Friday, February 10, 2006

Forensic Justification as Legal Fiction?

Another multiple choice question. Which of the following scholars deny that justification amounts to legal fiction?

a. F.C. Baur
b. James D. G. Dunn
c. N. T. Wright
d. G. E. Ladd
e. Richard B. Hays

See the answer in the comments section.


Michael F. Bird said...

Answer: All of them! Every single one does not think of justification as legal fiction. Don't believe me:

F.C. Baur, Paul the Apostle of Jesus Christ: His Life and Works, His Epistles and Teachings: Two Volumes in One (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2003 [1873-75]) 2: 158-61.

James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, 385-86.

N.T. Wright, “Justification: The Biblical Basis and its Relevance for Contemporary Evangelicalism,” in The Great Acquittal, ed. G. Reid (London: Collins, 1980) 27 [but see What Saint Paul Really Said {Oxford: Lion, 1997}113, where he does question the idea]

G.E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (rev. and ed. Ralph P. Martin and Donald A. Hagner; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1993) 486-87.

Richard B. Hays, “Justification,” in ABD, ed. David Noel Freedman (ABRL; 6 vols.; New York: Doubleday, 1992) 3:1131.

NWMihelis said...

I'm currently trying to work my way through Wright's material. My understanding is that, just like anyone else, his thinking has developed over the years. I've heard Carson say that some of his views were a bit different back in the day when they were contemporarys at Oxbridge. Or to put it in your vernacular: though he was (back then) and is (currently) within the reformed camp, back then more people would have liked the camping equipment he brought on the trips :-) Anyway, all that to say: Where is he currenly at in his thinking on the forensic nature of Justification? Any insite from his latest Paul - A Fresh Perspective? (I haven't read it yet, but I noticed you've posted at least a picture of it :-)


Michael F. Bird said...

It is clear to me from "Shape of Justification" and the his Edinburgh Dogs Conference paper an more recently with Fresh Perspectives, that he thinks of justification as conferring on the status of "righteous". But the fact is that he doesn't get there via imputation - which worries some - instead it's bound up with Union in the Messiah and Regeneration. Wright's passion is to show that justification is Paul's solution to Jewish ethnocentricism.

Michael F. Bird said...

Also. Yes, Wright definitely has developed his thinking. If you read his NBT article it is hardly controversial. When you get into Climax and WSPRS, then he starts going hay-wire. But his response to Barnett (as I heard Carson acknowledge as well) represents an accomodation in his view and [in my view now] brings him closer to a more Reformed position.

Kyle said...

I've not done much work at all on Paul studies: what is meant to be conveyed by "legal fiction"?

NWMihelis said...


You said:

"But the fact is that he doesn't get there via imputation - which worries some - instead it's bound up with Union in the Messiah and Regeneration."

This sounds similar to what you were arguing for in your JETS article on Incorporation (Which was very helpful, might I add :-) Am I reading you right? (I had to supress the urge to ask "am I reading you Wright? Poor guy is always getting his name maligned in reviews)