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The New Perspective on Paul - Thomas R Schreiner

The New Perspective on Paul - Thomas R Schreiner

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An outline of Thomas R. Schriener's critique of the New Perspective on Paul
An outline of Thomas R. Schriener's critique of the New Perspective on Paul

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Published by: Sound Of Grace / New Covenant Media on May 04, 2012
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The New Perspective on PaulThomas R. Schreiner
Bible Church was divided over this issue on staff (one pastor had to go)
More and more young evangelicals are attracted to this reading.
Lutheran View of Judaism Dominated until 1977
Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religions
Krister Stendahl: “Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West” (1961)
 Justification/Inclusion of Gentiles
Paul was called rather than converted
Idea whose time had come: Post-Holocaust World
Sanders’s Interpretation
Idea that Judaism was legalistic is a myth
Lutheran Reading: Via Conflict with Roman Catholicism
Pattern of Jewish Religion: Covenantal Nomism (Dead Sea Scrolls, Apocrypha,Pseudepigrapha, Tannaitic Literature)
Entrance into covenant by grace
Stay in by keeping the law
No weighing of merits
No 51% obedience
No works-righteousness
No demand for perfect obedience
Rabbis explained election:
For God’s name sake
Because of the merit of the fathers
Because only Israel received the Torah (shows God isn’t arbitrary)
Embraced by many: James Dunn/N. T. Wright, though there are differences amongthem.
Responses to Sanders
Helps us avoid a caricature
Useful to re-evaluate cherished views
Does Sanders impose a Protestant View on Jewish Sources? Legalism is bad.
Mark Elliott: an obedient remnant is saved
Friedrich Avemarie: an unresolved tension between election and works
Das: demand for perfect obedience often present in Jewish sources
Gathercole: final vindication according to works plays a significant role
 Justification and Variegated Nomism:
vol 1: covenant nomism doesn’t fit all the sources
Further Observations
Minutiae in the Mishnah
Failure to mention the covenant
Attempts to explain election introduce synergism
Inspired by the Holocaust?
Finally depends upon our reading of NT
 Jewish writers could have missed their own legalism
 Judaism could have been legalistic in practice though not in theory
A Polemic Against Legalism?Luke 18:9-14 shows legalism existed
Parable addressed to those who trusted in themselves that they were righteous anddespised others (v. 9)
Pharisee praises himself that he is not immoral like others (v. 11)
. “
God, I thank you thatI am not like other men, ext
ortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.”
The Pharisee is impressed with the good works he has done (v. 12)
 beyond the call ofduty (tithing and fasting)
. “I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.”
 Jesus’ commentary: ex
alted himself (v. 14)
The tax collector was justified (v. 14)
Works of Law in Paul
8 Times in Paul: Gal 2:16 (3x); 3:2, 5, 10; Rom 3:20-28
 Justification and Receiving the Spirit not by Works of law but faith
Dunn/Wright: social function of the law (boundaries, badges, identity markers)
Nationalism not activism, racial not ritual, exclusivism not merit
New Perspective reminds us re: Paul’s desire to include Gentiles: A significanttheme in Paul’s thinking
Deeds or actions demanded by the law: Moo/Westerholm/Schreiner
Most likely has this meaning in Jewish literature 4QFlor 1:7 (textually disputed);
2 Apoc. Bar.
4:9; 57:2; 1QS 5:21; 6:18; 4QMMT
Rom 9:11-12
: “works” defined as doing anything good or bad
From “works of law” to “works”: Rom 3:27
 Justification not by works of law (3:28)
Abraham not justified by works but by believing (4:2)
Defined in terms of paying a debt for works accomplished (4:4)
. “
Now to
the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.”
God justifies the
ungodly, those who don’t work (4:5).
Paul’s later writings
“By grace you have been saved through faith . . . not a result of works, sothat no one may boast” (
Eph 2:9)
“who saved us . . . not because of our works but because of his ownpurpose and grace” (
2 Tim 1:9)
he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but
according to his own mercy” (
Tit 3:5)
Argument of Rom 1:18-3:20
All without exception have sinned. “All have sinned and fall short of theglory of God” (3:23)
 Judgment comes for failing to do good works.
He will render to each one according to his works:
but for thosewho are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obeyunrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
There will betribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the
 Jew first and also the Greek” (Rom 2:6, 8
Those who have the law will be judged for failing to do the law (2:12-13),not for boundary marker violations or excluding Gentiles
 Jews criticized for stealing, committing adultery, and robbing temples(not boundary markers): Rom 2:21-23
Makes most sense to understand Rom 3:19-20 to refer to what the law as a
whole commands: “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to
those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, andthe whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of thelaw no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law
comes knowledge of sin.”
Romans 4:6-8 refers to works in general (not boundary markers
David kept the
 boundary markers!) “Just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to
whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
"Blessed are those whoselawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man
against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
Romans 9:30-10:8 does not breathe a word about boundary markers.
9:31, “
Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did notsucceed in reaching that law.
Why? Because they did not pursue it byfaith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over thestumbling stone
10:2, “
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but notaccording to knowledge.
For, being ignorant of the righteousness ofGod, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God'srighteousness.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness toeveryone who believes.
For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.
But the righteousness based on faith says . . .
Gal 3:10 refer
s to the whole law: “For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse;
for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in theBook of the Law, and do them."
Paul moves easily from works of law to law in Galatians
does not come via the law but by God’s grace (2:21)
Believers have died to the law (2:19).
The emphasis is clearly on keeping the whole law (cf. 5:3).
I testify again to
every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.”

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