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KingsGambit
04-13-2015, 06:47 AM
We've been studying the New Perspective on Paul in my New Testament class. My professor is a proponent. He holds that Paul believed the Mosaic law was still binding on Jewish Christians, and that he held to the law himself. Is this the usual stance for New Perspective proponents? (Does, say, N.T. Wright hold to this?)

Paprika
04-13-2015, 09:20 AM
In the light of this, and of Paul’s own insistence that he took what he calls the ‘strong’ position, I find myself in agreement with those who have maintained that Paul did not himself continue to keep the kosher laws, and did not propose to, or require of, other ‘Jewish Christians’ that they should, either (359).

Paul’s revising of the Jewish symbol of Torah in terms of food and table- fellowship, then, was clear, if necessarily complex. First, all those who belong to the Messiah, and are defined by Messiah-faithfulness and baptism, belong at the same table: this, as we shall see, is a constitutive part of his most central new positive symbol. Second, Messiah-followers are free to eat whatever they wish, with that freedom curtailed only (but strongly) when someone else’s ‘weak’ conscience is endangered. Third, Messiah-followers are free to eat ordinary meals with anyone they like, but not with someone who professes to be one of the family but whose behaviour indicates otherwise. Fourth (an extra but important point), Messiah-followers are not free to go into a pagan temple and eat there. To do so would be to stage a contest with the lord himself. All this is not just ‘ethics’. It is a matter of a freshly crafted symbolic universe (361).

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2013/10/15/nt-wright-and-the-supersessionism-question-what-did-paul-do/

mikewhitney
04-13-2015, 10:55 AM
I will give this a try, though I haven't focused on the broad NPP issues.

EP Sanders originally said that based on 2nd century Jewish writings that Paul's Christianity didn't differ from that 2nd century description of Judaism. The essential thing he presented was that both groups relied on the same formula of grace plus works. Sanders essentially was countering the NT scholars who had found, and argued with use, the 2nd century writings as showing a legalistic works-oriented focus among Jews in their effort to be justified before God.

Many scholars then tried to find another basis for Paul's promotion of faith in Christ over against works of the law. I think then Krister Stendahl's "The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West" became the grounds for many scholars to look at Paul's writing not as describing individual's way of salvation but rather as the justification of groups.

Wright focused on the idea of righteousness being based on one's participation and adherence to the 'group.' Wright then seems to build a whole interpretative system about this focus on group righteousness. But he doesn't seem to require works as a requirement but rather these are evidence.

Dunn sees the works of the law as an issue of boundary markers. He therefore tends to interpret the works of the law as being promoted by Jews who were trying to still maintain their own distinction as Jews, distinct from gentiles who now followed the Jewish Messiah. I'm not sure what Dunn sees of the Jewish laws themselves.

These interpretive frameworks begin to allow other scholars to propose, to various degrees, that the Jewish law is still active or pertinent. Although old Paul advocates sometimes have also described a continuation of the Jewish laws ( usually abridged with ideas of segregating the law into ceremonial, priestly and moral laws) such continuation in the NPP has even been promoted (e.g. by John Gager, I think) to the point of saying that Jews could continue in their pre-Messianic form of worship (and obedience) while gentiles were to come to God through the Messianic path.

I'm not sure which NPP scholars actually advocate, as part of NPP, a continued obedience to the law of Moses. But we can see how Dunn, for one, has opened an avenue for proponents of Jewish laws to envision these laws applying to gentiles.

mikewhitney
04-13-2015, 11:20 AM
Here's a thought in a different direction...

We mainly see discussion of the role of the Jewish law among gentiles who were in the Messianic sect of Judaism. Not as many, if any, scholarly studies (NPP or otherwise) seem to address the relevance of Jewish laws for the Jewish followers of Christ. To some degree Gal 2 and Acts 15 show that Jewish followers of Christ still could be adhering to the such laws. We likely find in this scenario a dynamic set of doctrines which narrowly applied to Jewish believers of the first century. They may have necessarily continued in a dual participation both in the sacrificial temple practices as well as in participation in Christ-focused actions. It is possible that they nonetheless could have shed themselves of Jewish traditions beyond the requirements of the law of Moses.

I would not figure that Paul saw a need, at least for his own situation, to practice the Jewish laws.

KingsGambit
04-13-2015, 12:11 PM
They may have necessarily continued in a dual participation both in the sacrificial temple practices as well as in participation in Christ-focused actions. It is possible that they nonetheless could have shed themselves of Jewish traditions beyond the requirements of the law of Moses.


