Friday, June 09, 2006

NTW, Bird, and "The New Perspective" (Part 2)

Regarding the necessity of a mediating position between the "New Perspective" and traditional readings of Paul, Wright also makes the following observation:

"Israel too is in Adam: the people who bear the solution are themselves part of the problem, and the good and holy Torah . . . simply intensifies the problem, partly by pointing at sin within Israel, and partly, at a second level, by apparently encouraging Israel to make it an idol, to use it as a way of establishing an inalienable status of national privilege . . . This move shows, I believe, the folly of dividing up readings of Paul into the false either/or of those on the one hand which highlight the problem of sin and the question of forgiveness and those on the other which highlight the problem of Israel and the inclusion of the Gentiles within God's people. This is where the so-called 'new perspective' has made one of its necessary points - that every time Paul discusses justification he seems simultaneously to be talking about Gentile inclusion - but has not, usually, shown how this integrates with the traditional view that he is talking about how sinners are put right with God" (Paul: In Fresh Perspective, 36: italics mine).

Wright's observation regarding the link between justification and Gentile inclusion certainly seems valid for Romans and Galations. It also seems relevant for Ephesians 2:1-22.


Michael F. Bird said...

Mark, you have tapped into one of the key areas where the NPP and Wright are correct. Although you could add 1 Cor. 6.11 where there is no "Gentile" issue. The challenge is to show how the social and soteriological aspects of justification can be integrated.

Mark Owens said...

Thanks for the visit. I thought Wright's suggestion that the "Gentile" issue is always present was a little overstated. BTW, I sent you an email. Blessings.