The Saving Righteousness of God

The Saving Righteousness of God
Studies on Paul, Justification and the New Perspective
Paternoster Biblical Monographs-PBM
by Michael F. Bird
Paternoster Press, 2007
xvii + 230 pages, English
Paper, 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781842274651
List Price: $29.99
Your Price: $26.39
www.eisenbrauns.com/wconnect/wc.dll?ebGate~EIS~~I~BIRSAVING.

This book by Michael F. Bird is the latest on my summer reading list. I’m only about 30% through the book, but this summary paragraph (from pp. 32-33, with my own emphasis added) struck me as thought-provoking:

“In this perspective, pre-Sanders scholarship was correct to identify Jewish particularism as the context of Paul’s missionary career and how righteousness is the resolution to Paul’s anthropological pessimism concerning the law, flesh, sin and the final judgment. However, it failed to identify exactly how righteousness and justification relates to the problem posed by Jewish particularism. In contrast, much of post-Sanders scholarship correctly identifies and prosecutes the significance of Jewish particularism in relation to Paul’s theology of righteousness. Yet the error is frequently made of mistaking the context of justification with its content or purpose. There can be no doubt that justification and righteousness are rooted firmly in the debate concerning the identity of the people of God, but it is wrong to think that the verdict rendered in justification can be reduced to sociological descriptions of group-identity and self-definition. That would evacuate the language of righteousness of its apocalyptic and juridical sense.”

To me, that seems to be a a particularly accurate and penetrating of the New Perspective on Paul, or at least many who in some fashion of another identify themselves with this redefinition of justification/righteousness in Paul.

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