One example of a sort of dual participation (though excluding the sacrificial temple practices) might have been Paul's Nazarite vow in Acts 18 (I know some hold that it was not a Nazarite vow but this seems to be the majority view). This was upheld by my professor as an example of Paul following the Jewish law in toto; I found this argument to be weak, and the framework you suggest here provides a perfectly reasonable justification.

The book of Hebrews seems (to me, at least) to indicate that some Jewish Christians were participating in temple sacrifices, against the wishes of the apostolic author of the book.

footwasher
04-13-2015, 01:00 PM
http://www.google.co.in/search?q=qmmt4+n+t+wright&gws_rd=cr&ei=NCAsVd-mAcebuQS-vIHgCA

Quote
There is a final point in which the parallel between MMT and Paul needs to be nuanced and modified. MMT presupposed obedience to the biblical Torah itself, and added extra commands as a further interpretation of how precisely one should keep Torah. Paul, by placing ‘faith’ at the crucial point of community definition, clearly intends that neither possession nor practice of either Torah itself or particular sectarian halakhoth would be of any importance in defining the eschatological coven ant community. For Paul, in other words, faith is not something which is simply added on to existing Torahobservance; it supplants Torahimportance. At the same time, as Romans 3.31, 8.3observance, denying it any 7 and other passages indicate, Paul does believe that when someone exhibits this faith, that person is in fact fulfilling the Torah in an extended or theological sense, even though he or she may [123] written Torah itself. This is exactly the point of Romans 10.5neither possess nor observe the 10. parallel holds between the ‘works’ co 42 At this level, the structural mmanded in MMT and the faith sought by Paul: both provide the key interpretative grid which explains what Torah really wanted. The fact that in the one case ordinary Torahtension wi observance is presupposed, and in the other it is not required, stands in th this parallel, a tension to be explained exactly by the difference between MMT’s and Paul’s visions of the new community and the events through which it was founded.

mikewhitney
04-13-2015, 01:27 PM
Ah. I have not taken Hebrews into account in my analysis. I would have to review Hebrews with possible changes to my analysis.

One thing vital here is that Paul found actions acceptable where gentiles followed the Jewish dietary and holiday laws (Rom 14) as somewhat of a crutch, an uncertainty how far they could veer from the Jewish laws they had first learned (in the Messianic-accommodating synagogues in Rome). The problem is when they sought to follow the laws in order to be justified by them.

The Jewish believers might still have adhered to Jewish customs (partly as being their comfort zone, partly for evangelism's sake, and possibly with an obligation to the narrower law of Moses) while recognizing that the laws were not their manner of obtaining justification.

Generally the problem addressed in Hebrews appears to be that Jewish followers of Christ had, in significant numbers, forsook the assembly as followers of Christ. Maybe also many had become uncertain about the outcome of their faith through Christ. The letter was instruction to encourage each other and persevere in the faith. I don't remember anything of Hebrews suggesting they had become reliant on sacrifices. But it seemed they had to be reminded that the sacrifice of Christ was sufficient. If they had such awareness, I wouldn't think there would be any harm in continued action in accord with the law of Moses. For them there never would have been a drawback for conforming to the prescriptions of the Mosaic law.

One thing that often seems to be missed... The scriptures showed that judgment would come upon Jerusalem. People's hearts were, at a point in time, going to be far from God yet the people still would be speaking as if God were central to them. Jesus mentioned this prophecy. He also expressed that they followed the traditions of man over against the laws from God. Instead of justification, the law brought wrath (Rom 4:15). As such the law could not continue into the new era.

Scrawly
04-14-2015, 05:36 PM
In the light of this, and of Paul’s own insistence that he took what he calls the ‘strong’ position, I find myself in agreement with those who have maintained that Paul did not himself continue to keep the kosher laws, and did not propose to, or require of, other ‘Jewish Christians’ that they should, either (359).

Paul’s revising of the Jewish symbol of Torah in terms of food and table- fellowship, then, was clear, if necessarily complex. First, all those who belong to the Messiah, and are defined by Messiah-faithfulness and baptism, belong at the same table: this, as we shall see, is a constitutive part of his most central new positive symbol. Second, Messiah-followers are free to eat whatever they wish, with that freedom curtailed only (but strongly) when someone else’s ‘weak’ conscience is endangered. Third, Messiah-followers are free to eat ordinary meals with anyone they like, but not with someone who professes to be one of the family but whose behaviour indicates otherwise. Fourth (an extra but important point), Messiah-followers are not free to go into a pagan temple and eat there. To do so would be to stage a contest with the lord himself. All this is not just ‘ethics’. It is a matter of a freshly crafted symbolic universe (361).

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2013/10/15/nt-wright-and-the-supersessionism-question-what-did-paul-do/

This is good, but I take issue with #4 in light of 1Cor. 8:

1Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. 2If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; 3but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.4Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. 5For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

7However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. 9But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? 11For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. 12And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.

