One of the most valuable uses of the reception history of biblical texts is the way it enables interpreters to see how specific exegeses of texts are tied to the hermeneutical framework within which they are read. Romans 1:3–4 presents an interesting and important test case. Modern interpretations tend to construe these verses primarily within a history-of-religions framework, seeking historical clues to support a particular version of an early, and most often adoptionist, Christology. Ancient interpretations, on the other hand, overwhelmingly read these verses as supporting a dogmatic construal of the two natures of Christ, using the text primarily to support the real humanity of Christ. Reception history allows one to see that both ancient and modern readings of Rom 1:3–4 are intimately related to their specific hermeneutical frameworks. This article suggests that the primary matrix of meaning for these verses is, in the first instance, Paul's own letter to the Romans, and it seeks to integrate these verses within Paul's broader argumentation in Romans.

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