PAUL AND THE LAW – Bits and Pieces of my M.A. Thesis

In the following posts I will explore the topic of “Paul and the Law” and give some brief overview of the current debate, specifically in respect to the so called New Perspective on Paul (NPP). I also wish to clarify some misunderstandings concerning Paul’s negative and positive statements about the Law and conclude these posts with my approach to Paul and the Law. In my mind we are actually able to comprehend and make sense of the “contradictory” statements concerning the Law, if we understand Paul’s salvation-historical perspective. By means of an analysis of phrases like “works of the Law” (ἔργα νόμου) and being “under the law” I hope that this will be accomplished. Having done such, I will further be exploring some of Paul’s positive statements about Torah.

A Brief Survey of Recent Debate

In this section I want to briefly—and I mean briefly!—introduce the current scholarship on Paul[1] and his writings, specifically with reference to Paul and the Law.[2] For obvious reasons this can only be done in such a brief manner that at one point or another only very superficial representations and arguments of certain scholars can be given. My purpose here is not to fully convey the last forty or so years of research but to introduce the topic at hand via a short summary without giving any evaluation of the different positions discussed.

In order to give a brief survey on recent scholarship regarding Paul and the Law we need to take some steps back and have to look at some earlier scholars. But how recent is recent? Should we go all the way back to F. C. Baur and the TübingenSchool whose major presuppositions and studies provided the general framework of Pauline studies until the mid-1970s?[3] Or should we start with Stendahl and his seminal work “The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West”?[4] In my mind and for the sake of space we need to choose the latter. Not that beforehand (and even before Baur) there was no significant interpreter of Paul—think for example of at least Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, just to mention some of the major figures of the past—but we need to start somewhere.

But before we will come to Stendahl’s work two earlier Jewish critiques should be mentioned briefly. The first is the monograph by Claude G. Montefiore and the second is the article by George Foot Moore.[5] Montefiore in his work pointed out that the Judaism which was presented in the Pauline letters had nothing to do with the Judaism of Jerusalem and that thus Paul must have not been a Rabbinic Jew. Montefiore asks “How far was Paul, up to his conversion, a Rabbinic Jew? Was Rabbinic Judaism the religion which he had known, believed in, and practiced?”[6] One of the major presuppositions in Montefiore’s work is that Rabbinic Judaism (A.D. 300-500) was similar to the Judaism of A.D. 50 which “was a better, happier, and more noble religion than one might infer from the writings of the Apostle.”[7] Further, Montefiore pointed out that Rabbinic Jews believed in a God of grace and that Torah was His gracious gift to the Jewish people. The solution to the problem of the Judaism presented in Paul then must be that Paul was a Jew of the Diaspora which developed a different Judaism which was “colder, less intimate, less happy.”[8]

Moore demonstrates in his article that until recently (in his time) Christian theologians and historians have taken hardly any interest in Jewish writings for the sake of a proper understanding of Judaism. The works of most Christian scholars had been of “apologetic or polemic rather than historical” nature.[9] Starting in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries there was now an attempt “to portray Judaism as it was, from its own literature, without apologetic, polemic, or dogmatic prepossessions or intentions.”[10] Nineteenth and twentieth Christian scholars were guilty again of presenting Judaism in a legalistic fashion. Because of such Moore raises the question “What then brought legalism to the front in the new apologetic?” which he answers:

Not a fresh and more thorough study of Judaism at the beginning of our era, but a new apologetic motive, consequent on a different apprehension of Christianity on the part of the New Testament theologians who now took up the task. The ‘essence’ of Christianity, and therefore its specific difference from Judaism, was for the first time sought in the religion of Jesus — his teaching and his personal piety.[11]    

This then was set in contrast to the scribes and Pharisees. The contrast of Jesus to the Judaism of his day became the norm in understanding Palestinian Judaism.

