By John Mason Lock
While it’s not the earliest nor the longest book in the New Testament, there is a strong case to be made that Paul’s Letter to the Romans is the most important document in the New Testament. I recently finished a six-month reading project of more than 4,000 pages dedicated to understanding this vital book.
I wanted in particular to see what the great theologians and commentators of the church throughout history had to say about Romans. It is the longest letter Paul wrote and the one that seems least mired in addressing particular pastoral challenges. In Romans, Paul sets out to outline the gospel for a church which he had not founded and which he had never met. He says famously in the opening chapter, in what is arguably the thesis of the entire letter: “I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live’” (Rom. 1:16-17).
In the paragraphs below, I will give a brief description of each of the ten commentaries I read and a brief account of their relative strengths and weaknesses. I’ll review them in reverse chronological order, the order in which I read them. While the result is a longer-than-usual Covenant post, I hope that readers will use this as an encyclopedia to get the brief headline on some of the greatest commentaries ever written on Romans.
Fleming Rutledge, Not Ashamed of the Gospel, Eerdmans, 2007. 411 pp.
Description: This survey starts with a volume that cannot truly be classified as a full-fledged commentary. Fleming Rutledge is one of the best-known contemporary preachers and speakers in the Episcopal Church. She is a winsome advocate for “generous orthodoxy,” as her blog is called. Her magnum opus, decades in the making, is The Crucifixion. For readers who want to sample her thinking, this compendium of her sermons would be an excellent place to start. These sermons were not delivered in sequence, nor even in the same church. Rather, some date to her days as an assistant at Resurrection in New York City in the late 1970s and early ’80s, others come from interim positions she held, and still others from conference presentations. Her evolution as a preacher is evident, but what is also clear is that she has been a consistent expositor of the gospel of which Paul was not ashamed. It is refreshing to hear a contemporary preacher of such prominence speak with gravity and theological seriousness.
Strengths: This really would be a valuable book for the working preacher, wondering how to approach Romans from the pulpit. It also might be usefully read by the skeptic who is not sure whether Paul should be relegated to a secondary or even tertiary position in the New Testament, as someone who just does not quite fit the mores of our era. The ex-evangelical or the evangelical on the road to Canterbury might find much here to allow a recovery and retention of what was most useful in evangelicalism. Rutledge particularly shines in her treatment of Romans 9-11, where Paul reckons with the unbelief of the Jews. These three sermons, on a section of the letter that is typically ignored or neglected by most, could stand as a mini-exposition of her theology.
Weaknesses: Based on the lectionary readings, which are discontinuous, this volume cannot be styled a true commentary. Rutledge endeavors to make up for this deficiency by drawing attention to the surrounding passages that may have been omitted by the lectionary, but still, it misses some important passages. Most glaringly, she avoids altogether the question of same-sex relationships raised by Romans 1, saying in the foreword, “I do not believe that at present we are able to know the mind of Christ on this matter.” By skirting this question, Rutledge avoids an issue that will seem pressing to many readers.
C.E.B. Cranfield, International Critical Commentary: Romans. T&T Clark, 1975. 870 pp.
Description: Charles Cranfield was a professor of New Testament at the University of Durham, and successively, a Methodist and Presbyterian minister. He died in 2015. His commentary on Romans is certainly his magnum opus. Stretching to nearly 900 pages, it touches on almost every pertinent exegetical issue. Although somewhat dated, it is remarkable that it still lands near the top of many reckonings of the best modern commentaries on Romans. Cranfield, as is true of the series, assumes the reader has a grasp of original languages, but I would say that even the first-year Greek student would be able to follow the arguments (he glosses most of the Greek in one way or another), and the reader who has no acquaintance with Greek will still glean much good fruit from digging into this commentary.
Strengths: The lucidity of Cranfield’s presentation is perhaps the greatest strength of this commentary. In any given passage, he lays out the various possible interpretations and gives the supporting arguments for each position in a notably impartial manner. Only after laying out the entire field will he then give his view and the reasons for it. In the fraught interpretation of Romans 9:5, where Paul seems to call Jesus God (“of [the Israelites] as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen”), Cranfield lays out no fewer than six different interpretations for this half-verse in only six pages of text — a remarkable economy of words for so complex a subject! For the reader who wants to get a grasp of the Greek original in an accessible English translation, this is definitely the place to begin and maybe end as well.
