Since 1963, substantial objections have been raised against the traditional view of the Pauline doctrine of justification, mainly by New Testament scholars such as Krister Stendahl, E. P. Sanders, and James D. G. Dunn. This book evaluates the “New Perspective on Paul” and finds it wanting.
With appreciation for the important critique already offered by Donald Hagner, which is included in this volume, Peter Stuhlmacher mounts a forthright and well-supported challenge based on established and more recent scholarship concerning Paul’s understanding of justification. In particular he argues that the forensic and mystical elements of Paul’s doctrine of justification should not be played off against one another. Rather Paul’s understanding can be faithfully rendered only within the context of his apostolic mission to Jews and Gentiles and the expectation of the coming kingdom of God.
This book will be of interest to students and teachers of biblical studies, biblical theology and systematic theology, and to those engaged in Jewish-Christian dialogue, Protestant-Roman Catholic conversation about the doctrine of justification, or discussions of rival views of justification within Protestantism.
“In sum, ‘God’s righteousness’ in the Old Testament and early Judaism means, above all, the activity of the one God to create welfare and salvation in the creation, in the history of Israel, and in the situation of the (end-time judgment).” (source)
“The new perspective on Paul maintains that Paul’s theology has been misunderstood because it has been read through the lenses of Luther and the Reformation.” (source)
“My impression, however, is that the emphasis on boundary markers or national righteousness, in fact, pushes justification by faith very much to the periphery, making it pertinent only to the Gentiles.” (source)
“In my opinion, conversion is the right word to use for Paul’s rejection of Judaism and turning to the faith of the Christian community he had been persecuting.” (source)
“Christological statements about justification were thus already given to Paul in the apostolic faith tradition, which he inherited.” (source)
Peter Stuhlmacher was born in 1932 in Leipzig and has taught New Testament at the Protestant Theological Faculty in Tubingen since 1972. His main interest has long been in problems of hermeneutics and Biblical Theology. Some of his translated works include Historical Criticism and Theological Interpretation of Scripture, Reconciliation, Law & Righteousness, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, and Revisiting Paul’s Doctrine of Justification: A Challenge to the New Perspective.