Up until the 1970s the typical law/gospel divide which Luther introduced was hardly challenged and was further cemented by Baur’s Hegelian understanding of early Christianity with the Pauline (Law-free) and Petrine (Judaizing) opposition.[12] But Moo, leaning on Robert Jewett,[13] already observed in 1987 that “scholarship on Paul and the Law in the last ten years has witnessed a ‘paradigm shift.’”[14] What Moo refers to is the so called New Perspective on Paul (from here on NPP) which finds its beginning stage in Stendahl’s work.[15]

In this seminal study Stendahl points out that “the Pauline awareness of sin has been interpreted in the light of Luther’s struggle with his conscience.”[16] Stendahl’s point is that Paul did not suffer under an evil conscience but to the opposite he had a fairly robust one. For Paul sin in his own case needs to be capitalized because his Sin was his persecuting the church of God. Therefore Stendahl states that “we look in vain for a statement in which Paul would speak about himself as an actual sinner” and that when Paul “speaks about his conscience, he witnesses to his good conscience before men and God.”[17] Stendahl thus understands Rom 7 not as a subjective struggle of the apostle with his sins but Paul is here “involved in an argument about the Law” and hence “a defense for the holiness and goodness of the Law.”[18] Paul demonstrates that is not God’s good and holy Law but sin which is to blame for the human predicament and thus Paul can “rescue the Law as a good gift of God.”[19] According to Stendahl a major revision was needed in Pauline studies and that is exactly what happened. And it is here where the NPP finds its way into Pauline studies.[20]

In his Paul and Palestinian Judaism E. P. Sanders finally broke entirely with the traditional understanding of Paul and the Law.[21] In this work he sought to understand the issue at hand via “patterns of religion” rather than theology. His attempt should not necessarily be termed NPP but New Perspective on Palestinian Judaism. The major term he coined is “covenantal nomism” which pattern he describes as:

(1) God has chosen Israel and (2) given the law.  The law implies both (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 by God’s mercy rather than human achievement.[22]

Sanders argues against a legalistic understanding of Judaism of Paul’s time and for an understanding of works as to pertaining the maintenance of the salvific position of the Jew. The problem of the Jewish religion was, in one sense, not the adherence to the Law but that it needed Christ too. There was a major salvation-historical shift which Paul saw and that the Jews needed to see as well.[23] What Paul finds wrong in Judaism, according to Sanders, is that “it is not Christianity.”[24]

Responding to Sanders’ work the Finnish Neutestamentler Heikki Räisänen brought the study of Paul and the Law to a radical conclusion.[25] He reasoned that if that which Sanders proposed is true then there was no way to think of Paul to be a coherent and systematic thinker. Very early in his work he states that he can only find one solution to Paul’s statements concerning the law—flat out contradictions. He writes: “Contradictions and tensions have to be accepted as constant features of Paul’s theology of the Law” and we should not think of them as simply being “accidental or peripheral in nature.”[26] These tensions are real and need to be dealt with as such. Räisänen further writes: “The very tensions and ‘impossibilities’ of Paul’s thoughts do, if not dialectically diluted, give us ‘instruction,’ or at least indications of what was going on in Paul’s mind. Rather than gloss over contradictions, one should take them very seriously as pointers to Paul’s personal theological problems, even if that means that his reasoning appears to take on a surprisingly subjective colouring.”[27] For Räisänen, Paul is not only contradicting himself but also representing Judaism falsely and thus creates a wrong dichotomy of righteousness by law or righteousness by Christ and thus “[d]rives a wedge between law and grace.”[28]

Another scholar who took Sanders further, but not to the extreme Räisänen did, is James D. G. Dunn. In the Manson Memorial Lecture Dunn termed the phrase of the NPP. In this lecture which was later published as an article, Dunn defines his understanding of Second Temple Judaism and Paul’s relation to such.[29] Whereas Dunn agrees with Sanders’ account of Palestinian Judaism, he responds with some strong objections to Sanders’ portrayal of Paul. He writes that the “Lutheran Paul has been replaced by an idiosyncratic Paul who in arbitrary and irrational manner turns his face against the glory and greatness of Judaism’s covenant theology and abandons Judaism simply because it is not Christianity.”[30] According to Dunn the Law functioned as an identification of the Jewish people and thus the social component of it should not be neglected. In another article this understanding of the Law leads Dunn to conclude that Paul’s argument is against “works of the law”[31] in the sense of using it as “boundary markers” and thus the Jewish boasting in “their claim to an exclusively Jewish righteousness.”[32]

N. T. Wright also agrees with Sanders and states that “Judaism, so far from being a religion of works, is based on a clear understanding of grace, the grace that chose Israel in the first place to be a special people. Good works are simply gratitude, and demonstrate that one is faithful to the covenant.”[33] For Wright “justification is not about how one gets saved but instead centers on who is part of the people of God.”[34] The issue with Israel is that they “recapitulated the sin of Adam” based on Wright’s reading of Rom 7.[35] He further sees that the rejection of the Messiah by the Jewish people “is the logical outworking of her misuse of the Torah” which is seen in their treating Torah as “a charter of automatic privilege.”[36] The ultimate issue Paul has and what he is arguing against in his polemic against the Law is Israel’s boasting in “national righteousness” and using Sabbath, circumcision, and kosher food as “badges of superiority.”[37]

