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Npp tel aviv 130514c


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What’s New about the New Perspective on Paul?

talk given at the Moishe Rosen Centre, Tel Aviv, May 2014

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# new perspective paul mmjt article slides

Published in: Spiritual, News & Politics
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Npp tel aviv 130514c

  1. 1. What’s new about …
  2. 2. What’s new about Richard Harvey
  3. 3. The New Perspective on Paul Not ‘New’ • Phrase goes back to Dunn • Return to Pauline Worldview Perspectives
  4. 4. How can I find a gracious God? “Though I lived as a monk without reproach, I felt that I was a sinner before God with an extremely disturbed conscience. I could not believe that he was placated by my satisfaction…….Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience. Nevertheless, I beat importunately upon Paul at that place, most ardently desiring to know what St. Paul wanted.”
  5. 5. Lutheran Soteriology •Imputation of Christ’s Righteousness •Faith v Works, Law v Gospel •Same Situation which Paul faced in Galatians/Early Church. •Developed in Protestant Theology and Praxis “Faith without works is sufficient for salvation, and alone justifies”
  6. 6. Faith in Jesus as opposed to moral effort … yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. Lutheran Exegesis and Interpretation of Gal. 2:16 Justified: Declared Righteous, become a Christian ‘Works of the law’: Self-Effort, Works Righteousness
  7. 7. With Paul we absolutely deny the possibility of self-merit. God never yet gave to any person grace and everlasting life as a reward for merit. The opinions of the papists are the intellectual pipe-dreams of idle pates, that serve no other purpose but to draw men away from the true worship of God. The papacy is founded upon hallucinations. “What are these false apostles doing?” Paul cries. “They are turning Law into grace, and grace into Law. They are changing Moses into Christ, and Christ into Moses. By teaching that besides Christ and His righteousness the performance of the Law is necessary unto salvation, they put the Law in the place of Christ, they attribute to the Law the power to save, a power that belongs to Christ only.”
  8. 8. Problems with the Old Perspective • “Judaism was a Religion of Merit” • “Judaism did not resolve Paul’s burden of guilt” • “Justification by Faith was a new revelation” • “Paul’s focus was on the individual’s relation to God” • “Faith replaced works” • “Law stood in opposition to Grace”
  9. 9. Advocates of the NPP - Sanders • Not ‘getting in’ but ‘staying in’ • Covenantal nomism • Problem first, then solution • Sceptical on truth and resurrection of Jesus • Judaism not a religion of legalism
  10. 10. Pattern of Covenantal Nomism (1) God has chosen Israel and (2) given the law. The law implies both (3) God’s promise to maintain 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 (Paul and PJ p.422).
  11. 11. J D G Dunn • Paul was not ‘converted’ but ‘called’ • Continuity of Paul’s pre- Christian Judaism and new faith • ‘Works of the Law’ are boundary markers of identity – sabbath, calendar, kashrut, circumcision • Social and historical context important, not just individual justification
  12. 12. N T Wright • Not just individual consciences cleansing but being part of the People of God • Justification – forensic, covenantal, ecclesiological and eschatological • Israel’s return from Exile
  13. 13. Badges of Identity The ‘ works of Torah’ were not a legalist ladder, up which one climbed in order to earn the divine favour, but were the badges that one wore as the marks of identity, of belonging to the chosen people in the present, and hence the all important signs, to oneself and one’s neighbours, that one belonged to the company who would be vindicated when the covenant God acted to redeem his people. They were the present signs of future vindication.
  14. 14. … yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. NPP Exegesis and Interpretation of Galatians ‘Works of the law’: Torah but specifically circumcision, food laws, Badges of Identity, Covenant Community Markers Justified: Declared righteous, declared to be in the covenant family. Covenant, Lawcourt, Eschatology
  15. 15. Gains of the NPP • Law/Torah as positive gift • New Covenant the solution to plight of National Israel • Criticism of Law does not do away with Law – except where – It denies Messiahship of Yeshua – It exclusifies Israel against the nations • Does not separate faith and works • Does not separate Law and Grace
  16. 16. NPP as Threat? • Exit Justification by faith? • Enter Salvation by works? • Exit need for Jewish people to know Yeshua? • Understanding of humanity, last things, Holy Spirit?
  17. 17. Benefits of NPP • Renewed discussion and insights • Appreciation of Jewish roots, context and practice of Paul • Better understanding of Scripture • More balanced and integrated faith • Integrates Christian and Jewish understandings?
  18. 18. Beyond the NPP… • Daniel Boyarin • Mark Nanos • Pamela Eisenbraun • Jacob Taubes • Mark Kinzer
  19. 19. Daniel Boyarin’s Radical Paul • Judaism and Christianity not separate religions until 4th century • Paul was a Platonist • His aim was to produce One Single Family • Nuanced dualism of flesh and spirit, letter and spirit, body and soul • “allegorised ahistorical reading” (NT Wright)
  20. 20. Kinzer’s Bilateral Ecclesiology • Messianic Jewish life as Torah-observance following Paul’s example and teaching • Ongoing election of Israel intra and extra ecclesia • Hidden Messiah within Judaism
  21. 21. Questions for discussion • How does this debate relate to the Israeli context? • Is Judaism a religion of Law or Grace? • How can Messianic Jews keep Torah? • Who is going to read all these books?