Weaknesses: The evangelical scholar Tremper Longman in his survey of New Testament commentaries has high praise for this volume, but he does say, along with other critics, that Cranfield seems occasionally more interested in hearing what Barth has to say about Romans than about Romans itself. The great Swiss theologian Karl Barth not only wrote one of the seminal commentaries on Romans (see below), but also gave an extensive interpretation of Romans 9-11 in part of the Church Dogmatics (II.2 “The Doctrine of Election”). In his introduction to those chapters, Cranfield acknowledges his indebtedness to Barth and says it will be obvious to readers who know anything about Barth, but that he hopes he has not “followed him uncritically” (450). Readers of this commentary will have to decide for themselves how successful Cranfield has been in that effort.
C.K. Barrett, Harper’s New Testament Commentaries: Romans. Harper & Row, 1957. 287 pp.
Description: C.K. Barrett is another professor from the University of Durham. He published a number of commentaries on different New Testament books and has been called the greatest British biblical scholar of the 20th century. Published about 20 years before Cranfield, this is a much more accessible commentary than Cranfield (it’s a quarter of the length), but while Barrett cannot be as exhaustive in his analysis, the coherence of his argument is remarkable. Occasionally his prose even rises to sublimity, as in his discussion of Romans 3, where Paul concludes that all, both Jews and Gentles, are under judgment, having been revealed in the gospel to be guilty of sin:
Man’s primary responsibility is to recognize his own place in the universe, and to respond to his Creator in grateful and obedient creatureliness … He no longer [can use] religion as a means to establish rights over against God (81).
Strengths: In reading this commentary, I was struck by how Barrett was able to draw out salient points about Romans that were previously invisible to me. For example, he convincingly establishes the letter as a form of diatribe (i.e., that Paul is arguing with a real or imagined interlocutor). Barrett also draws out the eschatological context of the letter, the sense of urgency that Paul and other writers of the New Testament had that the church was in the final days and that the resurrection of Christ was proof of this. For this insight, Barrett is no doubt in debt to the great German scholar Rudolf Bultmann. For those from evangelical backgrounds, Barrett’s criticisms of Paul’s style might be jarring. He constantly reminds the reader that Paul was a human agent, even if divinely inspired, and that he was writing or more likely dictating with the result that Romans lacks the polish of formal prose but contains a vivid record of a man of fervid conviction.
Weaknesses: The greatest weakness of this commentary is not attributable to Barrett. The series of which it is a part (Harper’s New Testament Commentaries) was designed for the laity in both the university and the church. There are flashes of brilliance in Barrett’s exposition, but one would hardly want this to be the only commentary consulted, as it just too short to be exhaustive or even comprehensive.
Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans. Translated by Edwyn Hoskyns. Oxford Press, 1933. 537 pp.
Description: This commentary has been famously described as a “bombshell being thrown into the theologians’ playground.” Following his education in the liberal Protestant academies of his day, the Swiss-born Karl Barth returned to his native country to work as a pastor in a small village. There he began to reckon with the writings of John Calvin and the fullness of the New Testament witness. If it is true that God wills to make himself known through his Word, this revelation will carry an urgency that the cultural accommodations of Barth’s teachers could not stand. Those German professors infamously fell in line with the nationalistic propaganda of the Kaiser at the beginning of World War I. Long before then, Barth drafted the Barmen Declaration in response to the rise of the German National Socialism (Nazism), Barth saw clearly that there can be only one Lord (Kaiser) whom we worship, serve, and obey. Barth’s great commentary on Romans is his personal and theological reckoning with the truth that God wills to communicate himself in his Word.
Strengths: There is a freshness of thought and vivacity to Barth’s writing that is still gripping more than a century since its first publication. Barth is never satisfied with mere historical inquiry — he wants to let the Word speak to us today because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). In Romans 9-11, for example, the chapters which deal with the unbelief of Israel, Barth ingeniously turns this on its head by arguing that in our present circumstances, these chapters apply most obviously to the unbelief of the institutional church and of our own unbelief. Barrett captures something of the power of this commentary when he says in the introduction to his own commentary (see above) that if he remains and continues to be a Christian, it is due “in large measure to [this] book” (vi). This is the unusual kind of commentary that one might want to re-read or even keep on a nightstand.
