THE ROOTS OF THE LEGALISTIC CONCEPTION OF JUDAISM

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INTRODUCTION

For the last five hundred years, many Protestants believed that Luther correctly understood Paul’s viewpoints. Furthermore, many Protestants also assumed that the Jewish covenant was in some ways similar to Medieval Catholicism. Both Judaism and Medieval Catholicism, it was presumed, were covenants based on legalism, where the adherents believed that one had to earn one’s way into heaven by the performance of good works. In contrast, in the Protestant view, Paul taught that Jesus came to institute a new covenant; a covenant based on grace and faith in his atoning sacrifice on the cross for our sins.
A break with the Reformation camp (or at least the way that the Reformation theology had come to be understood by nineteenth and early twentieth century Protestantism) began with the work of Wrede and Schweitzer. Davies, Stendahl, Montefiore, Schoeps and others made contributions which also added to this break.
However, the real launch of this challenge to the Reformation approach to Paul took place in 1977, when E.P. Sanders wrote Paul and Palestinian Judaism. This book had such an impact in the scholarly community that within a few short years N.T. Wright used the expression: “The New Perspective on Paul,” to give name to those who were influenced by Sanders to challenge the traditional Protestant approaches to justification in Paul.
Building on the work of other scholars, Sanders asserted that Judaism is not nearly as legalistic and works oriented as many scholars had previously assumed. He describes Judaism as being a “covenantal nomist” faith, meaning that in Judaism one enters the covenant through grace (birth as a Jew and therefore a grace-based election into the covenant). Once one is in the covenant, one only needs to maintain one’s status as part of the covenant by doing works. Also, the whole purpose of the temple was in order to provide a means to atone for sins, offering forgiveness to those who needed it. Hence Judaism is much more grace-based than Protestant scholars had supposed.1

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
CHAPTER 2 THE BACKGROUND TO THE NEW PERSPECTIVE: A BRIEF HISTORY OF PAULINE INTERPRETATION IN THE WESTERN CHURCH
2.1. THE EARLY CHURCH PERIOD
2.2 JAMES DUNN AND APPROACHES TO THE LAW: ETHICAL VERSUS CEREMONIAL
2.3 BACKGROUND TO THE NEW PERSPECTIVE: AUGUSTINE TO LUTHER
2.4 BACKGROUND TO THE NEW PERSPECTIVE. THE ENLIGHTENMENT AND ITS QUEST TO FIND “RATIONAL” MOTIVES FOR PAUL’S CONVERSION
2.5 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 3 FORMATIONAL ISSUES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NEW PERSPECTIVE
3.1. THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS SCHOOL
3.2 THE ROOTS OF THE LEGALISTIC CONCEPTION OF JUDAISM
3.3 RUDOLF BULTMANN
3.4 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 4 THE FORERUNNERS OF THE NEW PERSPECTIVE
4.1 WILLIAM WREDE
4.2 ALBERT SCHWEITZER
4.3 W.D. DAVIES
4.4 KRISTER STENDAHL
4.5 JEWISH PAULINE SCHOLARS: MONTEFIORE, SCHOEPS, AND SEGAL
4.5.1 Claude G. Montefiore
4.5.2 H.J. Schoeps
4.5.3 Alan Segal
4.5.4 Grace in Judaism, Other Sources
4.6 CONCLUSION .
CHAPTER 5 THE NEW PERSPECTIVE SCHOLARS AND THEIR VIEWPOINTS
5.1 E.P. SANDERS
5.2 N. T. WRIGHT
5.3 JAMES DUNN
5.4 TERRY DONALDSON
5.5 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER 6 RESPONSES TO THE NEW PERSPECTIVE
CHAPTER 7 CORRECTING SOME MISUNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT LUTHER7
CHAPTER 8 LUTHER, DUNN, JUDAISM AND MEDIEVAL CATHOLICISM
8.1 LATE MEDIEVAL NOMINALISM – THE THEOLOGY AGAINST WHICH LUTHER REACTED
CHAPTER 9 PAUL AND JUDAISM

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