We now have surveyed three of the major figures of the NPP (i.e., Sanders, Dunn, and Wright as well as the precursor Stendahl and the radical view of Räisänen) which leaves us with four figures who are arguing against such a view: Stephen Westerholm, Thomas R. Schreiner, Douglas J. Moo, and Frank Thielman.[38]

Stephen Westerholm agrees with Sanders, Dunn, and Wright that it “is misleading to represent Judaism as a religion of ‘works-salvation’” and that “observance of the law may be regarded as Israel’s path to life” and that “as a rule Judaism has not despaired of human capacity to render at least the token obedience which God requires of his people.”[39] But he also argues that “[t]he law, as law, is meant to be observed: only so can the life and blessings that it promises be enjoyed.”[40] But after Paul encountered the risen Christ on the road to Damascus things changed dramatically. The apostle then started to believe that “human beings, at enmity with God and in slavery to sin, have neither the ability nor the inclination to submit to God’s law.”[41] According to Westerholm Paul believed “human sin has rendered the righteousness of the law inoperable as a means to life”[42] and that “the mark of Christian ethics is life in the Spirit, an ethic which Paul explicitly contrasts with obligation to the law.”[43] Everything humans try to achieve for righteousness before God is rendered null and the only way to receive righteousness is by faith and God’s grace. For Westerholm, Luther might have overstated certain aspects—and yes, was a victim of his time—but nevertheless he was able to capture “the essence of the apostle’s writings.”[44] The issue of Paul and the Law is after all the same old story.

Thomas R. Schreiner is another proponent arguing for a different kind of understanding of Paul and the Law.[45] In discussing Rom 3:21ff Schreiner states that faith contrary to human works which build the basis for boasting “excludes any human boasting because it relies upon what God has done in Christ…. It receives righteousness from God through Christ instead of showing God how righteous one is.” Schreiner concludes here that “justification comes by faith apart from the works required in the law. Righteousness before God is obtained by believing rather than doing.[46] In relation to Rom 4 he writes contra to NPP that “Paul’s polemic against works as the basis of salvation must be directed against some who believed that works qualified them to receive the inheritance” and asserts that “otherwise, Paul’s remarks are merely theoretical and address a problem that he did not face in his ministry. Paul does not waste time in his letters to critique problems that did not exist.”[47] For Schreiner the challenge Paul is facing is some kind of legalism—the establishment of one’s righteousness before God via one’s own doing.[48] According to him “some Jews lived in a legalistic manner, and that some of them became the opponents of Paul (and Jesus!).”[49] Though he is grateful for Sanders’ work in cautioning us not to oversimplify Palestinian Judaism in Paul’s day, he charges Sanders to have done so by claiming that the running paradigm was “covenantal nomism.”[50]

Douglas J. Moo is another major voice in the debate.[51] In his investigation concerning justification language in Galatians he is convinced that “every occurrence of δικ- language … relates to the doctrine of justification” and that “in Galatians, justification is forensic.”[52] Paul had introduced the “strong contrast between faith and torah … as a fundamental principle” in Gal 2:16 and Moo further argues in light of 3:10-14 that Torah “cannot be the means of justification because, by definition (for Paul), it involves ‘doing’ rather than ‘believing’.”[53] He also writes (contra Wright[54]) that Paul does not deal with the issue of “the inclusion of Gentiles in the new messianic community per se … but the terms on which they should be recognized as such.”[55] This term is faith and not works of the law. The coming of Christ has brought a major shift in salvation history; it is no longer Torah but Christ who defines a right relationship to God.