Weaknesses: The fact that this was composed during a “liminal” stage in Barth’s thinking makes for this book’s great strength but also its greatest weakness. There are moments where Barth seems more interested in Kant and Kierkegaard than in St. Paul. Following its publication, Barth departed for the academy, which he would never leave again and where afterward he would compose his magnum opus, the Church Dogmatics. Thus, we see that in the commentary many of his insights will continue to be touchstones of his later theological thinking, while other parts will evolve and change (e.g., his focus on Kant and Kierkegaard). The commentary is not, in short, Barth’s final word on the Epistle. He has an extended analysis of Romans 9-11 in his 500-page presentation of the doctrine of election in the Church Dogmatics II.2, and there are numerous other exegetical passages in the Dogmatics about other parts of Romans. A reader would want to turn to these passages to find Barth’s mature thinking about Romans, even if one could not read them as a unified commentary.
John Calvin, Epistle to the Romans. Translated by John Owen. Baker, 2003. 576 pp.
Description: John Calvin is the quintessential Reformed theologian, and this is the quintessential evangelical Protestant commentary on Romans. First published in 1539, the commentaries of Calvin are the foundation of his theology. The more famous Institutes of Christian Religion are intended merely to be a synthesis of what he lays out in his biblical commentaries, and if we believe Calvin, Romans is the most important book of the Bible: “when any one understands this Epistle, he has a passage open to him to the understanding of the whole Scripture” (xxiv).
Strengths: In the preface, Calvin argues that the principal merit of any biblical commentary is to be short and clear: “the chief excellency of an expounder consists in lucid brevity” (xxiii). I would say that Calvin fairly accomplishes that goal in his commentary on Romans. He does not dwell excessively on any one passage, nor does he attempt to give a range of possible interpretations like Cranfield. This is about as vanilla a commentary on Romans as one could wish for, but there is something workaday and useful about vanilla. If you had to consult only one commentary on Romans, this might be it. The preacher who was merely looking for a good nugget or a quick interpretation for a Sunday lection could profitably use Calvin’s commentary.
Weaknesses: To me the greatest defect of this commentary is also the greatest defect of Calvin’s theology, which is his insistence on double predestination (that is, that God not only elects some to heaven but others to hell) and his rejection of all natural contingency (God has foreordained all earthly events, not only what pertains to salvation but even the quotidian and material). Calvin’s treatment of predestination is most prominently featured in Romans 9-11, which deals with the unbelief of Israel, but even if one is going to reject Calvin’s position, we have to reckon with the significant influence that Calvinism has had on historic Anglicanism, and furthermore, if Calvin is wrong in his reading of Paul in Romans 9-11, we need to reckon with what exactly Paul is saying in these difficult chapters (see Fleming Rutledge above, who both acknowledges her indebtedness to Calvin and corrects some of his greatest excesses). It seems to me that the doctrine of double predestination is the Protestant equivalent of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception: that is, it is a teaching based on the deductions of human logic rather than the intent of Holy Scripture.
Martin Luther, Lectures on Romans. Translated by Walter Tillmanns & Jacob Preus. Concordia Publishing House, 1972. 526 pp.
Description: As famous as Romans was in Luther’s life and conversion (the “righteousness of God”), this commentary was not discovered until the 19th century. Luther wrote a classic preface to Romans that is an excellent introduction to the Epistle — it was this preface that John Wesley heard on the night he felt his heart “strangely warmed.” But these lectures are essentially Luther’s teaching notes for his students that were delivered in 1513, four years before he posted the 95 theses on the door in Wittenberg. For the class, Luther printed the Vulgate version of this Epistle with wide margins and big spacing. In between these lines his students were to write Luther’s short explanations of the text, with an emphasis on language and exegesis. These are the “Glosses” that form the first 130 pages of this book. The remainder of the book is his “Scholia,” the extended meditations and reflections on the meaning and implications of Romans.
Strengths: In the Scholia we find Luther’s most moving reflections on the power of this epistle. You can almost hear Martin the professor, thundering away, moved alternately by the grace of God and the unbelief of the church. Barrett evoked the power of this commentary when he described his own reading of this text while still a young professor: “I read through Luther’s Scholia on Romans with a sustained enthusiasm and even excitement which I never thought 400 large pages of medieval Latin could evoke.” And he concludes that while Luther is “less sound in detail” than Calvin, he wrestles at a “greater depth” and manages to take the reader to “the heart of the matter” (vi).
Weaknesses: It probably would be wrong to think of this book as a commentary. Its format makes it unsuitable for the preacher or teacher who may wish to dip in and see what Luther has to say about any one particular passage. As with Barth, because Luther’s thoughts were still very much in development, he sometimes does not fit the caricature of the Protestant reformer — this is a Luther who has a high view of the sacraments and the priesthood (he’s still a monk when writing and delivering these lectures). He also speaks highly of Dionysius, the sixth-century neo-Platonic philosopher whose works purport to be the first-century disciple of St. Paul, and whom Luther would later strongly denounce.
Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans. Translated by F.R. Larcher, O.P. Aquinas Institute, 2012. 424 pp.
Description: The 19th-century introduction to Calvin’s commentary on Romans claims that there were no full commentaries on Roman written before the Reformation. One can only hope this egregious claim rose from ignorance rather than malice, as Aquinas has written a very careful analysis of the entire letter. The Aquinas Institute is in the process of publishing the entire corpus of Aquinas in parallel English and Latin editions. There is no introduction or index, but if you simply want to know what Aquinas said about Paul’s most important letter, this is an ideal and inexpensive resource. In addition to a steady stream of references to “the Philosopher” (Aristotle), Aquinas refers even more frequently to St. Augustine, reminding us that Aquinas is fundamentally Augustinian in his theology.
Strengths: In the stereotypical style of a scholastic commentary, Aquinas makes his way systematically verse by verse, line by line. There seems to be no major point of exegesis that he does not touch upon. To my way of thinking, this commentary would be excellent for anyone looking for Aquinas’s take on a particular verse. There are points in the commentary that I found quite compelling. There are entire sections that Aquinas seems into dig deeper because Romans was touching on debates of his age. His treatment of original sin in Romans 5 and predestination in 9-11 stand out as exceptional examples of this. Commenting on Romans 7, Aquinas deftly offers parallel interpretations that in his wrestling with sin Paul was speaking in his own person or alternately of human nature apart from grace, although (following Augustine) he says the former is the “better” interpretation.
Weaknesses: This is not an easy commentary to read. It is extremely dense in thought. A meditative reading of it would be advisable. Aquinas seems so focused on the micro-issues that I sometimes got the feeling that he was missing the big picture, with the result that the commentary felt like a stepping-down of the voltage that Paul’s letter normally carries. I am inclined to agree with Josef Pieper, who writes in his Guide to Thomas Aquinas that his commentaries reveal the “weakness of scholastic dialectic. … The Biblical texts are for the most part historical utterances and not systematic logical treatises.” For this reason, the commentary can probably be best used in referencing select verses or passages.
Augustine of Hippo, On the Spirit and the Letter. Translated by John Burnaby. Westminster Press, 1955, pp. 182-250.
Description: In startling contrast to Aquinas, St. Augustine’s The Spirit and the Letter captures something of the high-voltage situation contained in Romans. Although not a line-by-line commentary, it is amazing how much of Romans is quoted and interpreted in this relatively short text. Augustine was writing in response to the rise of the Pelagian controversy, and was particularly dealing with the question of whether a Christian can achieve perfect righteousness in this life. Augustine says it is theoretically possible (God can do anything) but no one has in fact achieved such a condition. In addition to the fact of human imperfection, Augustine confronts the Pelagian teaching that the help of God’s grace which humanity needs is merely the revealing of the law. If such were the case, where would this leave the work of the Spirit and the power of the resurrection? Do we just need to know the rules better, or do we need a renovation, to have our desires reordered from the inside out? To my way of thinking, Augustine successfully establishes the terms of human sin and redemption outlined by Paul.
Strengths: If someone were limited by considerations only of energy and time in picking a commentary to read on Romans, this would be an excellent text to capture something of the power of what Paul wrote in Romans. It is short enough that it could be read in a few hours, but substantial enough to give the inquirer a framework for understanding the entire epistle. Augustine will conclude — rightly, I think — that the sole concern of Romans is the grace of God that, as he writes, “the good life is the gift of God,” which cannot be achieved by human effort.
Weaknesses: Ironically, the title for this work is taken from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians — “the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life” (3:6). Contemporary exegesis said that what Paul meant in that dichotomy was the literal interpretation of the Bible verses its “spiritual” meaning. Augustine realized that the church fathers could be wrong, and that this is not at all what Paul meant. The letter is the letter of the law — the “written code,” as the Revised Standard Version puts it, and the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ who gives the believer a heart of flesh for a heart of stone. All of that to say that Augustine gives a solid framework for understanding Paul and Romans, but I wonder if alone it would suffice for the working pastor or lay Bible-study leader to interpret Romans for others. You almost have to have read more on Romans to appreciate the brevity and power of what Augustine writes.
John Chrysostom. Homilies on Romans. Translated by Morris, Simcox, & Stevens. Eerdmans, 1979. pp. 331-574.
Description: John (c. 347-407) gained the moniker Chrysostom from his eloquent and persuasive preaching (Chrysostom means “golden mouth”). Born in Syria, he spent most of his life in that area, except when he was briefly the patriarch of Constantinople before he fell into disfavor by the ruling elite. Formed in the Antiochene school of exegesis, John eschewed allegorical interpretation and is famous for his homiletic method of spending half the sermon explaining the text and in the other half giving moral applications. This series of homilies was preached in Antioch, a metropolitan city of the time, which must have given the ascetic preacher much fodder for the pulpit. It’s not hard to imagine how the direct style evidenced in these sermons got him in trouble later on. The commentary consists of 32 homilies that cover every verse of Romans. A long sermon manuscript in my context reaches to 2,000 words. The short homilies in this series are 3,000 words in translation and go up to 11,000+ words. The great patristic scholar Johannes Quasten estimates that some of these homilies would take two hours to deliver! One wonders: Who was the original audience of these sermons? Does the text as we have it represent a transcript of actual sermons, or was it further developed from a homiletic core? Either way, this is certainly one of the jewels among patristic commentaries.
Strengths: What would certainly stand out to the contemporary reader is the prophetic voice found in these sermons. Chrysostom denounces excessive and ostentatious riches. He repeatedly hammers the point that neglecting the poor is neglecting Christ. The sermons were clearly given in a context where the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life, and temptations of the world were a constant, and not limited to the world “out there” but very much compromising the Christian community as well. The pastoral spirit of these sermons would immediately be identifiable by those who preach in our own modern, secular context. Chrysostom’s moral applications are nearly always on point. Less often so is his exegesis. Chrysostom is particularly to be commended for his sensitivity to the rhetorical dimensions of Romans. It is clear that the student of secular learning has applied his skills to considering the interrelations between passages.
Weaknesses: St. Augustine believed that Chrysostom was not a “Pelagian” and cited several passages in Homily 10 as proof positive. Despite Augustine’s defense, some of Chrysostom’s exegesis is doubtful at best, and in my reading could lead to Pelagian conclusions. In his treatment of Romans 9, for example, Chrysostom argues that what Paul calls predestination is really just God’s foreknowledge of human merit, an argument that implies salvation is earned by human merit, despite what is said in Homily 10. Perhaps most disturbing for modern readers will be Chrysostom’s anti-Judaism. Chrysostom is far from unique in the history of the church, but the utility of these sermons is marred by this prejudice, and his anti-Judaism leads him to incorrect exegesis that borders on willful misunderstanding of the text. In his treatment of the figure of the olive branches in Romans 11, Chrysostom says that the Jewish branches broke themselves off, showing the power of “free-will.” This reading obscures the whole thrust of the image that it is God who grafts in the branches, whether wild or natural, and thus we cannot control or tame God’s mercy.
Origen. Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. Translated by Thomas Scheck. CUA Press, 2001. 411 pp. & 340 pp.
