Peter Abelard wrote his Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans in the mid-1130s, toward the end of his life, while teaching in Paris. Filled with questions on topics such as redemption, grace, and original sin, the commentary demonstrates the growing interest of urban scholars in applying dialectic to the study of Sacred Scripture. Abelard's analysis of some of these topics contributed to his second condemnation at the Council of Sens in 1140.
The commentary is in many respects quite orthodox; Abelard presents himself as a devout Christian seeking to refine Christian teaching and strip away centuries of accretions that had obscured the deeper, original truths. This is particularly the case in the famous question on redemption, in which Abelard demonstrates critical flaws in traditional theories of redemption while affirming the salvific effect of Christ's death. Other passages deal with subjects such as the Trinity and intention—also matters of controversy—and the ethics of love for God and neighbor. Abelard discusses love of neighbor at length no less than three times.
Despite its importance and the frequent references made to it by modern scholars, this commentary has never before been translated into English in its entirety. This volume, which includes an extensive introduction, fills this gap, thus providing a needed contribution to medieval scholarship.
"…throughout the entire work Cartwright's English translation is very good and reliable… make this long and at times unwieldy text suitable for reading and/or classroom use. Thus the translator identifies where a question begins, and at time even distinguishes between the question-part and the answer-part... Cartwright's careful translation of the Commentary has made clear... is that Abelard's biblical commentaries strike at the heart of his Theologies, so that these, as well as his Ethics, should preferably be read in tandem with his exegetical treatises."~Willemien Otten, The Journal of Medieval Latin