Saturday, August 27, 2005

More on the New Perspective in Criswell Theological Review

The latest issue of Criswell Theological Review 2.2 (2005) has several articles devoted to the New Perspective:

R. Alan Streett, An Interview with N.T. Wright

R. Alan Streett, An Interview with Martin Hengel

I must cite this question from the interview:

CTR: British scholars seem to have been slower than their American counterparts to embrace the NP. What accounts for this cautiousness?

Hengel: They have more common sense and are often better philogians and less dependent on fashion.

I can think of several ways of paraphrasing Hengel's response, and not of them would sound very nice! At any rate, I had always thought that the NP was more popular in the UK than the US - maybe I'm wrong here.

Donald B. Garlington, The New Perspective on Paul: An Appraisal Two Decades Later

I believe that this article is available on the website called The Paul Page, see the sidebar.

Charles L. Quarles, The New Perspective and Means of Atonement in Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period

Michael F. Bird, When the Dust Finally Settles: Coming to a Post-New Perspective Perspective

This article constitutes my irenic critique and affirmation of several points within the NP. Alan Streett gives a good summary of my position in his editorial (p. 3): "Bird presents a mediating position ... by pointing out what he views as the positive and negative aspects of the NP. He concludes that the NP has contributed greatly to our understanding of Paul; yet, he feels a rejection of forensic righteousness goes too far. We should embrace the good but spurn the bad."

Malcom Yarnell, Christian Justification: A Reformation Baptist View

Jay E. Smith, The New Perspective on Paul: A Select and Annotated Bibliography


Loren Rosson III said...

I'm a strong NP advocate, though I think NP issues sometimes get pushed too far. For instance, I don't see much of the NP at work in Rom 5-8 -- a section which transcends Judean-Gentile concerns. But I doubt Paul understood righteousness in any forensic sense. Esler has been convincing about righteousness being an identity term more than anything, signalling "blessing" and "life".

J. B. Hood said...

Speaking of New Perspectives...are you enjoying football yet?

TheBlueRaja said...

Thanks for the overview on those articles, Michael! Not being familiar with Hengel's work, could you give me an idea of why "better philology" would predispose one to reject the NP?

Sean du Toit said...

You must also see Bruce Longenecker's latest article on the NPP in Zeitschrift für die Neutestamentliche Vol 96 | July 2005 entitled: On Critiquing the ‘New Perspective’ on Paul: A Case Study. The abstract reads:

1. Double-Squeezing the ‘New Perspective’ on Paul

For some New Testament scholars, the issue of ‘Paul and the law’ is increasingly looking passé. That is the impression one gets occasionally when reading the recent wave of research on ‘Paul and the Roman imperial order’. In that growth point of Pauline studies, eye-catching claims are sometimes made, such as: ‘Paul’s gospel opposed the Roman imperial order, not Judaism’. Recent studies of Paul’s interaction with imperial narratives have a way of relegating the issue of ‘Paul and the law’ to the periphery of Paul’s theological project, although traditionally Pauline scholars have placed it front and centre. This mistaking of a peripheral feature as if it were central is (we are sometimes told) the result of a modern, Western, academic and largely Protestant agenda in which religion and politics are relegated to two separate and wholly distinct spheres. When those two spheres are allowed to intermesh, as was usual in the ancient world, and when the political realm that dominated the firstcentury world is recognised as the Roman order espoused in the Roman provinces in which Paul frequently operated, the issue of ‘Paul and the law’ starts to look to some like a peripheral nicety that has the potential to sidetrack interpreters from the primary features of Paul’s programme in its historical context.


Michael F. Bird said...

Responses fm me:

Loren: Yep, the NP does not work well in Rom 5-8 and Jas 2. I think righteousness as identity works in Gal 2.11-14 but rarely elsewhere.

Jase: No, I'm not into football yet, but the Leeds vs. Hull rugby league final was excellent

Bluey: philology probably relates to the fact that nowhere in any lexicons does the dik- group relate to covenant membership.

Sean: I think Longenecker may mistake the NP for the Fresh Perspective, which are related but separate views - I have to read Longenecker first.

TheBlueRaja said...

I'm not too bright, and like I've said, I've never read any Hengel, so please forgive my ignorance; but a rejection of covenantal resonances in Paul's use of the dik- word group because its not in the lexicon seems sort of . . . dumb . . . to me.

Besides the obvious complexity of how different layers of context determine the meaning of a word, it seems like the issues are fundamentally hermeneutical, not philological. The considerations and presuppositions which would cause a person to accept or reject the NP revolve around issues of canonical cohesiveness and the continuity/discontinuity of OT and NT theology, don't they? They're certainly not about common sense or fashion!

Even though I realize that judicious research into and evaluation of 2nd Temple texts is necessary for purposes of historical justification and falsification, isn't the real locus of the debate over how the OT and NT relate to one another in one comprehensive story of redemption? The reason the issue is so heated in Reformed circles, after all, is because of the challenge posed to traditional Lutheran Law/Gospel antitheses. And even though people like Sanders, Dunn and Wright claim that the central reason this distinction doesn't work is historical, the theological cash value of their various (and variegated) criticisms seems to be the call for a different synthesis than the Lutheran one. Moreover, the srength of their arguments about the character of 2nd Temple Judaism is that it was not a sudden and radical about-face from OT ideals, but a development of it. In any case, I'd love your thoughts on any of that.

Denny Burk said...

Some of the articles from this issue are now posted on CTR's website:

Denny Burk