Thursday, July 20, 2006
New Paul Perspective Part 1
The New Paul Perspective (NPP) is a theological framework which suggest for a new understanding of Pauline theology in which 2nd Temple Judaism is viewed primarily as a religion of "grace" rather than one of "legalism". Therefore, Paul's critique of the Pharisees was not primarily one of legalism (trying to earn salvation by works), but one due to nationalistic boasting which required Gentiles to convert to Judaism (proselyte) in order to be identified as God's people.
The three most prominent NPP proponents are E.P. Sanders, James Dunn, and N.T. Wright. I personally have not studied first-hand any of Sander's and Dunn's works (even though I have read critiques of their works), but I have read quite a few of Wright's articles and books, including "The New Testament and the People of God" and "The Climax of the Covenant".
With that being said, I will try to examine the New Paul Perspective with a focus on Wright's work by addressing the following questions:
1. What are the NPP proponents trying to emphasize and say?
2. What are the major criticisms of the NPP, especially Wright, and are they valid?
3. How should the church respond to the NPP, namely Wright?