KingsGambit
04-14-2015, 05:48 PM
This is good, but I take issue with #4 in light of 1Cor. 8:

1Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. 2If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; 3but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.4Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. 5For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

7However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. 9But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? 11For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake Christ died. 12And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.

This refers to eating meat that may have originally been sacrificed, which was probably the majority of meat that eventually ended up on market in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 10:21 is an explicit warning against eating at actual pagan ceremonies. The meat itself is not tainted, but the ceremony is.

Scrawly
04-14-2015, 06:10 PM
What about 1Cor. 8:10: "For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple.."?

Paprika
04-14-2015, 09:42 PM
This is good, but I take issue with #4 in light of 1Cor. 8:
I've read some of Wright's exegesis before in preparation for a long debate with Sam but I'm not prepared to defend it now.

Just one thing for the moment: you can't just read 1 Cor 8 or 1 Cor 10. 1 Cor 8-10, yes, even chapter nine, make up the complete complex argument with many subtleties and you have to deal with the whole.

KingsGambit
04-15-2015, 06:40 AM
I've read some of Wright's exegesis before in preparation for a long debate with Sam but I'm not prepared to defend it now.

Just one thing for the moment: you can't just read 1 Cor 8 or 1 Cor 10. 1 Cor 8-10, yes, even chapter nine, make up the complete complex argument with many subtleties and you have to deal with the whole.

There is also the issue of Revelation 2:14. Some hold this to mean that Revelation had a different opinion on the matter than Paul, but I prefer Gordon Fee's interpretation. He argues that the Greek in Revelation 2:14 seems to point to actual attendance at pagan ceremonies.

footwasher
05-10-2015, 03:57 AM
Wright seems to be infraction of the law of non contradiction. You know, the situation where he defends a position strongly, within a certain context, and in another discussion, he contradicts the position.

Here he defends the law:

http://ntwrightpage.com/Wright_New_Perspectives.htm

Quote
I am fascinated by the way in which some of those most conscious of their reformation heritage shy away from Paul�s clear statements about future judgment according to works. It is not often enough remarked upon, for instance, that in the Thessalonian letters, and in Philippians, he looks ahead to the coming day of judgment and sees God�s favourable verdict not on the basis of the merits and death of Christ, not because like Lord Hailsham he simply casts himself on the mercy of the judge, but on the basis of his apostolic work. �What is our hope and joy and crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus Christ at his royal appearing? Is it not you? For you are our glory and our joy.� (1 Thess. 3.19f.; cp. Phil. 2.16f.) I suspect that if you or I were to say such a thing, we could expect a swift rebuke of �nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling�. The fact that Paul does not feel obliged at every point to say this shows, I think, that he is not as concerned as we are about the danger of speaking of the things he himself has done � though sometimes, to be sure, he adds a rider, which proves my point, that it is not his own energy but that which God gives and inspires within him (1 Cor. 15.10; Col. 1.29). But he is still clear that the things he does in the present, by moral and physical effort, will count to his credit on the last day, precisely because they are the effective signs that the Spirit of the living Christ has been at work in him. We are embarrassed about saying this kind of thing; Paul clearly is not. What on earth can have happened to a sola scriptura theology that it should find itself forced to screen out such emphatic, indeed celebratory, statements?

Here he opposes the law:

Quote
“‘Works of the law’ cannot justify, because God has re-defined his people through the faithfulness of the Messiah” (Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision, pg118).


http://www.amazon.com/Justification-Gods-Plan-Pauls-Vision/dp/0830838635

What purpose did the law serve in the life of the believer and where is it applied? Before salvation, after salvation? In justification, in sanctification?

In the Covenant of Law, in the Covenant of Grace?

One Bad Pig
05-10-2015, 02:07 PM
Wright seems to be infraction of the law of non contradiction. You know, the situation where he defends a position strongly, within a certain context, and in another discussion, he contradicts the position.

Here he defends the law:

