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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Perspective

In light of Dunn's paper at Sheffield, one issue has long bothered me about the whole NP debate: are Jewish texts being read with Christianised categories and far too systematically? I mean this on both 'sides' of the debate. Both covenantal nomism and the whole works righteousness thing (as Sanders showed) are really from Christian theology are they not? And are early Jewish texts really that systematic in discussing works, grace etc? Should we be expecting consistency? Dunn mentioned Deut. which is an interesting case for cov nom but can we still say that anything like a consistent working out of works/grace was that widespread? I'm not yet convinced. This would raise the question of 'why Paul'? The obvious answer to this would be that the significant number of gentiles associated with the movement forces Paul's hand. He HAS to discuss such issues and draw on those not-necessarily-systematic traditions of grace and works in Judaism and subsequent Christian theology HAS to systematise such issues. Like whatever.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Jim said...

Or perhaps to put it another way- what if Luther was just dead wrong... I think about that a lot. And Augustine... What if he missed the boat and the whole of Church history has followed in their misunderstanding of Paul? (Which is probably the case).

October 16, 2007

 
Blogger James Crossley said...

Strangely enough, I am not so sure. Or at least, I am not so sure that is the right way to frame the question. Paul's solution to the issue of gentiles does draw on concepts of grace. If we read Paul, for example, in terms of grace playing a dominant role, the law (acc to Paul) being simply too difficult for all to keep, and good works/ethics as a kind of manifestation of the spirit without being instrumental in salvation (feel free to word it better than me) then, for all the language of NT scholarship, are we really so far away from orthodox Christianity?

October 19, 2007

 

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