague.”
Romans is the sixth book of the New Testament and dates to 55 or 56. It probably was written while Paul was in Corinth preparing for his mission to Rome.
Tatum will also be delivering a public talk tonight, Aug. 20, starting at 7 p.m. in the Grant Hall Theater at APU. Titled “Freedom of the Glorious Children of God,” the lecture considers themes of liberation and embodied glorification.
Founded in 1959, APU is a student-centered private university committed to experiential learning for personal, moral and spiritual growth. APU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges.