We recently had the opportunity to speak with Charles Lee Irons about his impressively researched monograph, The Righteousness of God (Mohr Siebeck, 2015). Lee offered some keen insight during our interview concerning the New Perspective on Paul, the use of “righteousness” language in the NT and surrounding literature, the subjective/objective genitive debate, and the significance of the “old perspective” for the health of the church.[Read more…]
Search Results for: righteousness by faith
adj. — characterized by steadfast affection or allegiance (to someone or something).
How the faithful city has become a whore, she who was full of justice! Righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers.
Parts of speech can sometimes be difficult to identify. For example, apple seems like an obvious noun. But what about its usage in “apple pie”? Apple functions there as an adjective. This can make it difficult to find things. One Hebrew word that can express the adjectival meaning of “faithful” is a verb—ʾmn. What if I want to see only the times that word is used as an adjective? It would be difficult in traditional lexicons; however, the Bible Sense Lexicon is arranged by meanings and not by words. Occurrences of the Hebrew word ʾmn that express the meaning “characterized by steadfast affection or allegiance (to someone or something)” can be found by simply looking at the Bible Sense Lexicon entry for “faithful.”
What is the Bible Sense Lexicon?
Sense of the Day is based on content from Logos’ Bible Sense Lexicon, which organizes biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words by meaning based on a variety of semantic relationships. Sense of the Day provides examples of senses in context, along with insight into their application for theology and interpretation.
The Bible Sense Lexicon is a Logos dataset available in Logos 5 Gold and higher base packages. If you’re enrolled in the Logos Academic Discount Program, you can also find the Bible Sense Lexicon in the Biblical Languages base package. Take your studies even further by exploring semantic domains, engaging the biblical text like never before.
Learn more about the Bible Sense Lexicon.
Today’s guest post is by Dr. Jim West, pastor of Petros Baptist Church. Dr. West serves as professor of biblical studies at the Quartz Hill School of Theology. He has authored a number of books and articles and serves as language editor for the Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament, as well as language revision editor for the Copenhagen International Seminar. He blogs at zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com.
Adolf Schlatter was, without question, the most influential biblical scholar of his generation in his native Switzerland. At one point, he taught both Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann (neither of whom was very impressed with their conservative teacher). Schlatter wrote copiously—critical New Testament commentaries, as well as more popular studies on the Bible. He also wrote an introduction to the Bible, books on the history of philosophy, and specialized studies on nearly every question that arises in biblical studies.
He also wrote a volume along the lines of Our Daily Bread, which featured a biblical text with some devotional observations for each day of the year. He was a veritable walking encyclopedia on both the Bible and philosophy.
What set him apart from his students and his colleagues was the very practical approach he employed, even in his most technical works. He wrote far more for the church, as a scholar of the church, than he did for the academy, as a member of the academy. He was a churchman.
Here are few of the brilliantly insightful things he wrote:
It is absolutely clear: there can be no talk of man’s but only of God’s righteousness. Man is unrighteous, for the relation which he establishes towards God and man is enmity and a lie. Only what is peculiar to God and God’s activity is the righteousness which establishes fellowship. The genitive δικαιοσυνη θεου permits no relaxing.
Wir erlangen das Heil durch die Erfüllung unseres Dienstes.
Gott hat die Scham dem Menschen ins Herz gepflanzt als einen Wächter, der ihn gegen das Böse empfindlich machen soll.
In der Hand der Sünder ist auch die Gabe sündig. Nur in der Hand des Priesters ist das Opfer rein und wohlgefällig.
In case the reader wonders why the first quote is in English and the rest in German, I simply wish to make a point that only a small fragment of Schlatter’s work has ever been translated. But everything he wrote is worthy of translation. Schlatter’s works are an expansive woodland, scarcely traversed (especially in the English speaking world). Treasure waits in these woods for those brave enough to venture in.
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Logos Bible Software is currently undergoing a translation of Schlatter’s Faith in the New Testament. This exhaustive work is a thorough analysis of the Christian concept of faith, taking into account the Old Testament, Rabbinic, and other key first-century writings. It is a philological masterpiece par excellence, making its translation into English a great contribution to New Testament theological studies. The Logos edition will include the original German text along with the English translation.
Support the translation of Schlatter’s work, and pre-order your copy of Faith in the New Testament today!
Traditionally, dikaioumai, ‘to be justified’, has been understood in general as ‘to be put in right relation with God’. Arndt-Gingrich defines it: ‘to be acquitted, be pronounced and treated as righteous, and thereby become dikaios (righteous), receive the divine gift of dikaisunh(righteousness)’ (Cole, p. 80). It has to do with the individual sinner’s status before the holy God.
Dunn’s interpretation, however, is that ‘justification’ in Gal. 2.16 is ‘something Jewish’ and has to do with the covenant, to do with God’s chosen people. It is ‘God’s acknowledgement that someone is in the covenant’ (p.190), in particular, the acknowledgement that Gentile Christians, as Gentiles, are full members of the Elect (Gal. 3.28). Integral to the ‘people of the covenant’ is the fact of the corporate whole, the community. This interpretation comes from his understanding that ‘works of the law’ in Paul refers particularly, but not exclusively, to clean/unclean food regulations, circumcision and sabbath observance of the Law.
This essay is an attempt to examine whether Dunn’s radical interpretation holds in the extant letters of Paul. The obvious place to begin is of course Galatians, very likely Paul’s earliest letter where the word ‘justification’ is used.
In this letter Dunn’s thesis seems to be confirmed by five pieces of evidence. First is Paul’s lengthy exposition of the Abrahamic covenant in 3.6 through 4.7. Justification has to do with who are the ‘children (plural) of Abraham’ (3.7). Those who belong to Christ are ‘Abraham’s seed’ (collective singular; 3.29). Justification is to ‘receive the adoption of sons’ (plural; 4.5; cf. Rom. 9.4); to be ‘a son’ (collective singular) and therefore ‘an heir’ (collective singular; 4.7). In all these verses it is the corporate dimension (viz. the people of the covenant) that is dominant, not the individual.
Secondly, 3.26-28 is highly significant. 3.26 may be translated as ‘faith-children of God in the corporate whole that is the Body of Christ’ (Cole, p. 109). Also in 3.29a the literal ‘if ye be Christ’s’ may be paraphrased as ‘if you are part of Christ’s body’ (Cole, p. 111). Again the corporate dimension is implied.
Thirdly, 4.17, ‘They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.’ We need to ask: from what exactly did the Judaisers try to exclude the Galatians? The answer, in light of the context, seems to be from the company of the Elect, from membership of God’s covenant people.
Fourthly, we have Paul’s exposition of the two covenants in 4.21-5.1. Christians, both Jew and Gentile, are children of the ‘Jerusalem which is above’ which is ‘free’ (4.26); children of ‘(the covenant of) promise’ (4.28); children of the ‘free (woman)’ (4.31). They are, as it were, children of the covenant of freedom, though Paul does not use the term.
Finally there is the existence of the ‘Israel of God’ (6.16). ‘Israel is the covenant name of the elect race’ (Martin, p. 142). Inasmuch as there is an ‘Israel after the flesh’. So there is an ‘Israel of God’ that is the true Israel, God’s truly chosen people, comprising both believing Jews and Gentiles.
Acknowledgment of membership in the covenant is, however, not all there is to Justification. It is admittedly the primary aspect in Galatians. The traditional understanding of Justification as sins forgiven, acquittal and a right status, although secondary in this epistle, is nonetheless an important and integral aspect (see esp. 3.5,8,11). Even Dunn talks of ‘God’s verdict of acquittal’ (p. 194). Luther was not wrong after all. The truth of this matter of Justification is not a question of either/or but of both/and and what is primary and what is secondary in the particular epistle considered.
Two other secondary aspects seem to be intrinsic to Justification: live unto God (2.19) and life (3.21). In 2.19 Paul says ‘live into God’ is the result of being ‘dead to the law’. This death is through faith-union with Christ in his death (2.20). And the Christian’s righteousness is also through Christ’s death — in fact, the purpose of his death (2.21b). Therefore ‘live unto God’ is the result of, or is tantamount to, possessing ‘righteousness’. And in 3.21, ‘life’ and ‘righteousness’ are virtually synonymous. So ‘life’ may be the foremost meaning of ‘justified’ in 3.24. ‘Life’ to Paul is, of course, more than life as such (i.e. merely biological). In other words, to be justified, to be righteous in God’s sight, to have ‘righteousness’ is to live unto God, is to have the true life.
1 Cor. 1.30
‘But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:’
If we understand ‘righteousness’ as covenant membership it does not seem to fit in with the other terms, viz., wisdom, sanctification and redemption. It fits in well, however, if we understand it as a judicial right standing. So if we interpret the clause as ‘When we have Christ we have wisdom, right standing, holiness and release from bondage (i.e. freedom from the world and sin and evil)’, it makes good sense. Righteousness here therefore would mean primarily God’s declaration, through faith-union with Christ, that we are ‘in the right’ (legal status). It does not, however, exclude the nuances of declaration of covenant membership and election.
1 Cor. 6.11
‘And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God’.
In view of the context of judges, law courts and the catalogue of sins (vv. 9,10) ‘justified’ would be the traditional understanding as forgiveness of sins, acquittal and ‘a right standing’.
2 Cor. 3.9
‘For if the ministration of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory’.
‘Righteousness’ here is contrasted with ‘condemnation’; the primary meaning therefore would be acquittal/right status.
2 Cor. 5.21
‘For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’.
As the contrast is with ‘sin’ the ‘righteousness of God’ here would primarily, if not solely, mean the declaration of sins forgiven, acquittal and a righteous status. Alternatives such as ‘God’s covenant faithfulness’ and ‘covenant membership’ just do not fit in the context of the verse. The phrase therefore refers to God’s attribute rather than his activity.
Astounding as it may seem, Paul says we are declared as righteous as God! If humankind before the Fall was made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1.26,27) then the ‘righteousness of God’ given to the believer is but part of God’s programme of restoring humankind to the original condition of ‘divinity’.
The penal, substitutionary and vicarious nature of Christ’s death is quite clear in this verse.
The third chapter this epistle begins with Paul exhorting the Philippians to rejoice in the all-sufficiency of Christ and to be wary of the concision, ten katatomen (3.1-2). It reminds us of those who would constrain the Galatian believers to be circumcised. These troublers of the Galatians Paul wished that they be ‘cut off,’ apokopsontai (Gal. 5.12), with the nuances that they be castrated or mutilated or like leeches be removed. In contrast, Paul assures the Philippians that they are the true circumcision, he peritome (3.3). They are the true ‘covenant people of God inheriting the promises made to ancient Israel’ (Martin, p. 138).
Likewise the recurrence of ‘flesh’ in 3.3-4 reminds us of the theological importance of the word in the Galatian epistle (esp. Gal. 2.16,20; 3.3; 4.23,29; 6.12). In Paul’s listing of his seven credentials for confidence in the flesh (3.5,6), Martin notes that four are his ‘possessions by involuntary heredity’ and the other three ‘by personal choice and conviction’. The latter corresponds to the nuance of human effort of ‘flesh’ while the former to the nuance of human relationship/physical descent (i.e. Jewish distinctiveness and exclusivity; see Dunn, p. 199).
Apparently the advocates of circumcision on Gentile Christians were pretty much active.
If Galatians was written from Corinth during Paul’s second missionary journey (Acts 18.1-18a) and after the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) c. 50 AD and Philippians during Paul’s imprisonment in Ephesus (Acts 19), c.57 AD, then the difference would be just six or seven years and the ‘concision’ party that Paul warns the Philippians about would be same people who ‘troubled’ the Galatians or of the same broad group. This may also explain why in both letters the emphasis is on ‘covenant membership’ in the doctrine of Justification.
In Phil. 3.9 Paul turns to ‘the future day of judgment’. What matters then is that he may be found ‘in him’, i.e., that he is united by faith to Christ. He contrasts ‘mine own righteousness, which is of the law’ with ‘that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith’. ‘Mine righteousness, which is of the Law’ seems to mean covenant righteousness, that righteousness which comes from covenantal faithfulness, from compliance with the statutes of the Law, both moral and ceremonial.
The righteousness of God defined here is, as it were, an ellipse, the foci of which is the faith of Christ and the faith of the believer.
How then are we to understand ‘the righteousness which is of God by faith’ in Phil. 3.9? We have noted the uncanny similarity of the context with that of Galatians, which epistle is primarily about covenant membership. Further we may note Paul’s strong emphasis that believers are ‘the circumcision’, God’s covenant people in verse 3. So very likely ‘righteousness’ here signifiesprimarily God’s declaration that Paul is a member of God’s elect, a member of God’s covenant people on Judgment Day, although this includes forgiveness of sins and the juridical declaration of ‘acquittal/being righteous’.
The qualifier ‘by faith’, epi te pistei, shows that this ‘righteous’ status is received through grateful belief. It is therefore a gift from God. Hence the rendering of modern translations of ek theou dikaiosunen as ‘righteousness from God’ is not far off the mark.
The KJV’s rendering, ‘of God’, however, has the advantage that this gift of righteousness originatesin the righteousness, that is, the covenant faithfulness, of God, and is at one with the righteous (ethical) nature of God himself.
The gospel as set forth in these two verses is, as it were, two pieces of a three-piece Chinese treasure box. The outermost box is the gospel ‘concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom. 1.1,3). Inside this is the second: ‘the power of God unto salvation’ and the innermost box is ‘the righteousness of God’, that is, Justification. Contra N. T. Wright, therefore, the gospel is surely as much about Justification by faith as it is about his Son. In Romans, to say the least, Justification by faith is the heart of the gospel.
What does Paul mean by ‘the righteousness of God’? At face value it must mean the righteous (ethical) attribute of God. But how can this justify sinners? This puzzled and troubled the guilt-ridden Luther. ‘He could not understand why the apostle Paul talks of the “righteousness of God” as good news’ (Tomkins). He pondered day and night until he saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement “the just shall live by faith”. Then it dawned on him that it is ‘that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise’ (Shelley, p. 239).
If Luther had tried to understand the phrase as used in the Old Testament he would have arrived at the truth earlier. For in Isaiah (45.8-25; 55.6-13; 56.1; 61.10-11), Jeremiah (23.5-6; 33.15-16) and Daniel 9.16, ‘God’s righteousness is shown in making His people righteous…God must, by an inner necessity of His nature, do good to men: His “property is to have mercy and to forgive”’ (Dodd, p. 84). (Whist true, this has to be tempered by the absolute sovereignty of God, the seriousness and penalty of sin and his wrath toward sin.)
In Luther’s understanding, the core of the ‘righteousness of God’ is his grace and mercy toward the sinner. Justification would then mean primarily judicial declaration that the believer is ‘in the right’, is acquitted and has his sins forgiven. N. T. Wright contends, however, that the ‘righteousness of God’ in Romans refers to the ‘covenant-faithfulness of [Israel’s] God’ in which case Justification would mean primarily God’s declaration of ‘covenant membership’ of the believer. That is, it has ‘more to do with ecclesiology’. Contra Wright, however, if the ‘righteousness of God’ is the ‘power of God for salvation’ then the ‘righteousness of God’ has to do with soteriology and not ecclesiology. NEB also understands it as judicial/ethical, ‘God’s way of righting wrong’.
The emphasis in these two verses is on ‘faith’. Anticipating somewhat the interpretation in 3.21-23, ‘faith’ refers to both the faith of Christ and the faith of the believer. Surprisingly, the NEB margin is spot-on with its rendering of ‘from faith to faith’ as ‘It is based on faith (i.e. Christ’s faith) and addressed to faith (i.e. the believer’s faith)’ (NEB margin, parentheses mine).
‘Justified’ here is in opposition to ‘have sinned’ and ‘be judged’ (v. 12), and in a context of ‘law’, ‘accusing or else excusing’ and the Day of Judgment (v. 14-16). It must therefore mean ‘to be judicially acquitted’, ‘in the right’.
Paul’s teaching on the righteousness of God, justification and the Cross in Romans 3.19-26 is generally considered apart from its immediate context of 2.17-3.18. Romans 3.19-26, however, follows a lengthy critique of Jewish boasting and deeds of the law vis-à-vis Justification.
With verse 19 Paul reverts to the Law and the Jews. The Law tells the Jews that they are sinful ‘for by the law is the knowledge of sin’ (v. 20). With the Jews thus included in the company of sinners, ‘every mouth’ is ‘stopped and the whole world’ is ‘guilty before God’. From this Paul makes the very important assertion that ‘by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight’. This however is to state the truth negatively. He then proceeds to state it positively, but still in the context of the Law and the Jews.
‘The righteousness of God’ (vv. 21,22): Morris’ definition seems to fit rather well in these two verses, ‘a right standing that comes from God and is the gift of God’ (p. 34). In view of the emphasis on sin in the preceding verses (1.18-3.20), summarized in 3.9, ‘both Jews and Greeks are all under sin’, and 3.23, ‘for all have sinned’, the righteousness of God as his covenant faithfulness to Israel is not at all prominent.
Paul begins with the thesis that the righteousness of God is choris, ‘without’, the law (v. 21a). Simon Gathercole observes that the New Perspective’s reading of this is problematic. It does not, as propounded by NP scholars, signify God’s acceptance of Gentiles. Rather, ‘Paul is declaring that both Jew and gentile must receive justification apart from works of the Law, because neither is in possession of such obedience. Paul parallels “apart from the Law” not with those who are “within the Law” (3.19) but with “through faith”: he contrasts the ways of receiving the righteousness of God, not who is receiving it.’
While Gathercole’s point is valid, nonetheless in view of the preceding context, especially verses 19 and 20 with the mention of ‘law’ and ‘the deeds of the law’, ‘without the law’ primarily parallels the ‘faith of Jesus Christ’, pisteos Iesou Christou (v. 22). Paul is thus contrasting primarily, but not exclusively, the bases or ‘grounds’ of the righteousness of God: i.e. the law/deeds of the law (v. 20) as opposed to the faith of Jesus Christ, rather than who is receiving it, in this matter of Justification.
Although ‘without the law’, the righteousness of God is ‘being witnessed by the law and the prophets’ (v. 21). Probably Paul means by this that the righteousness of God is both promised and expounded in ‘riddles’ and prophesied in the Old Testament Scripture (cf. Rom.1.2 and Acts 10.43).
So then, the ‘ground’ of the righteousness of God here in Romans confirms Phil. 3.9. It is an ellipse. The two foci are the ‘faith of Jesus Christ’ and all that ‘believe’. While Luther rightly emphasized the subjective ‘believe’ aspect, the New Perspective has helped remind us of the objective ‘faith of Jesus Christ’ aspect.
‘Unto all’, eis pantas, reinforces the interpretation of ‘the righteousness of God’ as primarily the grace of God which declares that believers are judicially ‘in the right’. KJV’s ‘and upon all’, however, is not in the DB/UBS Greek text.
In view of the preceding context of 1.16-3.20 and particularly 3.9, ‘both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin’, the ‘all’ of verses 22 and 23 must mean both Jews and Gentiles. Verse 22b, ‘for there is no difference’ must likewise mean ‘no difference between Jews and Gentiles, whereas these verses have been traditionally understood to mean ‘everyone’. It really amounts to the same thing but it is crucial for us to realize that for Paul, in the life and death matter of sin and Justification the Jews have no prerogative; neither Jews nor Gentiles are at an advantage. It is, as they say, a level playing field.
In the preceding discourse of 1.18-3.20, the wrath of God against sin, God’s judgment of sin on the Day of Judgment and Jewish transgressions of the Law, are prominent. The traditional Protestant understanding of justification in this passage as forgiveness of sins (especially v. 25: ‘the remission of sins that are past’) and the forensic declaration of a right status/acquittal with regard to the individual is therefore correct. Thus the righteousness of God must surely mean primarily the righteous attribute of God and the grace of God which forgives/acquits and declares righteous the sinner rather than the New Perspective’s interpretation as God’s covenant faithfulness, although this is also meant in view of ‘the faith of God’ not made ‘without effect’ by ‘the unbelief of some’ Jews (v. 3.3).
Justification is a gift of God due to God’s mercy (‘freely by his grace’, v. 24). This reinforces the idea of a legal ‘right standing’. ‘That it is a gift points to a forensic activity. God gives the status of being “right”’ (Morris, p. 34).
Paul understands the Cross as ‘redemption’, apolutroseo. ‘Redemption means the paying of a price to set someone free (cf. 1 Cor. 6.20; 7.23).’ It highlights ‘the costly nature of our salvation’ (Morris, pp. 71,72).
He also understands it as hilasterion (v. 25). The KJV has translated the word correctly as ‘propitiation’. Most modern translations regrettably do not understand it as such. This propitiation of God’s wrath (1.18) is effected through the death of Christ (‘his blood’) and appropriated by sinners through faith. The death of Christ is therefore a propitiatory sacrifice.
Referring to the Jewish sacrificial cultus and ‘the forbearance of God’ (v. 25), F. F. Bruce says, ‘Until the coming of Christ some token “passing over” (paresis) of sins might have been conceded in the forbearance of God, but now (nuni de) with the coming of Christ, the true and perfect hilasterion had been set forth.’
Jesus’ coming and in particular, his death on the Cross (‘at this time’), is the eschatological fulfillment of the ages in which God has acted to ‘declare his righteousness: that he might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus’ (v. 26). It is a time of the Crisis.
‘That he might be just and the justifier’, while declaring the grace aspect of his righteousness also shows forth his righteous attribute. Thus Morris writes, ‘when God saves, he saves in a way that accords with right.’ (p. 33), and ‘specifically we need to know that our penalty is paid and our acquittal brought about in a way that is right’ (p.71).
Paul says God’s righteousness is a declaration that he is ‘just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus’ (v. 26). In other words, the righteousness of God refers to both the righteous (ethical) attribute of God and his grace through which he forgives and imputes a righteous status to and on, the sinner. That both meanings are involved is also evident in the words Paul uses of God’s righteousness. The first is particularly emphasized in the word ‘declare’, endeixin (vv. 25,26) while both are equally stressed in the words ‘revealed’, apokalupetai (1.17) and ‘manifested’, pephanerotai(v. 21).
So, to know (in the heart) that God is righteous and justifies us sinners is to know his saving power (1.16) and to know Jesus Christ as Lord (1.4). This is the gospel. ‘The church stands or falls with Christ’ (D. Garlington). True, but it is in Justification that Christ and God’s saving power become ‘real’ and ‘powerful’ to us. Luther’s dictum is still correct: Justification is indeed articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae.
Contra N.T. Wright, Justification by faith is therefore not a second-order doctrine. The ‘righteousness of God’ is to Paul the core of the gospel. ‘Gunther Bornkamm is an example of those who see justification by faith as central to Paul’s theology. He calls it “the basic theme in his theology”, and maintains that “his whole preaching, even when it says nothing expressly about justification, can be properly understood only when taken in closest connection with that doctrine and related to it”’ (Morris, p. 69 n. 39).
From his exposition of the righteousness of God vis-à-vis God’s grace, the cross and faith, Paul asserts first, that ‘boasting’ is ‘excluded’. ‘Boasting’ refers primarily to the boasting of the Jew in 2.17-29: his ‘boast of God’ (2.17), his ‘boast of the law’ (2.23) and of circumcision (2.25-29); see Dunn (pp. 200,201). The NEB understands it as ‘human pride’ but this is quite off the mark.
It may, however, also include the boasting of ‘deeds of the law’ (3.20), implying works-righteousness. Simon Gathercole has shown that there is in first century Judaism ‘a firm belief in final vindication on the basis of works. Obedience leads to final justification (italics mine).’Also Charles L. Quarles posits that ‘Jews of the Diaspora with no access to the temple and sectarian Jews who had temporarily abandoned the temple sought atonement for sin through personal acts of righteousness rather than temple sacrifice. Motifs in Sirach suggest that even a leading scribe of Jerusalem, approximately 250 years before the destruction of the temple, substituted acts of righteousness for atoning rituals of the temple…When atonement for failure to observe the law is accomplished by compensatory acts of obedience to the law, works-righteousness, at least to some degree, seems unavoidable.’
What does Paul imply in the clause ‘boasting is excluded’? Most probably he implies that in this matter of Justification, ‘election’ as marked by possession of the Law, is of no moment at all; what is definitive is the law of faith, not the law of works. Instead of using the word ‘principle’ Paul uses the word law, nomos, because of the preeminent place the law holds in Jewish self-identity. The ‘law of works’ must therefore mean simply the ‘principle of the works of the Law’ and not the principle of generic works (i.e. religious and good works), as traditionally understood in Protestantism. In other words, where Justification is concerned, Jews have no advantage or prerogative over the Gentiles.
From this Paul draws the very important conclusion that ‘a man’, whether Jew or Gentile, ‘is justified by faith without the deeds of the law’ (v. 28). This reaffirms his assertions in verses 20-22: that deeds of the law cannot justify; that the righteousness of God is manifested without the law; and that it is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all them that believe.
With this very important conclusion Paul draws the corollary that the Gentiles will be justified as Gentiles. They do not need to become Jews through circumcision and observance of the works of the Law. This corollary is further supported by the fact that, first, if God is God of the Jews only it would mean there is another God of the Gentiles. God, however, is one. Secondly, God will justifyboth circumcised and uncircumcised by faith. (Incidentally, this verse teaches the future dimension of Justification; see Dunn, pp. 207,208.)
In verse 5 God is described as ‘him that justifieth the ungodly’. In verses 7 and 8 the man whose ‘iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered’, ‘the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin’ is considered blessed. In verse 25 ‘justification’ is set in contrast to ‘offences’. Justification and righteousness would therefore primarily mean ‘forgiveness of sins’. In view of the oft-repeated occurrence of logizesthai (translated variously by the KJV as ‘counted’, ‘reckoned’ and ‘imputeth’) the ‘acquittal/a right status’ dimension of Justification would seem to be particularly dominant.
In verse 2 ‘the glory of God’ would mean negatively ‘without sin’ (cf. 3.23). In verse 6 we read ‘Christ died for the ungodly’, and in verse 8 ‘while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’. Justification, righteousness and righteous are set against offence, sin, judgment, condemnation and sinners in vv. 12-21. Clearly Justification is to be understood as acquittal and a right standing.
In verse 10, righteousness is contrasted with sin. ‘Justifieth’ (v. 33) is likewise contrasted with ‘condemneth’ (v. 34). Very likely therefore the same nuance is to be attached to ‘justified’ in verse 30. Again a juridical right standing is meant in these verses.
In this passage ‘righteousness’ appears eight times; ‘God’s righteousness’ and ‘the righteousness of God’ once each. The words are associated with ‘saved’ and its cognates in the immediate context of the ninth through the eleventh chapters (9.27; 10.1,9,10,13; 11.25). Perhaps the key to understand what Paul means by ‘saved’ and hence ‘righteousness/God’s righteousness’ is 11.26,27: ‘There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins’. If so, then it would mean the turning away of ‘ungodliness from Jacob’ and the taking away of ‘their sins’, that is, the forgiveness of sins.
Another important aspect of ‘righteousness/God’s righteousness’ from the immediate context would be membership of the true Israel (9.6). It means being the children of Abraham, children of God, the elect, and God’s beloved people (9.7,8,25,26).
‘That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.’
In view of the sins detailed in the preceding verse 3, the meaning of ‘justified’ here seems to be similar to that of 1 Cor. 6.11, that is acquittal/righteous status. Compare (a) Titus 3.3 with 1Cor. 6.9,10 and (b) ‘by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost’ of Titus 3.5 with ‘but ye were washed, but ye were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God’ of 1 Cor. 6.11.
In Galatians and Philippians it seems that covenant membership is the primary, but not exclusively so, meaning of Justification. In Corinthians and Titus the traditional understanding as ‘forgiveness of sins, acquittal and a right standing’ is primary, but again not exclusively so.
In Romans, however, both aspects are conspicuously present, though the traditional understanding seems to be more so. Although Paul’s exposition of Justification by faith in 3.19-26 deals primarily with forgiveness of sins/a right status, the very Jewish immediate context of the passage (i.e. 2.17-3.18 and 3.27-31) shows that Justification as covenant membership is at the back of his mind. Furthermore Justification as covenant membership and the righteousness of God as referring to his covenant faithfulness are particularly obvious in Romans 9 through 11.
Luther might not have understood Justification fully and he might have even misunderstood first century Judaism but he was instrumental in the Church’s recovery of the all-sufficiency of the faith of Christ and the faith of the believer. These were undermined by the Church of Rome which taught that faith had to be supplemented by good/religious works and the Church’s mediation through its priests, monks and saints.
Luther’s exclusive focus on the individual/’acquittal’ dimension of Justification has resulted in the Protestants’ neglect of the ‘covenant’ and other aspects. At the time, however, there were circumstances that called for such particular emphasis. Luther’s age was one where the Christian psyche was almost wholly community-magisterial dictated, leaving no room for the self. The other was the wrong teaching, as mentioned, of the R.C. Church.
Wright’s understanding that Justification by Faith is actually the great ecumenical doctrine rather than that which divides Protestants and Roman Catholics is therefore faulty. It is questionable whether Roman Catholics, theologically, are truly members of God’s people when they are not taught and therefore are not aware of sola fidei, solus Christus, sola gratia and soli Deo gloria.‘Calling upon the name of the Lord’ presumes faith and faith is more than mere credence of Church dogma or Creeds. Faith, says Luther, is ‘God’s work in us’. It is God himself enabling us to repent and humbly and gratefully accept God’s grace. Such a one will have the ‘patient continuance’ to do good, to ‘seek for glory and honor and immortality’ (what Wright calls, ‘the totality of a life lived’) and thus be justified on the Day of Judgment (Rom. 2.7).
Dunn and Wright have rediscovered the ‘covenant membership’ dimension of Justification. Wright, however, has soft-pedaled the ‘putting to rights’ (soteriological) component of Justification in favor of the ‘covenant membership’ (ecclesiological) component. Both aspects are present in Paul’s epistles examined above, though not equally so in each epistle.
Finally, if I may use another metaphor besides the ellipse in this essay, Justification is a gold coin. The traditional understanding as forgiveness of sins/acquittal/a right status is one side of the coin and covenant membership, the other. And on its milled edges are the words “live unto God’ and ‘life’.
F. F. Bruce, The Curse of the Law
R. A. Cole, Tyndale NT Commentary on Galatians (IVP/Eerdmans)
C.H. Dodd, The Meaning of Paul for Today (Collins)
J. D. G. Dunn, Jesus, Paul and the Law (Westminster/John Knox Press)
Simon J. Gathercole, ”After the New Perspective: Works, Justification and Boasting in Early Judaism and Romans 1-5“, Ph.D thesis, Durham University
Ralph Martin, Tyndale NT Commentary on Philippians (IVP/Eerdmans)
Leon Morris, New Testament Theology (Zondervan)
NEB: New English Bible (Oxford/Cambridge)
Bruce L. Shelley, Church History (Word Publishing)
Stephen Tomkins, A Short History of Christianity (Eerdmans)
Biblical quotations are from the King James Version.
I would like to thank elder Khor Tong Keng, M.A., M.Div. for his comment on Luther which I have incorporated into this essay.
When comparing the message of Jesus in the gospels with that of Paul in Romans or Galatians, one (sooner or later) cannot help but be struck by the apparent disparity in attention given to the subjects of “righteousness” (dikaiosune) and “justification” (dikaiosis). In Romans, these words recur repeatedly, as centerpieces for an elaborate theological project developed over the entire course of that particular epistle. To Paul, the theoretical question of how one acquires dikaiosunefor oneself (and recognizes it in others) is an all-consuming priority, a point to which he returns again and again.
For Jesus, by contrast, the nature of righteousness is tacitly assumed to be a point of general consensus, a premise raised only occasionally as a prerequisite for other questions. Jesus never shows any interest in challenging someone’s interpretation of “where righteousness comes from,” defining different types of righteousness, or connecting it explicitly with his (quite common) references to the role of faith in healing and salvation. In fact, aside from a bit of foreshadowing about the role of the Spirit in John, Jesus never mentions righteousness outside of the gospel of Matthew, and even there he never uses it in the precise technical sense beloved by Paul.
To most orthodox Christians, who would demand that Paul be found a faithful steward of Christ’s teaching, this presents a challenge. Paul cannot be inventing a “new gospel” — the Lord forbid that he should fall under his own curse! (Gal 1:6-8) — so one of two possibilities must be true. Either the difference is purely a matter of vocabulary, and Paul is repackaging the teachings of Christ into new language, or the difference reflects Paul’s need to address some novel problem that has arisen since the resurrection. In the evangelical tradition, it has been most common to suggest the first option, and declare that the detailed theological constructs of Romans and Galatians are themselves “the gospel” of Christ — often with the implication that they are a substantially less opaque and more kerymatically pure presentation of “the gospel” than Jesus managed to provide himself! Martin Luther’s attitude, if perhaps extreme, is a usefully exaggerated example of the sort of gentle (?) deuterocanonization of the Synoptics that can result:
Now John writes very little about the works of Christ, but very much about His preaching. But the other Evangelists write much of His works and little of His preaching. Therefore John’s Gospel is the one, tender, true chief Gospel, far, far to be preferred to the other three and placed high above them. So, too, the Epistles of St. Paul and St. Peter far surpass the other three Gospels — Matthew, Mark and Luke. In a word, St. John’s Gospel and his first Epistle, St. Paul’s Epistles, especially Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians, and St. Peter’s first Epistle are the books that show you Christ and teach you all that is necessary and good for you to know, even though you were never to see or hear any other book or doctrine. (Preface to the New Testament)
The more regular, and more sophisticated, synthesis follows this line: Jesus, at least in the Synoptics, is mostly interested in challenging the Pharisees, since they thought that they could follow a Pelagian “works-gospel” that would allow them to be viewed by God as good enough to be worthy of entry into heaven. Jesus, who for much of his ministry was primarily interested in defeating their system of distorted Judaism, taught a gospel that amounted to a deliberate reductio ad absurdum of this system, presenting God as an infinitely demanding judge whose perfectionism could never possibly be satisfied by any human being.
The primary function of the “New Law” section of the Sermon of the Mount, for example, was to set the bar so high that even the Pharisees couldn’t clear it: “Be as holy as God is.” He didn’t honestly expect for any of his listeners to be able to satisfy the high standards he was setting, he just wanted them to sink into a state of total hopelessness concerning their own ethical capabilities, as an inspired act of “creative destruction.” Once everyone was uniformly leveled to a state of mutual despair, he could sacrifice himself to accomplish the real solution, and leave behind his disciples to explain what it all meant! Thus, both Jesus’ (superficially) positive moral teaching and his aggressive anti-Pharisee polemics are to be identified with the “negative” half of Paul’s gospel, clever indictments against the same false theory of righteousness that Paul is purportedly trying to refute.
There is a certain element of truth to some aspects of this picture. The gospel was, indeed, understood in part as a “mystery” before the resurrection. And it is impossible to escape the Synoptics without a deep impression that there was something catastrophically wrong about how the Pharisees were functioning as spiritual custodians of the Torah. But there are too many problems with this theory to allow it to be accepted uncritically in all its particulars. The suggestion that Jesus was deliberately insincere about aspects of his instruction, in even the most limited respect, is almost entirely unevidenced by any apostolic teaching in Acts or the Epistles. Too many elements of those extended teachings fall alarmingly close to exactly the sort of Pelagianism that Paul is supposedly critiquing. The alms-prayer-fasting praxis triad of Matthew 6, for example, doesn’t seem to attack the idea of “practicing righteousness to gain reward” so much as it emphasizes doing this discretely, to ensure that the reward comes from God and not men. The “cup of cold water” exhortation in Matthew 10 (and Mark 9) again straightforwardly makes this connection between doing good deeds and gaining eternal reward, with no reason to suspect any implicit irony. This point is driven home even more forcefully in contexts like Matthew 7:21-23 and the judgment of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25.
Now, none of this is to suggest that Jesus really means to preach a “works-gospel” himself! The heavy focus on forgiveness, constantly reinforced in Jesus’ encounters with various ostracized and marginalized “sinners,” makes it quite clear that apart from God’s mercy the human condition will remain deeply flawed. We cannot avoid noting, however, that every time Jesus does venture to discuss concepts like “works,” “reward,” and “salvation,” he seems unconcerned about affirming their interconnectedness, without ever qualifying his remarks: “Now don’t go taking these ideas too far like the Pharisees, or you won’t be emphasizing faith heavily enough.” The Pharisees are never criticized for teaching others to follow the Law — in fact, they are obliquely commended as authorities in Matthew 23:2 — but only for failing to follow it adequately themselves.
The problem with the Pharisees was not fundamentally that they were seeking to establish themselves as righteous according to their own works; they would surely have defended themselves by noting that the Torah was itself a gift from God. Rather, they were being condemned for overly scrupulous adherence to some portions of the Law to the neglect of others that were more important, and for doing this with the intent of earning the praise of men rather than God. This is certainly one way that one might choose to define “legalism,” but if so, it is not precisely the same as what we usually mean by “works-righteousness,” at least not since letting that category fall under the defining influence of Pelagius and Augustine.
Again, at the risk of redundancy, I must repeat that none of this means that Pelagius was right. What it really means is that Jesus and Paul, and the Pharisees, and whomever Paul was criticizing in Galatians, all would probably have agreed that Pelagius was dead wrong: We have no power to do good apart from God, period, and when we (inevitably) fail, we have no recourse but to supplicate God for unmerited forgiveness. But if “works-righteousness” is not really the locus of Jesus’ clash with the Jewish teachers of the Law, then we need to find a new approach to reconciling the apparent discontinuity of interest level in righteousness/justification between the gospels and the Pauline epistles.
The Alternative of the New Perspective
The so-called “new perspective on Paul” offers at least one possible alternative. Contra the traditional approach, commentators from the new perspective prefer to read the Pauline epistles as addressing more particular questions, uniquely relevant to circumstances in those ecclesial communities to which they were written. Specifically, the letters to Galatia and Rome were written to address questions of “community boundary” and “covenantal membership.” The “novel problem” that Paul needed to address was the sudden influx of non-proselyte Gentile converts that began during Paul’s first missionary journey (starting from the end of Acts 13). How were these Christians to be received? The consensus view of the Jerusalem council was that they be received as Gentiles, without embracing the purity code, and without circumcision. This decision, as presented by the brief synopsis of Luke, seems to have been embraced as a leap of faith by the apostolic community. The Spirit, so far as anyone could tell, was indwelling Gentiles in the same way as Jews, and since the Spirit was sent to lead the Church into “all truth,” there was little point in arguing. It’s not even entirely clear that the elders of Jerusalem realized, at the time, the extent to which this necessitated a radical restructuring of communal identity for “the people of God,” but eventually the ecclesiological implications needed to be hashed out in detail, and that task quite naturally fell to the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul.
The epistle to the Galatians represents a fairly practical response to the external symptoms of Judaizing tendencies, in this case, a sundered fellowship between those who demanded circumcision (along with Sabbath-keeping and some other non-ethical componenents of the Torah) and those who did not. Paul’s answer is vigorous and forceful, and relies more heavily on his own apostolic authority as an inspired minister of the gospel than on any detailed argument. The Law, while formerly useful for the purpose for which it was intended, must yield to the transformed reality of the resurrected Christ. Everything about the new “way” of Jesus, the conversions, the miracles, the ekklesia, the Spirit, and the promise of righteousness, all of that came as a result of “hearing with faith,” quite apart from any invocation of the Law. Paul seems almost stunned that his new church, after hearing the gospel, could return to behaving as though this was just the latest retooling of proselyte Judaism.
In this short correspondence, Paul isn’t trying to carefully elucidate a robust ecclesiology for the ages, he just wants to keep his new church from collapsing within a few months of underwriting its charter. That doesn’t make his dialectic any less brilliant and energetic, but it does suggest a certain degree of caution should be taken before universalizing his fleshy prose to function as prooftexts for other controversies — whether for the relationship between Jews and Christians (as per Nicene patristic thought, which discovered a more sweeping polemic against Judaism as a whole), or for foundational questions of soteriology (as per Luther, who discovered a supernaturally prescient critique of the Catholicism of his era). Paul just doesn’t have questions nearly that broad in his viewscope, and reading him as if he does may come at our peril.
Before turning to Romans, as Paul’s mature tour de force evaluation of the difficulties that first arose in Galatia, it would be prudent to review the elements of the new perspective most germane to this study. The new perspective, to begin with, insists that “righteousness” for Paul and his Jewish contemporaries never means an abstract moral state or disposition, but is intimately connected with the outcome of the eschatological project of Israel’s God. The coming of the Messiah, as commonly affirmed by every sect of Second Temple Judaism, was expected to concretely vindicate the faithfulness of Israel in the presence of all other nations. Being “found righteous” meant that one would be included in that group of devout Jews who had avoided falling into apostasy and departed from the proper worship of the true God.
The Law, among other functions, provided a sort of spiritual barometer for how well that fidelity was being maintained. If sacrifices continued to be offered, if unclean meats and abhorrent sexual immoralities were eschewed, if the feasts and Sabbaths were steadfastly observed, then Israel’s people could take comfort that they were “ready” for final judgment and subsequent redemption, the Messianic age promised by the prophets, to arrive as the culmination of history. If these elements were being neglected, it was a sign that Israel was being lax and careless about the maintenance of its covenants, and that the God who had vowed to eternally abide by them might ignore Israel, or even permit another extended period of persecution and geographical exile.
Righteousness, thus, could only be understood within the context of that series of distinctive convenants that had been established between God and Israel’s patriarchs, priests, and kings.Israel’s “righteousness” was guaranteed by fidelity to those covenantal obligations, and God similarly demonstrated His “righteousness” by serving as their guarantor in perpetuity. In order to properly appreciate the complexity of the problem addressed by Romans, we need to recognize that Christianity was being attacked as deficient on both sides of that relation. Paul refers frequently to not only our righteousness, but also “the righteousness of God.” The traditional Reformed reading takes these two phrases to define the opposite ends of a common axis. We either have a “righteousness centered on (or originating from) ourselves,” or its antithesis, a “righteousness centered on (or originating from) God.” Obviously, the former is designated as the object of criticism, and the latter commended as what we should seek instead.
But Romans is not simply about our righteousness, and where it comes from, and thus this conclusion begins from a false premise. It is also providing a theodicy. Paul is genuinely concerned that Christianity is vulnerable to the charge that it literally describes a God who is “unrighteous” by Jewish standards. He takes this charge quite seriously, for its own sake. Of course, in order to have a proper understanding as to why God has in fact remained righteous, all appearances to the contrary, we also need a proper perspective on how human righteousness is to be recognized. The questions are intricately linked and cannot be disentangled, so Paul needs to constantly refer back and forth between them in a way that can easily blur them together unless we pay careful attention to the flow of thought. But God’s righteousness will, at the end of the day, still be God’s righteousness, and human righteousness will, at the end of the day, still be human righteousness — because we are different parties operating under a common covenantal framework with different responsibilities.
Why was the Christian God potentially open to an accusation of unrighteousness? For two reasons. First, Paul’s position on the function of the Law (as first presented in Galatians and reiterated in Romans 2 and 8) is that it brings only condemnation, in fact, exactly the same condemnation that would occur apart from the Law. The Law is useful, but only as a sort of communication from God concerning our fallen state that forces us to face hard facts. (Ironically, this is exactly the interpretation of Jesus’ “New Law” that the evangelical Protestant tradition provides!)
But surely some of the Jews, the ones commended for their righteousness in the Hebrew Scriptures, were genuinely righteous, were they not? Does Paul’s revisionism amount to a retroactive claim that no one in Israel was ever truly righteous? Any God who would authorize changing the rules halfway through the game is guilty of appalling trickery, especially if the rules are changed in a such a way that those who thought they might have a chance at “winning” are really losing just as badly as everyone else. Paul’s formidable challenge is to demonstrate that the rules really haven’t changed. Those who were found righteous before Christ, and those who are found righteous after Christ, must be “found righteous” (i.e., identified as members of the community that will be eschatologically vindicated) for identical reasons.
Second, over the first few decades of Church expansion, the geographical center of the Christian movement had swung inexorably away from Palestine and Jerusalem, and the ethnic core of converts was increasingly non-Jewish. As far as virtually all evidence in the prophets was concerned, this was exactly the opposite of what any good Jew would have anticipated. If the Messianic age was really at hand, the wealth of the Gentile nations should have been flowing intoIsrael (Isa 45:14; 60:5-16; Micah 4:13; Zeph 2:9). The kings of the Gentiles should recognize Israel’s sovereignty, and their defiant peoples reduced to servitors (Isa 49:23; 45:14,23; Micah 7:17). The Gentiles should have been facing destruction at the hand of Israel and Israel’s God (Isa 54:3; Micah 5:10-15; Zeph 2:11). The only option for salvation of the Gentiles would be to gather them together with the remnant of Israel, the exclusive vessel of redemption (Isa 56:6-8, cf. the “diaspora witness” passage in Isa 66:18-24). Contrary to all of this prophetic witness, it was increasingly obvious that the epicenters of Christian expansion, the bases for future missionary activity, would be Gentile cities like Syrian Antioch, Ephesus, and Rome.
The last of these was particularly scandalous from a Jewish perspective. Rome was the mystical continuation of Nineveh and Babylon, and its deified Caesar was heir to the impiety of Antiochus Epiphanes. For God to reject the cities of Israel (“Woe to you Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum”) and relocate His base of redemptive operation to somewhere like Rome was an act of pure treachery. Paul’s job here is, if anything, even harder. He needs to explain why a body of recent converts who bear no outward resemblence to Jews are nonetheless the true heirs to the promises made to Israel, and why this cannot simply be fairly caricatured as “God just got sick of His old chosen people and had them replaced by a new batch.” (Initially, of course, this accusation would be expected from the Jews, but as we have seen historically, it has been all the more problematic a form of reductionism in the hands of Christians….)
Resolving the Tensions
A wonderful feature of the new perspective is that, despite radically redefining the questions involved, the answer is pretty much the same one we’ve been using all along: “The just shall live by faith.” Faith, then, is the distinguishing feature of those who will be ultimately vindicated by the work of God that unfolds throughout history and is consummated in the eschaton. This resolves (though far from trivially, and with much necessary intermediate exposition) the threat on both fronts. The righteous have always been justified by faith all along, and to the extent that they have been under the Law, the Law has functioned quite properly to point them towards the need for that faith.
Similarly, “faith” as a common feature to the righteous allows for a redefinition of Israel in response to the proclamation of Christ’s gospel. Abraham is truly “the father of us all,” that is, all those who are found to live by faith, and the new ekklesia is grafted smoothly onto the old Israel, pruned of dead branches but still rooted in the same fertile soil (and, Paul broadly hints, this is exactly the surgical operation that needs to be performed to ensure a return to full health at some distant point in the future, after “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in”). Even more impressively, we find in Romans 6 that our own “righteousness by faith” exists in elegant symmetry to God’s “righteousness revealed through faithfulness,” in particular, God’s faithfulness in providing a Savior who could satisfy the debt of the Law, conquer death and end the reign of sin. Freed from sin, we have the opportunity to pursue sanctification by submitting our lives to the model of Christ’s perfect obedience, even the demanding program of sanctification prescribed by Christ, and thereby obtain eternal life.
On one “axis” of controversy, we find that the just are to be identified as righteous on account of their faith in Christ, not on the basis of works of the Law. This means that Gentiles can be invited into the ekklesia as Gentiles, and Jews as Jews, without any need to transform one into the other. On the other axis, we discover that this resolves the ostensible threats that were causing God to appear “unrighteous” rather than “righteous,” and thus the righteousness of God is consistently demonstrated before, during, and after the advent of Christ’s gospel.
The debate was never really a matter of whether our righteousness came “from ourselves” or “from God.” I suspect that if you asked Paul, he would heartily endorse the latter, but that simply isn’t what he’s devoting a lengthy and complex letter to establishing. The debate was over on what basis our righteousness (status as members of the true people of God) comes — “faith,” versus “the Law” — and whether or not the answer to this question is consonant with God’s (covenantal) faithfulness, and we should read and apply it with this in mind.
As an application of this interpretation to a specific test case, let’s look at the beginning of Romans 10. Paul is criticizing his fellow Jews; “they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” The next line reads, “For they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own righteousness, did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”
How do we read the contrast between “God’s righteousness” and “their own righteousness”? In the traditional model, this is a question of origin: Paul wants us to quit trying to find a righteousness from “within ourselves,” and start looking to God. But that really wasn’t a fault that could be fairly ascribed to the Jews, who were under no illusion about Who was ultimately responsible for providing Torah to them. From the new perspective, we instead view the distinction between “God’s righteousness” and “our righteousness” as formally benign. God should have a righteousness proper to Himself, and we are wise to seek to establish a righteousness proper to ourselves (though, to be sure, derived ultimately from God).
The problem, then, is not with the Jews trying to establish “their own righteousness.” The problem is that this must be done in a way that respects the pattern laid down by God’s righteousness, as per Christ’s great act of obedience in Romans 5. (The is the “knowledge” with which the commendable Jewish “zeal” to pursue righteousness fails to be in accordance.) The right approach to establishing one’s righteousness is thus, as we all know, based on faith rather than based on the Law — but we should resist exactly equating “based on faith” with “God’s righteousness,” and “based on Law” with “our own righteousness.” It’s not that we actually receive God’s righteousness as a sort of transferred commodity; it’s that we look upon it, climatically manifested in Christ’s obedience to the point of death, as the prototypical example of how we ought to go about acquiring and preserving our own righteousness.
This is a subtle point, but it is absolutely essential to prevent the collapse of divine and human righteousness, two entirely separate entities, into a single amorphous “pot” of righteousness that God is pooling with us. That loss of distinction muddles the true, more delicate interdependence of the two controversies, and creates all manner of unnecessary anxiety about whether or not baptism, or faith, or repentance, or anything else, might originate partly from within us and thus fail to truly be “righteousness of (i.e., from) God.”
Paul, I’m sure, would quite enthusiastically endorse the sort of language that makes all of these things a manifestation of the Spirit working within us (rather than our own labor), and would also warn just as strongly against boasting on the basis of personal faith just as he does against boasting on the basis of Law. But the hyper-Calvinist paranoia that we might accidentally believe the gospel “in the wrong sort of way,” and fatally taint the ordo salutis with unconscious semi-Pelagianism, is simply an unfortunate side effect of a botched misreading of Romans.
Last Update: 30 April 2006
- About this Bibliography
- Introductions to the NPP
- Antecedents to Sanders
- Works by E.P. Sanders
- Law and “Works of the Law”
- Studies on Judaism in Light of the NPP
- Commentaries that Engage the NPP
- Online Resources
About this Bibliography
This bibliography is my collection, annotation and contribution to the growing mass of literature on the New Perspective on Paul (NPP). It is by no means an exhaustive collection, although I hope it is far more extensive than the average bibliography you’ll find at the end of lecture notes or even at the back of a textbook. There are works that could appear under three or four different headings (esp. when they deal with Luther, Law, Justification and Judaism rolled into one!). I have tried to stratify the various monographs and articles in a thematic way, but some works could easily overlap under different headings. I have also cited only a handful of materials available on the internet and I limited my selection to works which I deem to be significant to the on-going debate. A fuller referencing of electronic materials is conveniently catalogued on the ‘Paul Page’. My thanks to Mark Mattison for posting this bibliography on his webpage and I hope it benefits students and scholars alike.
Introductions to the NPP
Mark M. Mattison, “A Summary of the New Perspective on Paul.”http://www.thepaulpage.com/Summary.html.
James A. Meek, “The New Perspective on Paul: An Introduction for the Uninitiated,” Concordia Journal 27 (2001): 208-33.
Jay E. Smith, “The New Perspective on Paul: A Select and Annotated Bibliography,” Criswell Theological Review 2.2 (2005): 91-111.
Michael B. Thompson, The New Perspective on Paul (Cambridge: Grove Books Limited, 2002). Probably the best introduction to the NPP in print. It is available on-line: http://www.grovebooks.co.uk/cart.php?target=product&product_id=16249&substring=
Antecedents to Sanders
C. G. Montefiore, Judaism and St. Paul: Two Essays (New York: Dutton, 1915). The Judaism that Paul knew was a cold form of Diaspora Judaism and not Rabbinic Judaism.
G. F. Moore, “Christian Writers on Judaism,” HTR 14 (1921): 197-254. Moore supposed that Christian writers are influenced by an apologetic desire to see in Judaism the antithesis to grace.
G. F. Moore, Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era (2 vols.; Harvard: HUP, 1927).
W. D. Davies, Paul and Rabbinic Judaism: Some Rabbinic Elements in Pauline Theology (4th ed.;Philadelphia: Fortress, 1980 ).
Samuel Sandmel, The Genius of Paul: A Study in History (New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1958).
H. J. Schoeps, Paul: The Theology of the Apostle in the Light of Jewish Religious History(Philadelphia: Westminster, 1961).
Preston M. Sprinkle, “The Old Perspective on the New Perspective: A Review of Some ‘Pre-Sanders’ Thinkers,” Themelios 30 (2005): 21-31. Highlights antecedents to Sanders in works by G.F. Moore, K. Stendahl, George Howard, Joseph Tyson and N.A. Dahl.
Krister Stendahl, “The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West,” HTR 56 (1963): 199-215; repr. in Paul among Jews and Gentiles (London: SCM, 1976), 76-96. The seminal article where Stendahl urges that Paul had a ‘robust conscience’ and did not wrestle with feelings of personal guilt like Augustine and Luther.
Works by E.P. Sanders
E.P. Sanders, “Patterns of Religion in Paul and Rabbinic Judaism: A Holistic Method of Comparison,” HTR 66 (1973): 455-78.
E.P. Sanders, “The Covenant as a Soteriological Category and the Nature of Salvation in Palestinian and Hellenistic Judaism,” in Jews, Greeks and Christians, eds. Robert Hamerton Kelly and RobinScroggs (Leiden: Brill, 1976), 11-44.
E. P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison in Patters of Religion (London: SCM, 1977). The ground-breaking book by Sanders where he proposes his view of Palestinian Judaism as covenantal nomism: “Covenantal nomism is the view that one’s place in God’s plan is established on the basis of the covenant and that the covenant requires as the proper response of man his obedience to its commandments, while providing means of atonement for transgression” (p. 75); “The ‘pattern’ or ‘structure’ of covenantal nomism is this: (1) God has chosen Israel and (2) given the law. The law implies (3) God’s promise to maintain the election and (4) the requirement to obey. (5) God rewards obedience and punishes transgression. (6) The law provides for means of atonement, and atonement results in (7) maintenance or re-establishment of the covenantal relationship. (8) All those who are maintained in the covenant by obedience, atonement and God’s mercy belong to the group which will be saved. An important interpretation of the first and last points is that election and ultimately salvation are considered to be God’s mercy rather than human achievement” (p. 422).
E.P. Sanders, “On the Question of Fulfilling the Law in Paul and Rabbinic Judaism,” in DonumGentilicum: New Testament Studies in Honour of David Daube, eds. C.K. Barrett, E. Bammel and W.D. Davies (Oxford: Clarendon, 1978), 103-26.
E.P. Sanders, “Paul’s Attitude Toward the Jewish People,” USQR 33 (1978): 175-87.
E. P. Sanders, Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People (Fortress: Philadelphia, 1983).
E.P. Sanders, Paul (Oxford: OUP, 1991).
Dale C. Allison, “Jesus and the Covenant: A Response to E.P. Sanders,” JSNT 29 (1987): 57-78.
C. K. Barrett, “Paul and the Introspective Conscience,” in The Bible, the Reformation and the Church: Festschrift for James Atkinson, ed. W. P. Stephens (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 36-48.
Paul Barnett, “Galatians and Earliest Christianity,” RTR 59 (2000): 112-29.
Markus Barth, “Jews and Gentiles: The Social Character of Justification in Paul,” JES 5 (1968): 241-67.
F. Best, “The Apostle Paul and E.P. Sanders: The Significance of Paul and Palestinian Judaism,”ResQ 25 (1982): 65-74.
Michael F. Bird, “When the Dust Finally Settles: Reaching a Post New Perspective Perspective,”Criswell Theological Review (forthcoming 2005). Bird argues that Judaism was variegated and some strands emphasized grace and others obedience. Merit theology (of some kind) does provide the backdrop for Paul’s formulation of law and justification. However, Paul’s primary problem was not confronting legalism but trying to get Gentiles accepted as Gentiles by Jews into fellowship.
Michael F. Bird, “Justification as Forensic Declaration and Covenant Membership: A Via Mediabetween Reformed and Revisionist Readings of Paul,” (forthcoming in Tyndale Bulletin). This article contends that justification includes God’s declaration of righteousness for believers and the inclusion of Gentiles into the people of God. Paul confronts an “ethnocentric nomism” and espouses a view of justification whereby God “creates a new people with a new status in a new covenant as a foretaste of the new age”.
Brendan Byrne, “Interpreting Romans Theologically in a Post-‘New Perspective’ Perspective,” HTR94 (2001): 227-41. Byrne considers himself within the NPP but still thinks that the NPP is theologically impoverished since it fails to adequately reckon with the intense exploration of human sin and alienation from God in the early part of Romans.
Brendan Byrne, “Interpreting Romans: The New Perspective and Beyond,” Interpretation 58 (2004): 241-52.
W. S. Campbell, “The New Perspective on Paul: Review Article.” ExpT 114.11 (2003): 383-86. Review of Seyoon Kim, Paul and the New Perspective, Michael B. Thompson, The New Perspective on Paul, and Simon J. Gathercole, Where is the Boasting?. Campbell thinks that these works are significant but fail to abolish or refute the primary contentions of the NPP.
D. A. Campbell, “The DIAQHKH from Durham: Professor Dunn’s The Theology of Paul the Apostle,”JSNT 72 (1998): 91-111.
Tim Chester, “Justification, Ecclesiology and the New Perspective,” Themelios 30 (2005): 5-20. A critical, yet sympathetic reading of the NPP (see esp. his summary on the pros and cons of the NPP on pp. 18-19).
Michael Cranford, “The Possibility of Perfect Obedience: Paul and an Implied Premise in Galatians 3:10 and 5:3,” NovT 36 (1994): 242-58.
Michael Cranford, “Abraham in Romans 4: The Father of All Who Believe,” NTS 41 (1995): 71-88.
A. Andrew Das, “Beyond Covenantal Nomism: Paul, Judaism, and Perfect Obedience,” Concordia Journal 27 (2001): 234-52.
James E. Davidson, “The Patterns of Salvation in Paul and in Palestinian Judaism,” JRS 15 (1989): 99-118.
W. D. Davies, “Paul: from the Jewish Point of View,” in The Cambridge History of Judaism: Volume 3 – The Early Roman Period, eds. William Horbury, W. D. Davies and John Sturdy (Cambridge: CUP, 1999), 3.678-730.
Terence L. Donaldson, “Zealot and Convert: The Origin of Paul’s Christ-Torah Antithesis,” CBQ 51 (1989): 655-82.
James D. G. Dunn, “The New Perspective on Paul,” BJRL 65 (1983): 95-122.
James D. G. Dunn, “A Man More Sinned Against than Sinning? A Response to Carl Trueman,”http://www.thepaulpage.com/Response.html. Dunn’s impassioned response against Trueman’saccusation that Dunn repudiates the reformers.
James D. G. Dunn, “Did Paul have a covenant theology? reflections on Romans 9.4 and 11.27,” InConcept of the Covenant in the Second Temple Period, Stanley E. Porter and Jacqueline De-Roo, eds., (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 287-307.
James D. G. Dunn, “Paul and Justification by Faith,” in The Road From Damascus, ed. Richard N.Longenecker (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997), 85-101.
James D. G. Dunn, “The Theology of Galatians: The Issue of Covenantal Nomism,” Pauline Theology Volume 1: Thessalonians, Philippians, Galatians, Philemon, ed. Jouette M. Bassler(Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991), 125-146.
Pamela Eisenbaum, “A Remedy for Having Been Born of Woman: Jesus, Gentiles, and Genealogy in Romans,” JBL 123/4 (2004): 671-7-2.
Timo Eskola, “Paul, Predestination and Covenantal Nomism – Reassessing Paul and Palestinian Judaism,” JJS (1997): 390-412.
J. M. Espy, “Paul’s ‘Robust Conscience’ Re-examined,” NTS 31 (1985): 161-88.
J.V. Fesko, “N.T. Wright and the Sign of the Covenant,” SBET 23 (2005): 30-39.
Donald B. Garlington, “The New Perspective on Paul: An Appraisal Two Decades Later,” Criswell Theological Review 2.2 (2005): 17-38.
Robert H. Gundry, “Grace, Works, and Staying Saved in Paul,” Bib 66 (1985): 1-38.
Simon Gathercole, “After the New Perspective: Works, Justification and Boasting in Early Judaism and Romans 1-5,” TynBul 52 (2001): 303-6.
Simon Gathercole, “Early Judaism and Covenantal Nomism: An Article-Review,” EQ 76 (2004): 153-162.
Donald A. Hagner, “Paul and Judaism: The Jewish Matrix of Early Christianity: Issues in the Current Debate,” BBR 3 (1993): 111-130.
Donald A. Hagner, “Paul and Judaism: Testing the New Perspective,” in Revisiting Paul’s Doctrine of Justification (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2001), 75-105.
Donald A. Hagner, “Paul’s Quarrel with Judaism,” in Anti-Semitism and Early Christianity: Issues of Polemic and Faith, eds. Craig A. Evans and Donald A. Hagner (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993) 128-50.
James M. Hamilton Jr., “N.T. Wright and Saul’s Moral Bootstraps,” TrinJ 25 (2004), 139-55. Hamilton contends that Wright over-emphasizes the lack of merit theology in Judaism.
Daniel J. Harrington, “Paul and Judaism: 5 Puzzles.” Bible Review 9 (1993): 19-25, 52.
Roman Heiligenthal, “Soziologische Implikationen der paulinischen Rechhfertigungslehre imGalaterbrief am Beispiel der ‘Werke des Gesetzes’. Beobachtunger zur Identitätsfindung einerfrühchristenlichen Gemeinde,” Kairos 26 (1984): 38-53.
Morna D. Hooker, “Paul and Covenantal Nomism,” in Paul and Paulinism: Essays in Honour of C.K. Barrett, eds. M.D. Hooker and S.G. Wilson (London, 1982), 47-56.
Bruce Longenecker, “On Critiquing the ‘New Perspective’ on Paul: A Case Study,” 96 ZNW (2005): 263-271.
Donald Macleod, “How Right Are the Justified? Or, What is a Dikaios?” SBET 22.2 (2004): 173-95.
Donald Macleod, “The New Perspective: Paul, Luther and Judaism,” SBET 22 (2004): 4-31
I. Howard Marshall, “Salvation, Grace and Works in the later Writings in the Pauline Corpus,” NTS42 (1996): 339–58.
J. Louis Martyn, “Events in Galatia: Modified Covenantal Nomism Versus God’s Invasion of the Cosmos in the Singular gospel: A Response to J. D. G. Dunn and B. R. Gaventa,” in Pauline Theology Volume 1: Thessalonians, Philippians, Galatians, Philemon, ed. Jouette M. Bassler(Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991), 160-79.
Frank J. Matera, “Galatians in Perspective: Cutting a New Path through Old Territory,” Int 54 (2000): 233-43.
R. B. Matlock, “Sins of the Flesh and Suspicious Minds: Dunn’s New Theology of Paul,” JSNT 72 (1998): 67-90.
R. Barry Matlock, “Almost Cultural Studies? Reflections on the ‘New Perspective’ on Paul,” inBible/Cultural Studies: The Third Sheffield Colloquium, eds. J. Cheryl Exum and Stephen D. Moore (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), 433-59.
Douglas Moo, “Excursus: Paul, ‘Works of the Law,’ and First-Century Judaism,” in The Epistle to the Romans (NICNT; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996), 211-17.
C. F. D. Moule, “Jesus, Judaism, and Paul,” in Tradition and Interpretation in the New Testament: Essays in Honor of E. Earle Ellis for His 60th Birthday, eds. Gerald F. Hawthorne and Otto Betz (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1987), 43-52.
Nicholas Perrin, “A Reformed Perspective on the New Perspective,” WTJ 67 (2005): 381-89.
Charles L. Quarles, “The New Perspective and the Means of Atonement in Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period,” Criswell Theological Review 2.2 (2005): 39-56.
Charles L. Quarles, “The Soteriology of R. Akiba and E.P. Sanders’ Paul and Palestinian Judaism,”NTS 42 (1996): 185-95.
Heikki Räisänen, “Legalism and Salvation by the Law,” in Die Paulinische Literatur und Theologie(FS S. Pedersen; Göttingen, 1980), 63-83.
Karl Olav Sandnes, “‘Justification by Faith’ – An Outdated Doctrine? The ‘New Perspective’ on Paul – A Presentation and Appraisal,” Theology and Life 17-19 (1996): 127-46.
Thomas R. Schreiner, “Israel’s Failure to Attain Righteousness in Romans 9:30-10:3,” TrinJ 12 (1991): 209-20.
Christian Stettler, “Paul, the Law and Judgement by Works,” EQ 76 (2004): 195-215.
Mark A. Seifrid, “Blind Alleys in the Controversy over the Paul of History,” TynBul 45 (1994): 73-96
Mark A. Seifrid, “The ‘New Perspective on Paul’ and its Problem,” Them 25 (2000): 4-18.
Vincent M. Smiles, “The concept of ‘zeal’ in Second-Temple Judaism and Paul’s critique of it in Romans 10:2,” CBQ 64 (2002): 282-299.
Charles H. Talbert, “Paul on the Covenant,” RevExp 84 (1987): 299-313.
Charles H. Talbert, “Freedom and Law in Galatians,” Ex Auditu 11 (1995): 17-28.
Charles H. Talbert, “Paul, Judaism, and the Revisionists,” CBQ 16 (2001): 1-22.
Frank Thielman, “Paul as Jewish Christian Theologian: The Theology of Paul in the Magnum Opus of James Dunn,” Perspectives in Religious Studies 25 (1998): 381-87.
Carl Trueman, “A Man More Sinned Against than Sinning? The Portrait of Martin Luther in Contemporary New Testament Scholarship: Some Casual Observations of a Mere Historian.” Unpublished paper presented at Tyndale Fellowship in Cambridge in 2000. http://www.crcchico.com/covenant/trueman.html.
Gerhard H. Visscher, “New Views regarding Legalism and Exclusivism in Judaism: Is There a Need to Reinterpret Paul?” Koinonia 18 (1999): 15-42.
Francis Watson, “Not the New Perspective,” Unpublished paper delivered to the British New Testament Conference 2001. http://www.abdn.ac.uk/divinity/staff/watsonart.shtml. An excellent article by a NPP turncoat! Watson’s taxonomy of the NPP using the Calvinistic acronym TULIPS is humorous and worth reading, not to mention the reasons for his change of mind on the issue.
Stephen Westerholm, “The Righteousness of the Law and the Righteousness of Faith in Romans,”Interpretation 55 (2004): 253-64.
N. T. Wright, “The Paul of History and the Apostle of Faith,” TynBul 29 (1978): 61-88 Synopsis: The debate between E Käsemann and K Stendahl about justification and salvation history may be resolved with the help of a new overall view of Pauline theology. For Paul, the messiah represents his people, so that a crucified messiah means a crucified Israel. This provides Paul with his critique of Israel, aimed not at “works-righteousness” but at “national righteousness”. Paul has been distorted by various schools of NT criticism: this view combines their strong points while avoiding their weaknesses.
N.T. Wright, “Gospel and Theology in Galatians,” in Gospel in Paul: Studies on Corinthians, Galatians and Romans for Richard N. Longenecker, eds. L. Ann Jervis and Peter Richardson (JSNTSup 108; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994), 222–239.
N.T. Wright, “Two Radical Jews: a review article of Daniel Boyarin, A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity,” Reviews in Religion and Theology 3 (1995): 15–23.
N.T. Wright, “Romans and the Theology of Paul,” in Pauline Theology, Volume III, eds. David M. Hay & E. Elizabeth Johnson, (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), 30–67. (Republished, with minor alterations, from SBL 1992 Seminar Papers, ed. E. H. Lovering, pp. 184–213).
N.T. Wright, “New Exodus, New Inheritance: the Narrative Substructure of Romans 3—8,” inRomans and the People of God: Essays in Honor of Gordon D. Fee on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday, eds. S. K. Soderlund & N. T. Wright (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 26–35.
N.T. Wright, “The Letter to the Galatians: Exegesis and Theology,” in Between Two Horizons: Spanning New Testament Studies and Systematic Theology, eds. Joel B. Green & Max Turner (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 205–36.
N.T. Wright, “Coming Home to St Paul? Reading Romans a Hundred Years after Charles Gore,”SJT 55 (2002): 392–407.
N.T. Wright, “Redemption from the New Perspective,” in Redemption, eds. S.T. Davis, D. Kendall, & G. O’Collins (Oxford: OUP, 2004).
Paul F. M. Zahl, “A New Source for Understanding German Theology: Käsemann, Bultmann, and the ‘New Perspective on Paul’,” Sewanee Theological Review 39 (1996): 413-22.
Paul F. M. Zahl, “E. P. Sanders’ Paul Versus Luther’s Paul: Justification by Faith in the Aftermath of the Scholarly Crisis,” St. Luke’s Journal of Theology 34 (1994): 33-40.
Paul F. M. Zahl, “Mistakes of the New Perspective on Paul,” Themelios 27 (2001): 5-11.
Michael Bachmann and Johannes Woyke, Lutherische und Neue Paulusperspektive: Beiträg zueinem Schlüsselproblem der gegenwärtigen exegetischen Diskussion (WUNT 2.182: Tubingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2005).
John Barclay, Obeying the Truth: A Study of Paul’s Ethics in Galatians (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1988).
Daniel Boyarin, A Radical Jew: Paul and the Politics of Identity (California: University of California Press, 1994).
Gary W. Burnett, Paul and the Salvation of the Individual (Leiden: Brill, 2001).
W. S. Campbell, Paul’s Gospel in an Intercultural Context: Jew and Gentile in the Letter to the Romans (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1991).
D. A. Carson, Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility: Divine Perspectives in Tension(Atlanta: John Knox, 1981).
D. A. Carson, Peter O’Brien and Mark A. Seifrid, eds., Justification and Variegated Nomism: Volume 2 – The Paradoxes of Paul (WUNT 2.181: Tubingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2004; Grand Rapids,MI: Baker, 2004). Essays include: Stephen Westerholm (The “New Perspective” at Twenty-Five); Mark A. Seifrid (Paul’s Use of Righteousness Language Against Its Hellenistic Background); MartinHengel (The Stance of the Apostle Paul Toward the Law in the Unknown Years Between Damascus and Antioch); Mark A. Seifrid: (Unrighteous by Faith: Apostolic Proclamation in Romans 1:18-3:20); S. J. Gathercole (Justified by Faith, Justified by his Blood: The Evidence of Romans 3:21-4:25); Douglas J. Moo (Israel and the Law in Romans 5-11: Interaction with the New Perspective); MoisésSilva (Faith Versus Works of Law in Galatians); Peter T. O’Brien (Was Paul a Covenantal Nomist?); Robert Yarbrough (Paul and Salvation History); Timo Laato (Paul’s Anthropological Considerations: Two Problems); Peter T. O’Brien (Was Paul Converted?); D. A. Carson (Mystery and Fulfillment: Toward a More Comprehensive Paradigm of Paul’s Understanding of the Old and the New); Timothy George (Modernizing Luther, Domesticating Paul: Another Perspective); Henri Blocher (Justification of the Ungodly [Sola Fide]: Theological Reflections).
A. Andrew Das, Paul, the Law, and the Covenant (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2001).
A. Andrew Das, Paul and the Jews (Library of Pauline Studies; ed. Stanley E. Porter; Peabody,MA: Hendrickson, 2003).
David A. DeSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament: Context, Methods & Ministry Formation(Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2004). See section: “The ‘New Perspective’ on Paul and Early Judaism” (pp. 500-1) and “Criticisms of the ‘New Perspective’” (pp. 518-19).
Terence L. Donaldson, Paul and the Gentiles: Remapping the Apostle’s Convictional World(Minneapolis: Fortress, 1997).
John W. Drane, Paul: Libertine or Legalist? (London: SPCK, 1975).
J. Ligon Duncan, Misunderstanding Paul? Responding to the New Perspectives (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005).
James D. G. Dunn, Jesus, Paul and the Law: Studies in Mark and Galatians (London: SPCK, 1990).
James D. G. Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul: Collected Essays (WUNT 185; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2005).
James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians (Cambridge: CUP, 1993).
James D. G. Dunn and Alan M. Suggate, The Justice of God: A fresh look at the old doctrine of justification by faith (Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 1993).
James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Edinburgh: T& T Clark, 1998).
James D. G. Dunn, ed., The Cambridge Companion to St. Paul (Cambridge: CUP, 2003).
Brad Eastman, The Significance of Grace in the Letters of Paul (New York: Peter Lang, 1999).
Kathy Ehrensperger, That We May Be Mutually Encouraged: Feminism and the New Perspective in Pauline Studies (London: T&T Clark, 2004).
Neil Elliott, The Rhetoric of Romans: Argumentative Constraint and Strategy and Paul’s Dialogue with Judaism (JSNTSup 45; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1990).
Timo Eskola, Theodicy and Predestination in Pauline Soteriology (WUNT 2.100; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1998). See “Excursus: The Theory of Covenantal Nomism” pp. 52-60. He raises three main points: (1) If legalism means that keeping the law affects eschatological salvation, then covenantal nomism is legalistic nomism by definition. (2) Covenantal nomism is a synergisticnomism. (3) Sanders reduces soteriology to the categories of sociology.
Don B. Garlington, The Obedience of Faith (WUNT 2.38; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1991).
Don B. Garlington, Faith, Obedience, and Perseverance: Aspects of Paul’s Letter to the Romans(WUNT 79; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1994).
Don B. Garlington, In Defense of the New Perspective on Paul: Essays and Reviews (Eugene, OR:Wipf & Stock, 2005).
John G. Gager, Reinventing Paul (Oxford: OUP, 2000).
Simon J. Gathercole, Where is the Boasting? Early Jewish Soteriology and Paul’s Response in Romans 1-5 (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002). Gathercole argues that Jewish boasting concerned both election and obedience to the law.
Michael J. Gorman Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004).
Sigurd Grindheim, The Crux of Election: Paul’s Critique of the Jewish Confidence in the Election ofIsrael (WUNT 2.202; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2005).
Martin Hengel (with R. Deines), The Pre-Christian Paul (London: SCM, 1991). “Although people nowadays are fond of asserting otherwise, no one understood the real essence of Pauline theology, the salvation given sola gratia, by faith alone, better than Augustine and Martin Luther. Despite this rigorous reversal of all previous values and ideals (Phil 3.7-11), Pauline theology – and therefore also Christian theology – remains very closely bound up with Jewish theology. Its individual elements and thought-structure derive almost exclusively from Judaism. This revolutionary change becomes visible precisely in the fact that its previous theological views remain present even in their critical reversal as a negative foil, and help to determine the location of the new position.” (p. 86).
Martin Hengel & Anne M. Schwemer, Paul Between Damascus and Antioch (London: SCM, 1997).
Martin Hengel and U. Heckel, eds., Paulus und das antike Judentum (WUNT 158; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1996).
Tom Holland, Contours of Pauline Theology: A Radical New Survey of the Influences on Paul’s Biblical Writings (Mentor, 2004).
David Horrell, An Introduction to the Study of Paul (New York: Continuum, 2000).
Philip H. Kern, Rhetoric and Galatians: Assessing an Approach to Paul’s Epistle (Cambridge: CUP, 1998).
Seyoon Kim, Paul and the New Perspective: Second Thoughts on the Origin of Paul’s Gospel(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002).
Matthias Konradt, Gericht und Gemeinde: Eine Studie zur Bedeutung und Funktion vonGerichtsaussagen im Rahmen der Paulinischen Ekklesiologie und Ethik im 1 Thess und 1 Kor(Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2003).
Colin G. Kruse, Paul, the Law and Justification (Leicester: Apollos, 1996).
Kari Kuula, The Law, the Covenant, and God’s Plan: Paul’s Polemical Treatment of the Law in Galatians (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1999).
Timo Laato, Paul and Judaism: An Anthropological Approach (South Florida Studies in the History of Judaism 115; Atlanta: Scholars, 1995).
Bruce W. Longenecker, Eschatology and the Covenant: A Comparison of 4 Ezra and Romans 1-11(JSNTSup 57; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991).
Bruce W. Longenecker, The Triumph of Abraham’s God: The Transformation of Identity in Galatians (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1998).
Richard Longenecker, ed. The Road from Damascus: The Impact of Paul’s Converstion on His Life, Thought, and Ministry (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997).
I. Howard Marshall, New Testament Theology: Many Witnesses, One Gospel (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2004) 444-50.
Mark D. Nanos, The Mystery of Romans: The Jewish Context of Paul’s Letter (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996).
Mark D. Nanos, The Irony of Galatians: Paul’s Letter in First-Century Context (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002).
Mark D. Nanos, ed., The Galatians Debate: Contemporary Issues in Rhetorical and Historical Interpretation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson 2002). A collection of studies on Galatians by various authors regarding the historical, rhetorical and theological issues surrounding Galatians.
Eung Chun Park, Either Jew or Gentile: Paul’s Unfolding Theology of Inclusiveness (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2003).
Alan F. Segal, Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (New Haven: YUP, 1990).
Vincent M. Smiles, The Gospel and Law in Galatia: Paul’s Response to Jewish-Christian Separatism and the Threat of Galatian Apostacy (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 1998).
Peter Stuhlmacher, Revisiting Paul’s Doctrine of Justification: A Challenge to the New Perspective(Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2001).
Thomas R. Schreiner, Paul: Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2001).
Stanley K. Stowers, A Rereading of Romans: Justice, Jews, and Gentiles (New Haven: YaleUniversity Press, 1994.
Chris Vanlandingham, Judgment and Justification in Early Judaism and the Apostle Paul (Peabody,MA: Hendrickson, 2006).
Guy Prentiss Waters, Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul: A Review and a Response (P&R Publishing, 2004).
Francis Watson, Paul, Judaism and the Gentiles: A Sociological Approach (SNTS 56; Cambridge: CUP, 1986).
Stephen Westerholm, Israel’s Law and the Church’s Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988).
Stephen Westerholm, Perspectives Old and New on Paul: The “Lutheran” Paul and His Critics(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003). Revised and updated version of Westerholm’s 1988 monograph.
N. T. Wright, The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline Theology (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1991).
N.T. Wright, Paul: In Fresh Perspective (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2005).
Tom Wright, What St. Paul Really Said (London: Lion, 1997).
Tet-Lim N. Yee, Jews, Gentiles and Ethnic Reconciliation: Paul’s Jewish Identity and Ephesians(New York: CUP, 2005).
Kent L. Yinger, Paul, Judaism, and Judgment According to Deeds (Cambridge: CUP, 1999).
Michael F. Bird, “Incorporated Righteousness: A Response to Recent Evangelical Discussion Concerning the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness in Justification,” JETS 47.2 (2004): 243-75. This article contends that “union with Christ” rather than “imputation” provides the proper exegetical context for understanding justification in Paul.
Gerald Bray, “Justification: The Reformers and Recent New Testament Scholarship,” Churchman109 (1995): 102-26.
F. F. Bruce, “Justification by Faith in the Non-Pauline Writings of the New Testament,” EQ 24 (1952): 13-26.
Craig B. Carpenter, “A Question of Union with Christ? Calvin and Trent on Justification,” WTJ 64 (2002): 363-86.
D. A. Carson, “Reflections on Salvation and Justification in the New Testament,” JETS 40 (1997): 581-608.
D. A. Carson, “The Vindication of Imputation: On Fields of Discourse and, of Course, Semantic Fields,” in “Justification”: What’s at Stake in the Current Debates?, eds. M. A. Husbands & D. J.Treier (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2004), 46-78.
Charles H. Cosgrove, “Justification in Paul: A Linguistic and Theological Reflection,” JBL 106 (1987): 653-70.
Martinus C. de Boer, ‘Paul’s Use and Interpretation of a Justification Tradition in Galatians 2.15-21,’JSNT 28 (2005): 189-216.
William J. Dumbrell, “Justification in Paul: A Covenantal Perspective,” RTR 51 (1992): 91-101.
William J. Dumbrell, “Justification and the New Covenant,” Churchman 112 (1998): 17-29.
James D. G. Dunn, “The Justice of God: A Renewed Perspective on Justification by Faith,” JTS 43 (1992): 1-22.
Philip Eveson, The Great Exchange: Justification by faith alone in light of recent thought (Kent, England: Day One Publications, 1996).
R. Y. K. Fung, “The Status of Justification by Faith in Paul’s Thought: A Brief Survey of a Modern Debate,” Themelios 6 (1981): 4-11.
Don B. Garlington, “A Study of Justification by Faith,” Reformation and Revival 11 (2002): 55-73.
Don B. Garlington, “Imputation or Union with Christ: A Response to John Piper,” Reformation and Revival 12 (2003): 45-113.
Robert H. Gundry, “The Nonimputation of Christ’s Righteousness,” in “Justification”: What’s at Stake in the Current Debates? eds. M. A. Husbands & D. J. Treier (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2004), 17-45. Gundry defends a forensic view of justification wholly apart from notions of imputation.
Richard B. Hays, “Justification,” in Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (6 vols.;ABRL; New York: Doubleday, 1992), 3:1129-33.
Mark Husbands and Daniel J. Treier, eds., Justification: What’s at Stake in the Current Debates(Leicester, England: Apollos, 2004).
Eberhard Jüngel, Justification: The Heart of the Christian Faith (trans. Jeffrey F. Cayzer;Edinburg/New York: T&T Clark, 2001).
Jan Lambrecht and R.W. Thompson, Justification by Faith: The Implications of Romans 3:27-31(Wilmington: Michael Glazier, 1989). Justification signifies the universality of God’s love and marks the demise of boasting in ethnocentric particularism.
Eduard Lohse, “Theologie der Rechtfertigung im kritischen Disput – zu einigen neuen Perspektivenin der Interpretation der Theologie des Apostels Paulus,” Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen 249 (1997): 66-81.
Mark C. Mattes, The Role of Justification in Contemporary Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004).
Alister McGrath, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification (Cambridge: CUP, 1986).
Alister McGrath, “Justification,” in DPL, eds. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1993), 517-23.
Richard K. Moore, Rectification (‘Justification’) in Paul, in Historical Perspective, and in the English Bible: God’s Gift of Right Relationship (3 vols.; Edward Mellen Press, 2002). Moore’s massive tome argues for a relational model of Paul’s doctrine of justification.
Stephen Motyer, “Righteousness by Faith in the New Testament,” in Here We Stand: Justification by Faith Today (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1986), 33-56. All should note Motyer’s comment: “there is no doctrine of justification in the New Testament, rather, there is a doctrine ofrighteousness” (p. 34).
Peter O’Brien, “Justification in Paul and Some Crucial Issues of the Last Two Decades,” in Right with God: Justification in the Bible and the World (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1992), 69-95.
John Piper, Counted Righteous in Christ: Should We Abandon the Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness? (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2002). A robust defense of the traditional Reformed view of imputed righteousness. The section on the pastoral significance of the doctrine of justification (pp. 27-39) is superb. Also available electronically at the Desiring God website.
Joseph Plevnik, “Recent Developments in the Discussion Concerning Justification by Faith,” TJT 2 (1986): 47-62.
P. Sedgwick, “Justification by Faith: One Doctrine, Many Debates?” Theology 93 (1990): 5-12.
Thomas R. Schreiner, “Did Paul Believe in Justification by Works? Another Look at Romans 2,”BBR 3 (1993): 131-58.
Mark A Seifrid, Justification by Faith: The Origin and Development of a Central Pauline Theme(NovTSup 68; Leiden: Brill, 1992).
Mark A. Seifrid, Christ, our Righteousness: Paul’s theology of justification (NSBT 9; Downers Grove: IVP, 2000).
Mark A. Seifrid, “In What Sense is ‘Justification’ a Declaration?” Churchman 114.2 (2000): 123-36.
Mark A. Seifrid, “Paul, Luther, and Justification in Gal 2:15-21,” WTJ 65 (2003): 215-30.
Robert Smith, “Justification in ‘the New Perspective on Paul’,” RTR 58.1 (1999): 16-30.
Robert S. Smith, Justification and Eschatology: A Dialogue with “The New Perspective on Paul”(Doncaster: Reformed Theological Review, 2001).
Robert Smith, “A Critique of the ‘New Perspective’ on Justification,” RTR 58.2 (1999) 98-113.
George Vandevelde, “Justification between Scripture and Tradition,” ERT 21 (1997): 128-148.
N.T. Wright, “Justification: The Biblical Basis and its Relevance for Contemporary Evangelicalism,” in The Great Acquittal, ed. G. Reid (London: Collins, 1980), 13–37.
N. T. Wright, “Justification,” in New Dictionary of Theology, eds. Sinclair B. Ferguson, David F. Wright (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1988), 359-61.
N.T. Wright, “The Shape of Justification,” Bible Review 17 (April 2001): 8, 50. Available electronically at: http://www.thetpaulpage.com/Shape.html. Wright’s response to Paul Barnett’s critique.
N. T. Wright, “New Perspectives on Paul.” Paper presented to 10th Edinburgh DogmaticsConference August 2003. Available electronically at:http://www.ntwrightpage.com/Wright_New_Perspectives.htm.
John Zeisler, “Justification by Faith in Light of the ‘New Perspective’ on Paul,” Theology 94 (1991): 189-94.
Law and Works of the Law
Martin Abegg, “Paul, ‘Works of the Law’ and MMT,” BAR 20.6 (1994): 52-55, 82.
M. G. Abegg, “4QMMT C 27, 31 and Works Righteousness,” DSD 6 (1999): 139-47.
M. G. Abegg, “4QMMT,” in DNTB, eds. Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2000), 709-11.
Martin G. Abegg, “4QMMT, Paul, and ‘works of the law’,” in Bible at Qumran: Text, Shape and Interpretation, eds. Peter W. Flint & Tae Hun Kim (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2001), 203-16.
A. J. Bandstra, “Paul and the Law: Some Recent Developments and an Extraordinary Book,” CTJ25 (1990): 249-61.
Jacqueline C. R. de Roo, “The concept of ‘works of the law’ in Jewish and Christian literature,” inChristian-Jewish Relations Through the Centuries, eds. Brook W.R. Pearson & Stanley E. Porter (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), 116-147.
Robert Badenas, Christ the End of the Law: Romans 10.4 in Pauline Perspective (JSNTSup 10; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1985).
M. Bachmann, “4QMMT und Galaterbrief, MIQSAT MA ‛AŚEY HA-TORAH und ERGA NOMOU,”ZNW 89 (1998): 91-113.
Otto Betz, “The Qumran Halakah Text Miqsat Ma’ase Ha-Torah (4QMMT) and Sadducean, Essene, and Early Pharisaic Tradition,” in The Aramaic bible: Targums in Their Historical Context, eds. D.R.G. Beattie and M.J. McNamara (JSOTSS 166; Sheffield: SAP, 1994), 176-202.
C. E. B. Cranfield, “‘The Works of the Law’ in the Epistle to the Romans,” JSNT 43 (1991): 89-101.
James D. G. Dunn, “Works of the Law and the Curse of the Law (Galatians 3:10-14),” NTS 31 (1985): 523-42.
James D. G. Dunn, ed., Paul and the Mosaic Law (WUNT 89; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1991).
James D. G. Dunn, “Yet Once More – ‘The Works of the Law’: A Response,” JSNT (1992): 99-117.
James D. G. Dunn, “4QMMT and Galatians,” NTS 43 (1997): 147-53.
Joseph A. Fitzmyer, “Paul’s Jewish Background and the Deeds of the Law,” in According to Paul: Studies in the Theology of the Apostle (New York: Paulist, 1993), 18-35.
Lloyd Gaston, Paul and the Torah (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1987).
G. Hamerton-Kelly, “Sacred Violence and ‘Works of the law’,” CBQ 52 (1990): 55-75.
Hans Hübner, The Law in Paul’s Thought, trans. James C.G. Greig (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1984).
Veronica Koperski, What are They Saying About Paul and the Law? (New York: Paulist, 2001).
Hermann von Lectenberger, “Paulus und das Gesetz,” in Paulus und das antike Judentum, eds.Martin Hengel & Ulrich Heckel (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1991).
Bruce Longenecker, “Lifelines: Perspectives on Paul and the Law,” Anvil 1 (1999): 125-30.
Brice L. Martin, Christ and the Law in Paul (NovTestSup 62; Leiden: Brill, 1989).
Douglas J. Moo, “‘Law’, ‘Works of the Law,’ and Legalism in Paul,” WTJ 45 (1983): 90-100.
Douglas J. Moo, “Paul and the Law in the Last Ten Years,” SJT (1987): 287-307.
C. Marvin Pate, The Reverse of the Curse: Paul, Wisdom, and the Law (WUNT 2.114; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2000).
Heikki Räisänen, Paul and the Law (WUNT 29; 2d ed.; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1986).
Robert Keith Rapa, The Meaning of ‘Works of the Law’ in Galatians and Romans (New York: Peter Lang, 2001).
Peter Richardson, Stephen Westerholm, et. al., Law in Religious Communities in the Roman Period: The Debate Over Torah and Nomos in Post-Biblical Judaism and Early Christianity (SCJ 4; Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1991).
Calvin J. Roetzel, “Paul and the Law: Whence and Whither?” CBR 3 (1995): 249-75.