We also need to pay attention to Moo’s cautioning against a strong distinction between a forensic justification and moral transformation. He writes that “it does much better justice to Paul if we connect forensic justification with transformation by viewing both as inevitable and necessary products of our being ‘in Christ’.”[56] Moo is thankful for NPP’s corrective (even if too simplistic at times!) concerning our understanding of Palestinian Judaism and the stereotypes which developed in Christian interpretations and for NPP’s emphasis on the people of God as a major theme in Paul’s theological thought. What he finds troublesome is the “overall balance that they give to certain issues” and that through such they “exchange background and foreground in their overall reading of Romans.”[57]

The last one to be considered in the recent debate on Paul and the Law is Frank Thielman.[58] Thielman agrees with Sanders in that Paul did not assign “to Judaism generally a doctrine of salvations by works.”[59] There were some who were holding a more legalistic understanding of salvation but it would be wrong to infer from this that all the Jewish people did so; according to Thielman’s analysis most did not believe in such as seen in Paul’s treatment in Gal 2:15-16 and Rom 1:18-3:26. In his writing Thielman proposes three convictions the Jewish people had which will enable us to understand the apostle’s dealing with the Law.[60] The first one is that the Jews at the time of Paul saw the Roman imperial domination of their land as a consequence of the Jewish disobedience of Torah. Second, we need to understand that the observance of the Law was seen by the Jews as “their status as God’s chosen people.”[61] The third conviction of the Jewish people was the belief in God’s intervening power which would free them from their disobedience and the Roman domineering power.

Paul models the gospel after the Mosaic Law and its “pattern of religion” in that the divine act of grace precedes the demand of obedience, in that both the Old and the New Testament subscribe to “the prevenience of God’s grace”, and in that the Mosaic Law does provide “ethical directions for Paul’s churches.”[62] But the gospel is needed so that the people of God—the eschatological community—might be freed from the curse of the Law under which the Jews of Paul’s time saw themselves suffering. The coming of Christ is the turning point of history and this made all the difference. Now Jews needed to choose between Christ and the Law.[63]  Yet, when they chose the Law over Christ, the Law turned into works.

At this point we have briefly summarized the different position on the Paul and the Law debate to show that the topic at hand is quite difficult to assess. Though there is some difficulty, in my mind there is a possibility to make sense of Paul’s “contradictory” statements concerning the Law. But for us to make sense of such, we need to investigate Paul’s negative statements as well as positive statements in respect to the Law. Via investigation into Paul’s understanding of salvation history, “works of the law”, and being “under the law”, I hope that a coherent thought pattern in the apostle’s writing can be detected and the positive remarks made by the apostle about Torah will shed light on his understanding of Torah’s role in the life of the believer. 

[1]For assessments on Pauline scholarship with broad reference from 1991-1997 see S. E. Porter, “Understanding Pauline Studies: An Assessment of Recent Research (Part One),” Themelios 22, no. 1 (1996): 14–25; S. E. Porter, “Understanding Pauline Studies: An Assessment of Recent Research (Part Two),” Themelios 22, no. 2 (1997): 13–24. See also A. Andrew Das, Paul and the Jews, Library of Pauline Studies (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003);  Colin G. Kruse, Paul, the Law, and Justification (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997); Michael Bachmann and Johannes Woyke, eds., Lutherische und neue Paulusperspektive: Beiträge zu einem Schlüsselproblem der gegenwärtigen exegetischen Diskussion, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament; 182 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005); D. A Carson, Peter T. O’Brien, and Mark A. Seifrid, eds., Justification and Variegated Nomism: Volume 1 – The Complexities of Second Temple Judaism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001); idem., Justification and Variegated Nomism: Volume 2 – The Paradoxes of Paul (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004). For further assessment on the New Perspective on Paul see n. 12.

[2]See K. R. Snodgrass, “Spheres of Influence : A Possible Solution to the Problem of Paul and the Law,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 32 (1988): 94–96.; as well as the recent article by N. T. Wright, “Paul in Current Anglophone Scholarship,” Expository Times 123, no. 8 (2012): 367–381.

[3]So S. J. Hafemann, “Paul and His Interpreters,” ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 666. According to Hafemann Baur provided three fundamental questions with which one needs to wrestle in Pauline studies: “(1) The identity and perspective of Paul’s opposition as a key to his own life and thought, (2) Paul’s view of the Law and its relationship to his own understanding of the Gospel, and (3) the search for the generating center of Paul’s theology” (688). The second item of this list will be our concern.

[4]Krister Stendahl, “The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West,” Harvard Theological Review 56, no. 3 (1963): 199–215.

[5]C. G. Montefiore, Judaism and St. Paul (London: Max Goschen, 1914) and George Foot Moore, “Christian Writers on Judaism,” Harvard Theological Review 14, no. 3 (1921): 197–254 respectively.

[6]Montefiore, Judaism and St. Paul, 13–14.

[7]Ibid., 87.

[8]Ibid., 93.

[9] Moore, “Christian Writers on Judaism,” 197.

[10]Ibid., 225.

[11]Ibid., 253.

[12]Hafemann, “Paul and His Interpreters,” 671.

[13]R. Jewett, “The Law and the Coexistence of Jews and Gentiles in Romans,” Interpretation 39, no. 4 (1985): 341–356.

[14]Douglas J. Moo, “Paul and the Law in the Last Ten Years,” Scottish Journal of Theology 40, no. 2 (1987): 287.

[15]Even Stendahl’s work itself did not come out of the blue. Some antecedent work which led to the reevaluation of  the law/gospel divide in Pauline studies can already be found in Johannes Munck, Paul and the Salvation of Mankind, trans. Frank Clarke, 1st English ed. (Richmond: John Knox Press, 1959). Hans Joachim Schoeps, Paul: The Theology of the Apostle in the Light of Jewish Religious History (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961). William David Davies, Paul and Rabbinic Judaism: Some Rabbinic Elements in Pauline Theology (London: SPCK, 1948).

[16]Stendahl, “The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West,” 200. He further points out that the reading via an introspective conscience goes all the way back to Augustine (203).   

[17]Ibid., 210.

[18]Ibid., 92-93.

[19] Ibid., 93 [emphasis mine].

[20]For recent studies on the NPP see F. D. Farnell, “The New Perspective on Paul: Its Basic Tenets, History, and Presuppositions,” Master’s Seminary Journal 16, no. 2 (2005): 189–243. D. B. Garlington, “The New Perspective on Paul: An Appraisal Two Decades Later,” Criswell Theological Review 2, no. 2 (2005): 17–38. J. A. Meek, “The New Perspective on Paul: An Introduction for the Uninitiated,” Concordia Journal 27, no. 3 (2001): 208–233.and specifically the introduction of J. D. G. Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul: Collected Essays (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), 1–88. For a good overview of the many scholars involved (either contra or pro) see Stephen Westerholm, Perspectives Old and New on Paul: The “Lutheran” Paul and His Critics (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2004) which appears in a more abbreviated form in Stephen Westerholm, “The ‘New Perspective’ at Twenty-Five,” in Justification and Variegated Nomism: Volume 2 – The Paradoxes of Paul, ed. D. A Carson, Peter T. O’Brien, and Mark A. Seifrid (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004). An earlier summary was given in the first chapter in Frank Thielman, From Plight to Solution: A Jewish Framework for Understanding Paul’s View of the Law in Galatians and Romans (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1989).Frank Thielman, Paul and the Law: A Contextual Approach (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 14–47. See also Guy Prentiss Waters, Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul: A Review and Response / (Phillipsburg, N. J.: P&R, 2004). Michael F. Bird, The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification and the New Perspective (Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster, 2007).

[21]E. P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion, 1st American ed. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977). Richard N. Longenecker, Introducing Romans: Critical Issues in Paul’s Most Famous Letter (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2011), 324 points out that his Paul, Apostle of Liberty, 1st ed. (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), 65–85 had already pointed into that direction. Thomas R. Schreiner, 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2010), 35 also lists Montefiore, Judaism and St. Paul and Moore, “Christian Writers on Judaism” as precursors to Sanders’ work.

[22]Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism, 422. During a lecture on E. P. Sanders’ work it was pointed out by Joshua W. Jipp at TrinityEvangelicalDivinitySchool that the subject “truth, ultimate” in the index leads only to blank sites at which one needs to wonder about the implication thereof.

[23]This aspect will be treated below in “Paul’s Negative Statements of the Law: Paul and Salvation History.” My point here is not to critique the individual scholars and movements but to give a broad overview of the recent debate and hence we need to leave the critique aside and let the reader find guidance in the bibliographic material. For some understanding concerning the Torah and Judaism at Paul’s time see Hermann Lichtenberger, “Das Tora-Verständnis im Judentum zur Zeit des Paulus,” in Paul and the Mosaic Law, ed. J. D. G. Dunn (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 1996); and D. A Carson, Peter T. O’Brien, and Mark A. Seifrid, eds., Justification and Variegated Nomism: Volume 1 – The Complexities of Second Temple Judaism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001)., as well as Friedrich Avemarie, Tora Und Leben: Untersuchungen Zur Heilsbedeutung Der Tora in Der Frühen Rabbinischen Literatur (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1996). who investigated the themes of election and works in rabbinic literature and found them in “an uneasy tension” so Schreiner, 40 Questions, 38.