http://ntwrightpage.com/Wright_New_Perspectives.htm

Quote
I am fascinated by the way in which some of those most conscious of their reformation heritage shy away from Paul�s clear statements about future judgment according to works. It is not often enough remarked upon, for instance, that in the Thessalonian letters, and in Philippians, he looks ahead to the coming day of judgment and sees God�s favourable verdict not on the basis of the merits and death of Christ, not because like Lord Hailsham he simply casts himself on the mercy of the judge, but on the basis of his apostolic work. �What is our hope and joy and crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus Christ at his royal appearing? Is it not you? For you are our glory and our joy.� (1 Thess. 3.19f.; cp. Phil. 2.16f.) I suspect that if you or I were to say such a thing, we could expect a swift rebuke of �nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling�. The fact that Paul does not feel obliged at every point to say this shows, I think, that he is not as concerned as we are about the danger of speaking of the things he himself has done � though sometimes, to be sure, he adds a rider, which proves my point, that it is not his own energy but that which God gives and inspires within him (1 Cor. 15.10; Col. 1.29). But he is still clear that the things he does in the present, by moral and physical effort, will count to his credit on the last day, precisely because they are the effective signs that the Spirit of the living Christ has been at work in him. We are embarrassed about saying this kind of thing; Paul clearly is not. What on earth can have happened to a sola scriptura theology that it should find itself forced to screen out such emphatic, indeed celebratory, statements?

Here he opposes the law:

Quote
“‘Works of the law’ cannot justify, because God has re-defined his people through the faithfulness of the Messiah” (Justification: God's Plan and Paul's Vision, pg118).


http://www.amazon.com/Justification-Gods-Plan-Pauls-Vision/dp/0830838635

What purpose did the law serve in the life of the believer and where is it applied? Before salvation, after salvation? In justification, in sanctification?

In the Covenant of Law, in the Covenant of Grace?
:huh: Where is the contradiction? In the first quote, he is not speaking of works of the law. In the second, you're providing a single sentence sans context, which refers to works of the law.

footwasher
05-11-2015, 01:12 AM
:huh: Where is the contradiction? In the first quote, he is not speaking of works of the law. In the second, you're providing a single sentence sans context, which refers to works of the law.

The contention that the phrase "works of the law" applied only to the ceremonial laws that served as badges of Jewish identity is unfounded, as the following article argues:

http://www.theologian.org.uk/doctrine/hesitation.html

Quote

In any case, Dunn’s suggestion about the meaning of “works of the law” is by no means a new suggestion, as he appears to think. The traditional doctrine of justification often interacts with a view that sees “works of the law” as referring only to works of the ceremonial law, or to distinctly “Jewish” works.»68 This view can be traced back to Pelagius, who argued that ceremonial works are excluded by Paul, but not moral works, thus relying on that old distinction between civil, ceremonial and moral law.»69 The purpose of this is in Pelagius is to reintroduce some element of works into justification: to allow moral works to count before God while explaining Paul’s allergy to “works of the law.” Calvin calls this view “an ingenious subterfuge” which, regardless of its long pedigree is “utterly silly.” He spends some time discussing it but concludes: “Even schoolboys would hoot at such impudence. Therefore, let us hold as certain that when the ability to justify is denied to the law, these words refer to the whole law.” Calvin tries to explain why Paul speaks occasionally of “works of the law” instead of “works” generally: even legalists, he says, would only give such weight to works which had the “testimony and vouchsafing of God” behind them (i.e. those written in God’s own Law).»70 Calvin is also not unaware of the fact that these ritual-ceremonial laws functioned as “badges” to exclude the Gentiles.»71

Turretin also interacts with this view of “works of the law” which Dunn suggests. He points out that if the socially-excluding ceremonial law alone was to be excluded, then justification would have been ascribed to the moral law, which it never is. Using the New Testament he shows that ceremonial works brought with them the obligation to fulfil the whole Law of Moses - and so Paul had opposed them because of this larger implication. Other people interact with this sort of view as well, including James Buchanan»72 and John Owen, who claims to show “the vanity of that pretence.”»73 The Reformed consensus on the subject is that “works of the law” includes all works generally.»74 This is not a mere assumption but a well thought-through conclusion reached in dialogue with an opposing opinion which saw “works of the law” as specifically ceremonial or distinctively “Jewish.” Dunn appears to be unaware of just how much thinking has been done on this precise issue over the past few centuries.

One Bad Pig
05-11-2015, 06:54 AM
The contention that the phrase "works of the law" applied only to the ceremonial laws that served as badges of Jewish identity is unfounded, as the following article argues:

http://www.theologian.org.uk/doctrine/hesitation.html

Quote

In any case, Dunn’s suggestion about the meaning of “works of the law” is by no means a new suggestion, as he appears to think. The traditional doctrine of justification often interacts with a view that sees “works of the law” as referring only to works of the ceremonial law, or to distinctly “Jewish” works.»68 This view can be traced back to Pelagius, who argued that ceremonial works are excluded by Paul, but not moral works, thus relying on that old distinction between civil, ceremonial and moral law.»69 The purpose of this is in Pelagius is to reintroduce some element of works into justification: to allow moral works to count before God while explaining Paul’s allergy to “works of the law.” Calvin calls this view “an ingenious subterfuge” which, regardless of its long pedigree is “utterly silly.” He spends some time discussing it but concludes: “Even schoolboys would hoot at such impudence. Therefore, let us hold as certain that when the ability to justify is denied to the law, these words refer to the whole law.” Calvin tries to explain why Paul speaks occasionally of “works of the law” instead of “works” generally: even legalists, he says, would only give such weight to works which had the “testimony and vouchsafing of God” behind them (i.e. those written in God’s own Law).»70 Calvin is also not unaware of the fact that these ritual-ceremonial laws functioned as “badges” to exclude the Gentiles.»71

Turretin also interacts with this view of “works of the law” which Dunn suggests. He points out that if the socially-excluding ceremonial law alone was to be excluded, then justification would have been ascribed to the moral law, which it never is. Using the New Testament he shows that ceremonial works brought with them the obligation to fulfil the whole Law of Moses - and so Paul had opposed them because of this larger implication. Other people interact with this sort of view as well, including James Buchanan»72 and John Owen, who claims to show “the vanity of that pretence.”»73 The Reformed consensus on the subject is that “works of the law” includes all works generally.»74 This is not a mere assumption but a well thought-through conclusion reached in dialogue with an opposing opinion which saw “works of the law” as specifically ceremonial or distinctively “Jewish.” Dunn appears to be unaware of just how much thinking has been done on this precise issue over the past few centuries.
You appear to be confusing NT Wright and James Dunn. And I don't see the contention the article is being invoked to refute mentioned in your earlier post.

footwasher
05-11-2015, 09:56 AM
You appear to be confusing NT Wright and James Dunn. And I don't see the contention the article is being invoked to refute mentioned in your earlier post.

The problem is that the supporters of the NPP uniformly believed that Luther got it wrong in condemning using law to be justified.

They claim that the term "works of the law" represented the category of the law known as ceremonial and it was this category that Paul inveighed against, whilst approving the continued use of the moral law to be justified.


Whether I quote the views of Dunn or Wright really doesn't matter. What matters is that the NPP theory supported by its proponents rests on the above view.

Does Dunn believe the term "works of the law" consists only of the badges that identify a Jew? Yes he does.


Does Wright believe the term "works of the law" consists only of the badges that identify a Jew? Yes he does.

http://ntwrightpage.com/Wright_New_Perspectives.htm

Quote
Supposing, I thought, Paul meant �seeking to establish their own righteousness�, not in the sense of a moral status based on the performance of Torah and the consequent accumulation of a treasury of merit, but an ethnic status based on the possession of Torah as the sign of automatic covenant membership? I saw at once that this would make excellent sense of Romans 9 and 10, and would enable the positive statements about the Law throughout Romans to be given full weight while making it clear that this kind of use of Torah, as an ethnic talisman, was an abuse. I sat up in bed that night reading through Galatians and saw that at point after point this way of looking at Paul would make much better sense of Galatians, too, than either the standard post-Luther readings or the attempted Reformed ones.

The reason I�m telling you this is to show that I came to the position I still hold (having found it over the years to be deeply rewarding exegetically right across Paul; I regard as absolutely basic the need to understand Paul in a way which does justice to all the letters, as well as to the key passages in individual ones) � that I came to this position, not because I learned it from Sanders or Dunn, but because of the struggle to think Paul�s thoughts after him as a matter of obedience to scripture. This brings me to the complexity of the so-called New Perspective and of my relationship to it.

robrecht
05-11-2015, 10:21 AM
The problem is that the supporters of the NPP uniformly believed that Luther got it wrong in condemning using law to be justified.

They claim that the term "works of the law" represented the category of the law known as ceremonial and it was this category that Paul inveighed against, whilst approving the continued use of the moral law to be justified.


Whether I quote the views of Dunn or Wright really doesn't matter. What matters is that the NPP theory supported by its proponents rests on the above view.

Does Dunn believe the term "works of the law" consists only of the badges that identify a Jew? Yes he does.


Does Wright believe the term "works of the law" consists only of the badges that identify a Jew? Yes he does.

http://ntwrightpage.com/Wright_New_Perspectives.htm

Quote
Supposing, I thought, Paul meant �seeking to establish their own righteousness�, not in the sense of a moral status based on the performance of Torah and the consequent accumulation of a treasury of merit, but an ethnic status based on the possession of Torah as the sign of automatic covenant membership? I saw at once that this would make excellent sense of Romans 9 and 10, and would enable the positive statements about the Law throughout Romans to be given full weight while making it clear that this kind of use of Torah, as an ethnic talisman, was an abuse. I sat up in bed that night reading through Galatians and saw that at point after point this way of looking at Paul would make much better sense of Galatians, too, than either the standard post-Luther readings or the attempted Reformed ones.

The reason I�m telling you this is to show that I came to the position I still hold (having found it over the years to be deeply rewarding exegetically right across Paul; I regard as absolutely basic the need to understand Paul in a way which does justice to all the letters, as well as to the key passages in individual ones) � that I came to this position, not because I learned it from Sanders or Dunn, but because of the struggle to think Paul�s thoughts after him as a matter of obedience to scripture. This brings me to the complexity of the so-called New Perspective and of my relationship to it.
It is a little more complex than this but you've got the gist of it. Ceremonial law and kashrut have some overlap but they are by no means identical. The only contemporary usage of 'works of the law' that we have is from Qumran and it is primarily ceremonial, but I think Paul clearly also included kashrut in this category. With respect to the moral law, he is everywhere only very positive about the moral law. The law is not able to justify, not because of any fault in the law, but because of the weakness of the flesh we are unable to follow the moral law as well as we should. (Also, the moral law has been perfected by the messianic law of love.) It is also important to recognize profound differences among proponents of the New Perspective on Paul, especially the crucial question of 'the faith of Christ', which is neither an objective nor subjective genitive, but more precisely a genitive of origin, which is the most fundamental use of the genitive in Greek, hence the name of the case. It is true that a genitive of origin is more correctly understood as a subjective genitive than an objective genitive. This is also a better way of seeing where Luther went astray theologically, though I agree fully with his initial views of how theology and church practice should be reformed.

footwasher
05-11-2015, 10:48 PM
It is a little more complex than this but you've got the gist of it. Ceremonial law and kashrut have some overlap but they are by no means identical. The only contemporary usage of 'works of the law' that we have is from Qumran and it is primarily ceremonial, but I think Paul clearly also included kashrut in this category. With respect to the moral law, he is everywhere only very positive about the moral law. The law is not able to justify, not because of any fault in the law, but because of the weakness of the flesh we are unable to follow the moral law as well as we should. (Also, the moral law has been perfected by the messianic law of love.) It is also important to recognize profound differences among proponents of the New Perspective on Paul, especially the crucial question of 'the faith of Christ', which is neither an objective nor subjective genitive, but more precisely a genitive of origin, which is the most fundamental use of the genitive in Greek, hence the name of the case. It is true that a genitive of origin is more correctly understood as a subjective genitive than an objective genitive. This is also a better way of seeing where Luther went astray theologically, though I agree fully with his initial views of how theology and church practice should be reformed.


Agreed. My providing the gist is because I'm not as lucid and succinct as the author of the article I quoted from, not only because he addresses the problem with ALL NPP supporters but because he is able to say in a few lines what I struggled to attempt in several paragraphs:

http://www.theologian.org.uk/doctrine/hesitation.html

Quote
Turretin also interacts with this view of “works of the law” which Dunn suggests. He points out that if the socially-excluding ceremonial law alone was to be excluded, then justification would have been ascribed to the moral law, which it never is. Using the New Testament he shows that ceremonial works brought with them the obligation to fulfil the whole Law of Moses - and so Paul had opposed them because of this larger implication.


I also agree that the choice of the genitive of origin view will play an important part in deciphering the part law plays in salvation, as it will flesh out what Paul means by saying works could not deliver the same justification as grace (the provision of the Way, the instructions on how to have the faithfulness of Christ):

2 Corinthians 3:9For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.


Acts 13:39Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

The explanation will have to take into account the following points:


The Old Covenant offered justification

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for not being faithful to God by properly following His law, the requirements of the Old Covenant, the charge confirmed by God's wrath falling on the disobedient, as witnessed by the tower at Siloam killing some and other similar incidents leading to fleeing to John for instruction from God for correct understanding.

Paul and James rebuked the Gentile converts for not believing God, by properly following the requirements of the New Covenant, confirmed by the lack of sanctification in their lives as seen in the attempts by the Galatians to return to a salvation journey based on works because of trials.

I'll stick to outlines and gists because going into depth for every point will lead to digression, and unwieldy explanations. I don't have the chops to be as skillful and erudite as scholars like the one I quoted from, who seem to have certain views stated rather well so will continue to quote their laying out out those view!


1 Corinthians 35What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.

hedrick
05-15-2015, 02:19 PM
There are things in the NPP that it’s hard to argue with. One is the fact that Jews never believed that they earned salvation. Another is that Luther and Calvin misunderstood what righteousness means Biblically, and that Paul did not teach that Christ’s righteousness was imputed to us. (Paul said that our faith is imputed as righteousness.)

However I think Wright’s attempt to see justification as a badge of status is only partially right. It makes sense in parts of Romans, but not for all of it. It’s pretty clear in context that at times it means how God sets us right. It’s always associated with being right with God, but ranges from how we know whether someone is right to how God puts us right.

I’m also convinced that Paul primarily uses works for “works of the Law,” by which he means circumcision, and more generally the view that defines God’s people by obedience to the Jewish Law. Paul does see a positive role for the Law, when taken as a guide for behavior.

However the fact that Wright thinks Paul condemns only certain works doesn’t mean that he thinks justification is by a different kind of works. He does not. He is clear that justification is by faith. Since he sees justification as a sign of inclusion in the people of God, that means that he sees faith as the primary way we recognize God’s people. It’s not all they do, obviously, but it’s what characterizes God’s people. In the end, this turns out not to be so different from Calvin, as Wright himself says.

hedrick
05-15-2015, 02:28 PM
Calvin’s misunderstanding of righteousness has less significant than you might think. Calvin thinks we are justified because God imputes Christ’s righteousness. But we appropriate Christ through faith. So in effect Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us through faith. Paul simply says that our faith is imputed as righteousness (unless you think the term normally translated “faith in Christ” actually means “faithfulness of Christ). Whether it’s faith or Christ’s righteousness appropriated through faith does affect some detailed exegesis, but not the overall outline of Calvin’s theology.

Scrawly
05-15-2015, 02:44 PM
Calvin’s misunderstanding of righteousness has less significant than you might think. Calvin thinks we are justified because God imputes Christ’s righteousness. But we appropriate Christ through faith. So in effect Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us through faith. Paul simply says that our faith is imputed as righteousness (unless you think the term normally translated “faith in Christ” actually means “faithfulness of Christ). Whether it’s faith or Christ’s righteousness appropriated through faith does affect some detailed exegesis, but not the overall outline of Calvin’s theology.

Eeeeyup.

Paprika
05-15-2015, 02:56 PM
Calvin’s misunderstanding of righteousness has less significant than you might think. Calvin thinks we are justified because God imputes Christ’s righteousness.
Error distorts and has to be weeded out.


But we appropriate Christ through faith. So in effect Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us through faith.
That doesn't appear to be the case; Romans 4 has faith credited as righteousness without any reference to Christ's righteousness. It's the death and resurrection that is imputed.


Paul simply says that our faith is imputed as righteousness (unless you think the term normally translated “faith in Christ” actually means “faithfulness of Christ).
Please expound; I don't see any contradiction between 'faith credited as righteousness' and translating pisteou Iesou Christou as 'faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah' in Romans 3, for example.

hedrick
05-15-2015, 04:23 PM
That doesn't appear to be the case; Romans 4 has faith credited as righteousness without any reference to Christ's righteousness. It's the death and resurrection that is imputed.

That was my point. "being credited as" is the term often referred to as "imputed." So faith is imputed as righteousness without reference to Christ. That's my point. While Calvin's exegesis is normally right, in the Institutes he does make it clear that Christ's righteousness is imputed to us. E.g. "Hence that imputation of righteousness without works, of which Paul treats (Rom. 4:5), the righteousness found in Christ alone being accepted as if it were ours." I don't think Rom 4:5 quite means that.

The Bible normally uses "righteous" to refer to a person who lives the way God wants. It's not an impossible moral perfection, but living as God teaches, and repenting when you blow it. I think Paul's thought is that God considers faith as a sign that you are his, and thus that you are righteous, even if you don't have any works yet. Rom 6 speaks of Christians as being united with Christ, and thus sharing his victory over sin. So there's a sense in which we do appropriate Christ's righteousness. But I always get the impression when reading Calvin (and most Protestant commentators) that they think we need righteousness in the sense of moral perfection in order to be justified, and that we're credited with Christ's. I don't believe that's Paul's thought.



Please expound; I don't see any contradiction between 'faith credited as righteousness' and translating pisteou Iesou Christou as 'faithfulness of Jesus the Messiah' in Romans 3, for example.

Calvin certainly understands Paul as speaking of our faith in Christ, as that which unites us with Christ, and appropriates his righteousness. Translating it as faithfulness of Christ nullifies some of the citations Calvin uses. It certainly doesn't remove the overall idea that we are united with Christ, which is expressed in other terms as well. Gal 2:16 is a wonderful passage for Calvin, in that it says we are justified by faith in Christ. It's not fatal for his theology if the passage actually says the faithfulness of Christ, since Calvin could see it as a reference to Christ's obedience, which has a very important role for Calvin in the atonement.