Thomas R. Schreiner, “Is Perfect Obedience to the Law Possible? A Re-examination of Galatians3:10,” JETS 27 (1984): 151-60.
Thomas R. Schreiner, “Paul and Perfect Obedience to the Law: An Evaluation of the view of E. P. Sanders,” WTJ 47 (1985): 245-78.
Thomas R. Schreiner, “‘Works of the Law’ in Paul,” NovT 33 (1991): 217-44.
Thomas R. Schreiner, The Law and Its Fulfillment: A Pauline Theology of Law (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1993).
Moises Silva, “The Law and Christianity: Dunn’s New Synthesis,” WTJ 53 (1991): 339-53.
R.B. Sloan, “Paul and the Law: Why the Law Cannot Save,” NovT 33 (1991): 35-60.
Klyne Snodgrass, “Spheres of Influence: A Possible Solution to the Problem of Paul and the Law,”JSNT 32 (1988): 93-113.
Frank Thielman, From Plight to Solution: A Jewish Framework for Understanding Paul’s View of the Law in Galatians and Romans (NTS LXI; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1989).
Frank Thielman, Paul and the Law: A Contextual Approach (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1994).
Lauri Thurén, Derhetorizing Paul: A Dynamic Perspective on Pauline Theology and the Law (WUNT 2/110; Tübinen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2000).
Peter J. Tomson, Paul and the Jewish Law: Halakha in the Letters of the Apostle to the Gentiles(CRINT; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990).
Chris Alex Vlachos, “Law, Sin, and Death: An Edenic Triad? An Examination with
Reference to 1 Cor 15:56.” JETS 48 (2004): 277-98. Vlachos argues that the theological soil from which Paul derived his law problematic was the Genesis Fall narrative, where the serpent expropriated the prohibition to provoke the first transgression. Rather than being polemically motivated, or being precipitated in response to either legalistic or nationalistic tendencies, Paul’s concern with the law was thus driven by primeval considerations.
Michael Winger, By what Law? The Meaning of Nomos in the Letters of Paul (SBLDS 128; Atlanta: Scholars, 1992).
N. T. Wright, “The Law in Romans 2,” in Paul and the Mosaic Law, ed. J. D. G. Dunn (Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1996), 131–50.
N. T. Wright, “Paul and Qumran : When Paul shuns the ‘works of the law,’ is he referring to the very works commended by the Dead Sea Scroll known as MMT?” Bible Review 14 (1998): 18, 54.
Studies on Judaism in Light of the NPP
Fredrich Avemarie, Tora und Leben: Untersuchungen zur Heilsbedeutung der Tora in der frühen rabbinschen Literatur (TSAJ 55; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1996).
Fredrich Avemarie and Hermann Licentenberger, eds. Bund und Tora: Zuratheologischen Begriffsgeschicgte in alttestamentlicher, frühjüdischer und urchristlicher Tradition (WUNT 135; Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1996).
Friedrich Avemarie, “Erwählung und Vergeltung: Zur optionalen Struktur rabbinischer Soteriologie,”NTS 45 (1999): 108-26.
J. M. G. Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora from Alexander to Trajan (323 BCE – 117 CE)(Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996).
Gabriele Boccaccini, Middle Judaism: Jewish Thought, 300 B.C.E to 200 C.E. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991).
Marcus Bockmuehl, Jewish Law in Gentile Churches: Halakhah and the Beginning of Christian Public Ethics (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2000).
D. A. Carson, Peter O’Brien and Mark A. Seifrid, eds., Justification and Variegated Nomism: Volume 1 – The Complexities of Second-Temple Judaism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2001). Chapters include: “Psalms and Prayers (Daniel Falk); “Scripture-Based Stories” (Craig A. Evans); “Expansions of Scripture” (Peter Enns); “Didactic Stories” (Philip R. Davies); “Apocalypse” (RichardBauckham); “Testaments” (Robert A. Kugler); “Wisdom” (Donald E. Gowan); “Tannaitic Literature” (Philip S. Alexander); Targumic Themes (Martin McNamara); “Qumran” (Markus Bockmuehl); “Josephus” (Paul Spilsbury); “Philo” (David M. Hay); “Righteousness Language in the Hebrew Scriptures” (Mark A. Seifrid); and “Pharisees” (Roland Deines).
Karl T. Cooper, “Paul and Rabbinic Soteriology: A Review Article,” WJT 44 (1982): 123-39.
Ellen Juhl Christiansen, The Covenant in Judaism and Paul: A Study of Ritual Boundaries as Identity Markers (AGAJU 27; Leiden: Brill, 1995).
James D. G. Dunn, The Parting of the Ways Between Christianity and Judaism and Their Significance for the Character of Christianity (London: SCM, 1991).
M. A. Elliott, The Survivors of Israel: A Reconsideration of the Theology of Pre-Christian Judaism(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000).
Paul Garnet, “Qumran Light on Pauline Soteriology,” in Pauline Studies, eds. D.A. Hagner andMurray J. Harris (FS for F.F. Bruce; Exeter: Paternoster, 1980), 19-32.
Beverly Roberts Gaventa, “Comparing Paul and Judaism: Rethinking our Methods,” BTB 10 (1980): 37-44.
Martin Hengel and Roland Deines, “E.P. Sanders’ ‘Common Judaism’, Jesus, and the Pharisees,”JTS 46 (1995): 1-70.
Timo Laato, Paulus und das Judentem (Ǻbo: Ǻbo Akademi, 1991). Laato recognizes Sanders’ contribution of undoing the caricature of Judaism as “legalism” but criticizes Sanders on various points: (1) Sanders fails to adequately appropriate the late nature of rabbinic materials; (2) Sanders does not recognize the difference between Paul and Judaism as being Paul’s pessimistic outlook on the human condition; and (3) Sanders is effectively arguing for a concept of “normative Judaism” which did not exist in the first-century (see esp. 65-82).
Jacob Neusner, “Comparing Judaisms,” History of Religions 18 (1978-79): 177-91.
Jacob Neusner, “E.P. Sanders Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People,” in Ancient Judaism: Debates and Disputes (Brown Judaic Studies 64; Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1994).
Jacob Neusner, Judaic Law from Jesus to the Mishnah: A Systematic Reply to Professor E.P. Sanders (Atlanta: Scholars, 1993).
Jacob Neusner, “Mr Sanders’ Pharisees and Mine: A Response to E P Sanders, Jewish Law from Jesus to the Mishnah,” SJT 44 (1991): 73-95.
Jacob Neusner, “The Use of Later Rabbinic Evidence for the Study of Paul,” in Approaches to Ancient Judaism, ed. W. S. Green (6 vols.; Chico: Scholars, 1980), 2:43-63.
George W. E. Nickelsburg, Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins: Diversity, Continuity, and Transformation (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003). See chapter 2 “Torah and the Righteousness of Life” and chapter 3 “God’s Activity on Behalf of Humans” which compares and contrasts the soteriologyof Christianity and Judaism. Nickelsburg does not think Judaism can be characterized as “works-righteousness” and the main Christian differences between the two were Christological.
George W. E. Nickelsburg and Robert A. Kraft, eds., Early Judaism and its Modern Interpreters(SBL; Atlanta: Scholars, 1986). See esp. “Introduction” pp. 20-21.
Stanley E. Porter and Jacqueline De-Roo, eds. Concept of the Covenant in the Second TemplePeriod (Leiden: Brill, 2003).
E. P. Sanders, The Jewish Law (London: SCM, 1990).
E. P. Sanders, Judaism: Practice and Belief 63 BCE – 66 CE (London: SCM, 1992).
J. J. Scott, “Crisis and Reaction: Roots of Diversity in Intertestamental Judaism,” EQ 64 (1992): 197-212.
Mikael Winninge, Sinners and the Righteous: A Comparative Study of the Psalms of Solomon and Paul’s Letters (ConBNT 26; Stockholm, Almqvist & Wiksell, 1995).
N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God (COQG 1; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992).
Commentaries that Engage the NPP
Brendan Byrne, Romans (Sacra Pagina; Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazier, 1996).
William Dumbrell, Romans: A New Covenant Commentary (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2005).
James D. G. Dunn, Romans 1-8 (WBC; Dallas, TX : Word, 1988).
James D. G. Dunn, Romans 9-16 (WBC; Dallas, TX : Word, 1988).
James D. G. Dunn, Galatians (BNTC; London: A&C Black, 1993).
Don B. Garlington, Exposition of Galatians: A New Perspective/Reformational Reading (Eugene,Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2002).
A. Katherine Grieb, The Story of Romans: A Narrative Defense of God’s Righteousness (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2002).
R. David Kaylor, Paul’s Covenant Community: Jew and Gentile in Romans (Atlanta: John Knox, 1988).
Richard N. Longenecker, Galatians (WBC; Dallas, TX: Word, 1990). Longenecker is sympathetic to works by Sanders but maintains that Paul’s opponents were still “nomistic” and “legalistic”, see esp. pp. xcviii, 86.
Frank J. Matera, Galatians (Sacra Pagina; Collegeville, MN: Litrugical Press, 1992).
Scot McKnight, Galatians (NIVAC; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995).
Peter T. O’Brien, The Epistle to the Philippians (NIGTC; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1991).
Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans (BECNT; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1998). The draw back of this commentary is that in a subsequent work (Paul Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ) Schreiner has changed his mind from a transformative understanding of justification to a strictly forensic view.
Charles H. Talbert, Romans (Macon: Smyth and Helwys, 2002).
Ben Witherington, Romans: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004). Witherington approaches Romans through the grid of socio-rhetorical criticism and also attempting to offer a non-Reformed reading of the epistle. The excursus on “A Closer Look: Righteousness in the LXX, Early Judaism and Paul” (pp. 52-54) and “A Closer Look: ‘Justified’ and Concepts ofCovenental Nomism” (pp. 102-7) are useful and represent a middle ground in regard to faith and obedience.
Ben Witherington, Grace in Galatia: A Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998).
N. T. Wright, “Romans,” in New Interpreter’s Bible (ed. Leander E. Keck; Nashville: Abingdon 2002), 10:395-770.
N.T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: Romans (London: SPCK; 2004).
Mark M. Mattison (Webmaster). “The Paul Page: Dedicated to the New Perspective on Paul.”www.thepaulpage.com/. This site has a range of articles, reviews and debates about the NPP. Authors hyperlinked in the site range in stature from established scholars to amateurs. This is probably the best website for the NPP to date and is becoming frequently cited in books and articles.
Mark Goodacre (Webmaster). “New Testament Gateway.” http://www.ntgateway.com/. By far the best New Testament resource site on the web. Goodacre’s link to Pauline studies has a good selection of on-line Pauline publications available including those relevant to the NPP. The site is regularly updated and it contains exclusively scholarly contributions.
Kevin Bush (Webmaster). “NTWright Page.” http://www.ntwrightpage.com/. This site contains a selection of writings and audio sermons from N.T. Wright, bishop of Durham.
Peter M. Head. The History of the Interpretation of the Apostle. This page is a part of a series of lectures on the history of the interpretation of the Apostle Paul. See:
(1) “Lecture 7: E.P. Sanders and the New Perspective on Paul,”http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/staff/Head/Lent_07_Handout.htm.
(2) “Lecture 8: Responses to the New Perspective on Paul.”http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/Tyndale/staff/Head/Lent_08_Handout.htm.
(3) “Justification and Variegated Nomism: Cambridge Seminar for NT PhD students.”
by Phillip Cary
The key concept in The Meaning of Protestant Theology is there in the subtitle: The Gospel that Gives Us Christ. That’s the core of Protestant theology and the key to its meaning, as well as the center of the distinctively Protestant piety of the Word. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most fundamental form of what Christian traditions call “means of grace,” which is to say: the ways God gives his own Son as our savior, our righteousness, and our eternal life. When Catholics think of “means of grace,” they think first of sacraments. The Eastern Orthodox may think first of icons. But Protestants think first of the saving power of the Word of God, without which there are no sacraments and icons lose all meaning. Every form of Christian piety needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ if it is to have any meaning at all. So the Protestant piety of the Word, centered on the Gospel, is a gift to the whole Christian tradition.[Read more…]
Many readers of 1 Corinthians 15:44 have puzzled over the language with which Paul contrasts the Christian’s body as it presently exists, on the one hand, and as it will exist after being resurrected, on the other hand. In the preceding verses, Paul says the former is “perishable,” exhibits “dishonor,” and suffers from “weakness,” but the latter will be “imperishable,” display “glory,” and enjoy “power” (vv. 42–43). So far, so good. Paul goes on, however, to confuse readers for generations to come, calling the Christian’s present body “natural,” and her future resurrection body “spiritual.”[Read more…]
We continue our LNTS interview series with a stimulating conversation with Dorothea Bertschmann on her book, Bowing Before Christ – Nodding to the State? Dorothea discusses the power of the “political” Paul through examination of two theological powerhouses who have dominated the discussion. Her argument is a sublime petition for balance in the consideration and utilization of the apostle Paul in the church’s engagement with the worldly powers that be.