[24]Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism, 552.

[25]Heikki Räisänen, Paul and the Law (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1987). First published in 1983 by Fortress.

[26]Ibid., 11.

[27]Ibid., 12.

[28]Ibid., 187.

[29]See the second chapter “The New Perspective on Paul” in Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul. The article appeared first in the BJRL, vol. 65 (1983) with the same title.

[30]Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul, 93.

[31]See the fuller discussion below on “Works of the Law.”

[32]Dunn, The New Perspective on Paul, 129–130. These pages refer to the third chapter “Works of the Law and the curse of the Law” in his work which was delivered in August 1984 as a seminar paper at the SNTS Conference in Basel.

[33]N. T. Wright, “The Paul of History and the Apostle of Faith,” Tyndale Bulletin 29 (1978): 80.

[34]Thomas R. Schreiner, “An Old Perspective on the New Perspective,” Concordia Journal 35, no. 2 (2009): 141.  Wright’s “full treatment” on his understanding of justification is given in N. T. Wright, Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009).

[35]N. T. Wright, The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), 197.

[36]Ibid., 240.

[37] Ibid., 243.

[38]For sure many others could be mentioned here as well. But time and space do not permit to do so, therefore the reader needs to be satisfied with the three represented and find the other scholars and their works in the bibliographic material mentioned throughout this chapter (particularly the works mentioned in note 1 and 2).

[39]Stephen Westerholm, Israel’s Law and the Church’s Faith: Paul and His Recent Interpreters (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1988), 142.

[40]Westerholm, “The ‘New Perspective’ at Twenty-Five,” 37.


[42]Westerholm, Israel’s Law and the Church’s Faith, 142.

[43]Ibid., 199.

[44]Westerholm, “The ‘New Perspective’ at Twenty-Five,” 38.

[45]See for example his Thomas R Schreiner, The Law and Its Fulfillment: A Pauline Theology of Law (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1993); Schreiner, 40 Questions.

[46]Schreiner, “An Old Perspective on the New Perspective,” 144.

[47]Ibid., 145.

[48]In his Schreiner, The Law and Its Fulfillment, 94 he writes: “My thesis is that Paul detected legalism in Judaism because its soteriology was synergistic.” 

[49]Ibid., 115.

[50]Schreiner, “An Old Perspective on the New Perspective,” 151.

[51]See specifically Douglas J. Moo, “Justification in Galatians,” in Understanding the Times: New Testament Studies in the 21st Century: Essays in Honor of D.A. Carson on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday, ed. Andreas J. Köstenberger and Robert W. Yarbrough (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011), 160–195 and idem., “Israel and the Law in Romans 5-11: Interaction with the New Perspective,” in Justification and Variegated Nomism: Volume 2 – The Paradoxes of Paul, ed. D. A Carson, Peter T. O’Brien, and Mark A. Seifrid (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004).

[52]Moo, “Justification in Galatians,” 163.

[53]Ibid., 166–167 respectively.

[54]Wright, Justification; see specifically, 116, 121 where an either/or argument concerning forensic acquittal or membership in God’s family is made. But this is than relativized esp. on pp. 133-34 with a both/and argument as pointed out by Moo, “Justification in Galatians,” 173.

[55]Moo, “Justification in Galatians,” 173.

[56]Ibid., 176.

[57]Moo, “Israel and the Law in Romans 5-11: Interaction with the New Perspective,” 188.

[58]Thielman, Paul and the Law; idem., From Plight to Solution., idem., “The Coherence of Paul’s View of the Law: The Evidence of First Corinthians,” New Testament Studies 38, no. 2 (1992): 235–253; idem., “Law and Liberty in the Ethics of Paul,” Ex Auditu 11 (1995): 63–75.

[59]Thielman, Paul and the Law, 188.

[60]Ibid., 49.


[62]Ibid., 240.

[63]Snodgrass, “Spheres of Influence,” 97 writes: “Circumstances are different for Paul now that Christ has appeared…Whereas formerly the center of gravity or dominating force for Paul and other Jews was the law, now he found that center of gravity in Christ The spotlight has been turned from the law and placed on Chist, and accordingly one must turn to Christ (2 Cor. 3.16). The cross and resurrection, the giving of the Spirit, and the presence of the new age constitute a decisive turning point and require a salvation-historical shift.”

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