James Harrison’s Reading Romans with Roman Eyes is a fine addition to the Paul in Critical Contexts series. Harrison’s work provides a useful addition to socio-cultural analyses of Romans, by setting the letter in the context in which it was read and inviting consideration of how Rome itself shaped the perspective of its readers. The attention to detail and the archaeological data, both small and large-scale, takes recognised honour/shame categories, which sometimes appear nebulous, and gives them a concrete (at times, literally) form.
[T]hese materials provide an integrated and illuminating study of Romans, deeply informed by H.’s (Harrison) extensive engagement with epigraphic, archaeological, literary, and numismatic evidence.... It is impossible in a short review to do justice to the depth of these learned case studies. H.’s knowledge of the ancient evidence jumps off every page. At various points, H. draws attention to the extensive coverage that material evidence from Corinth has received in the interpretation of Paul’s Corinthian letters. Without ignoring previous contextual work on Romans, H. laments that similar study of “archaeological, inscriptional, iconographic, and numismatic” material from Rome has not shaped more studies of Romans (p. 383). He is to be commended for addressing this lacuna and pointing the way forward to more materially informed interpretations of Paul’s most famous letter.... [T]his is an excellent monograph that significantly advances the study of Romans, both through its proposed method and through its innovative interpretations of the letter arrived at through H.’s approach