Friday, July 17, 2009

Second-Temple Judaism

So I've been reading NT Wrights' "Justification" slowly on purpose. There is much to sink yourself into, especially if you read the texts he brings into play as they come.

In Chapter 3, he writes one of the best summaries of why second-temple Judaism is so important to an understanding of the New Testament I've ever read. Everywhere from simply understood statements such as:

"most Jews of the time were not sitting around discussing how to go to heaven, and swapping views on the finer points of synergism and sanctification."

All the way to more complicated, but helpful to understanding Paul:

"the "dikaiosyne theou" (righteousness of God), is an outward-looking characteristic of God...that of God's creative, healing, restorative love."(speaking of God's covenant to His people FOR THE SAKE OF creation) "Indeed, it is because God will be true to that outward-facing generous, creative love that he must also curse those ways of life, particularly those ways of life within his covenant people, which embody and express the opposite."

Sure, there are points where he defends himself against specific accusations by John Piper in his own book on Justification; but always in a way that reveals/embraces scripture, rather than only a traditional understanding of one group/line of people.

This is all groundwork/foundational discussion for the exciting parts that are to come; namely, his brief exegesis on a few major works of Paul. All of this definitely makes me want to get a copy of the New Interpreter's Commentary......even if only a digital copy on cd of some sort. Maybe I splurge and put my office/professional budget towards better use than random reads....but that might be a couple year's worth. Someday...

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