Paprika
05-16-2015, 12:47 AM
So there's a sense in which we do appropriate Christ's righteousness.
Imputation of Christ's death and resurrection is not imputation of his righteousness 'in a sense'. There's not need to try to preserve the concept 'in a sense' when it's not there in any meaningful way. Rather, Christ's death and resurrection is imputed to us and not his righteousness- so Calvin was downright wrong - and work from there instead of trying to expand 'imputation of righteousness' for whatever reasons you may have.

footwasher
05-16-2015, 06:12 AM
There are things in the NPP that it’s hard to argue with. One is the fact that Jews never believed that they earned salvation. Another is that Luther and Calvin misunderstood what righteousness means Biblically, and that Paul did not teach that Christ’s righteousness was imputed to us. (Paul said that our faith is imputed as righteousness.)

However I think Wright’s attempt to see justification as a badge of status is only partially right. It makes sense in parts of Romans, but not for all of it. It’s pretty clear in context that at times it means how God sets us right. It’s always associated with being right with God, but ranges from how we know whether someone is right to how God puts us right.

I’m also convinced that Paul primarily uses works for “works of the Law,” by which he means circumcision, and more generally the view that defines God’s people by obedience to the Jewish Law. Paul does see a positive role for the Law, when taken as a guide for behavior.

However the fact that Wright thinks Paul condemns only certain works doesn’t mean that he thinks justification is by a different kind of works. He does not. He is clear that justification is by faith. Since he sees justification as a sign of inclusion in the people of God, that means that he sees faith as the primary way we recognize God’s people. It’s not all they do, obviously, but it’s what characterizes God’s people. In the end, this turns out not to be so different from Calvin, as Wright himself says.



The law is a constant. What is discussed in the text is the various ways Jews and their forefathers interacted with it.

The law was what God required of his people to observe, to demonstrate their faithfulness. It was, in the main, a moral requirement commitment.

However observing the law was not the only means of exercising faith in God and His people are not necessarily Jews and Christians. God's people are identified by the faith, belief, they have in what he reveals to them, Abraham being the best known example, being neither Jew nor a keeper of Torah, yet reckoned to be righteous.

Although what he reveals to them is in the main moral, belief in his promises for temporal blessings count in his acceptance, considering as faithful, of their righteous acts. Abraham believed God's promise of blessings and all these were counted, not imputed, they were really considered righteous acts. Even before law was given as a means of demonstrating faithfulness, 430 years before, Abraham was considered faithful, because he believed in God's revelations and promises. The Jews really had no grounds to be proud of their possession of the law. Belief in God's revelation was what counted, whether promises to be received through patience or to be received through obedience.

So it's true that the Jews never believed in works righteousness. Rather, what Paul faulted the Jews for was for being unfaithful to God. His revelation to them was the necessity to obey the law, consistent in the messages of the prophets, even the messages of John the Baptist and Jesus. It mattered not that they failed, they just had to believe that God required perfect obedience.

The observance of the Jews was nomism, they only performed those acts that identified them as Jews. The Baptiser and Jesus rebuked this action.

Paul recognised that this was the failure of the Jews under the Old Covenant, but his rebuke to the Gentiles of Galatia was for being swayed by the judaisers. They were trying to revert back to the old criteria of righteousness, observing the law, which was dangerous, because it has to be observed perfectly. Failure to be faithful to all the law led to being declared unrighteous, because it was not the righteousness defined by God but the righteousness defined by the Jews a righteousness of their own. Gentiles were not stumbled by this ambiguity, ironically, because they HAD no law. Failure to observe the law perfectly led to breaking of the spirit, Paul called it death, but strangely, it led to justification, as seen in the parable of the publican in the temple. This is how the law was a guardian, it protected those who observed it, failed and fell before God for mercy. They would be with Christ in paradise.

However if the Gentile turned to the old covenant, Christ would be of no benefit to them. Observing the new covenant immediately placed the believer in high places, seated by Christ's side. Now by putting to death the deeds of the body the righteous requirements of the law could be met and that which was required to subdue creation could be had. Being in the second Adam had more benefits than being in Moses and even than being in the first Adam.

The mistake the church made (specifically, Melanchthon) was to accept the wrong translation of Erasmus. Instead of using the word reputatum, he used the word imputatum. Imputed righteousness is the doctrine of exchange: Christ took our sins, and we took his righteousness, an uncalled for conclusion.


https://books.google.co.in/books?id=rlu12_cDcV0C&pg=PA226&lpg=PA226&dq=imputatum+reputatum+erasmus&source=bl&ots=37And9Lmb4&sig=4KLhiDIk2sZVNd2gsUUT-1vcMbs&hl=en&sa=X&ei=eUBXVZMRzKbwBem_gOAC&ved=0CDsQ6AEwCGoVChMI07GZ3KnGxQIVTBO8Ch3pHwAs


Why isn't this all being made clear by Paul? Actually, it was, he did make it clear. However, it would need a good one on one discussion with him for this to really sink in.