Evangelical Scholarship And The New Perspective On Paul

For many years, I’ve been suspicious of the so-called ‘New Perspective on Paul‘. It’s only in recent years, as I’ve read the works of people like Tom Wright, that I’ve come to see it as far more biblically respectable than I previously thought.

Recently, Frank Viola has interviewed two scholars who propound this view. The conversations are about far more than this issue, of course. I commend them to you. He has interviewed N T Wright himself and he has interviewed Scot McKnight. They are well worth a read.


    1. Pam,

      Sorry for the delay in replying, I’ve been on leave all week. I wouldn’t label the ‘New Perspective on Paul’as Catholic. Many of its leading scholars are Protestant. Briefly (and perhaps too simplistically) it critiques the standard Reformation view of Paul that views Judaism as a religion of obeying the Law (Torah) in order to be saved. Instead, they look at the ‘Second Temple Judaism’ of Jesus’ day and say that it was still a religion of grace, and that obedience to the Law served a different function. Either it was what kept you in the people of God after grace had brought you in, or obeying Torah served as a ‘gatekeeper’ of who was ‘in’ and who was ‘out’. ‘Righteousness’, then, in Paul’s language, is not simply doing what is right in order to be saved in Judaism; it takes its meaning from God’s righteousness, which is not simply his right moral but action, more specifically his covenant faithfulness. Thus Christian salvation isn’t much different, but the Christian critique of C1 Judaism alters, as does the way of response for Jews who wish to follow Jesus.


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