Description: The Commentary on Romans by Origen (c. 185-254) is historically a starting point for analysis of Romans. As the translator states, “The history of detailed exegesis on Paul’s Letter to the Romans begins with the Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans by Origen” (1). English readers have had access to this text for only 20 years. Given its historical importance, it’s hard to believe that there was no translation before 2002. The commentary is decidedly not homiletical. This is, it is not a record of preaching or teaching delivered orally, but a studied verse-by-verse analysis. Also distinct from Chrysostom is the fact that the threat of a morally compromised Christian community seems remote. This is a decidedly pre-Constantine world in which Christianity is not assumed. Origen stands at the head of the Alexandrian approach to Scripture, which emphasizes allegory and the “spiritual” meaning of the Bible, while Chrysostom represents perhaps the best of Antiochene school that emphasizes its literal and historical meaning.
Strengths: It would be difficult to cite overall good features of Origen’s Commentary as a commentary. Its strengths lay in its historical importance. It is the first major commentary on Romans, and that in itself argues that the letter is worthy of in-depth analysis. The Cappadocian fathers compiled their favorite passages from the works of Origen into the remarkable collection, the Philocalia of Origen (not to be confused with the medieval Philocalia that is primarily an anthology of the church fathers on prayer). I could make a similar collection just on passages from this commentary. A sampling:
“Whatever each person worships above all else is his god” (77).
“Christ is the righteousness through which all become righteous; he is the truth through which all stand firm in the truth, he is the life through which all live” (205).
“The only just boasting is based upon faith in the cross of Christ, which excludes all boasting that derives from the works of the law” (229).
“It is the gift of God that we exist; it is the grace of the Creator who willed us to exist. In this way as well, if we receive the inheritance of God’s promises, it is the wage of divine grace and not of any debt or work” (259).
Weaknesses: This commentary is not easy reading. For all the recent romanticizing of pre-critical exegesis, I have never found Origen’s exegetical writings enjoyable to read. There are gaps in Origen’s treatment of certain passages, and other places, where, like Chrysostom, he seems to go off the rails, but unlike Chrysostom, Origen doesn’t have the moral exhortation to counterbalance some of the faulty exegesis. Many of Origen’s modern defenders (e.g., Jean Daniélou) note that Origen was writing in a period before the rise of theological uniformity. This led him into certain speculative excesses that later generations would condemn. I might add that in my reading of Origen, the clarity of exegesis was still in process so that some statements of Origen do not seem consistent with each other. During the Reformation, both Catholic and Protestant polemicists cited Origen for their view on justification. I’m inclined to conclude that Origen’s thinking was just not that consistent on a subject that only later generations would grasp with clarity, but that still does not distract from the reality that this is the first major commentary on Romans in the history of the Christian church.
If and when I were to read further into Romans, I would want to delve further into commentaries written by some of the great Anglican divines, like the 19th-century luminaries H.C.G. Moule, J.B. Lightfoot, and H.P. Liddon, and more contemporary authors like John Stott and N.T. Wright. Among the ancient commentaries, that of Pelagius (!) is quoted repeatedly by Cranfield, who despite his generally Reformed outlook, finds much to glean from this questionable source. It would be interesting to read some of the most recent work, such as the Anchor Bible’s two-volume commentary by the Roman Catholic scholar A.B. Fitzmyer, the pilgrim of the new perspective on Paul James Dunn, and the evangelical response to that school of thought in the commentary by Douglass Moo.
A Few Brief Conclusions
Oldest is not always best. The traditionalist in me would like to affirm that the old ways are the good ways. One can see a definite progression in the commentaries, so that in general the understanding of Paul and Romans becomes increasingly clearer with time. This is in part because we are always building on the work of those who have come before us, and without which we could not do our own work. Cranfield’s stands at the head of analytic commentaries for its comprehensiveness and clarity. The best of the older commentaries (like Luther’s and Augustine’s) appreciate the power of Paul’s letter. Franz Kafka is reputed to have said that the best books are like an ice axe on the frozen sea within. Surely, any commentator (or preacher, for that matter) who doesn’t recognize that Romans is such an ice ax does a disservice to Paul and to the church. Ultimately the goal of any preacher or teacher on Romans must be to let the Word of God stand clearly, unvarnished and wild.