The Doctrine of Justification in the Work of N.T. Wright (part 3 of 4) - To Whom it Belongs: The [Im]'Dis'puted Righteousness of God
For the past twenty-five years the world of biblical scholarship has been shaken by the so-called "Sanders Revolution" and the "New Perspective" on Paul. Tremors are now increasingly felt in the church as well. Denying that the Judaism of Paul's time was legalistic or characterized by an emphasis on "works-righteousness," proponents of this new and now dominant approach in scholarship have demanded a thorough reappraisal of Paul's view of the law. Even some of those critical of the "New Perspective" per se have begun (for other reasons) to question the traditional Protestant formulations of justification by faith rather than by works and the imputation of the alien righteousness of Christ. Suddenly it seems that everything is being redefined: the faith/works contrast, the righteousness of God, imputation, justification. Drawing on the insights of the "New Perspective" and yet fitting into no particular school—indeed, forging his own paradigm in a way that defies easy categorization—N.T. Wright has moved to the center of the current reevaluation of old assumptions. Determined to follow the New Testament trail wherever it leads, Wright is a guide who can be as disorienting as he is brilliant. Old, familiar landmarks have been moved to new locations with new functions: what used to be the bank on the corner is now the courthouse next door, as it were. Nevertheless, Wright's importance as a scholar and as a churchman (he is the bishop of Durham for the Church of England) commends his work for our closest attention. Indeed, our understanding of crucial passages in the New Testament and Paul is at stake. The purpose, then, of this lecture series is to examine the work and thought of N.T. Wright, particularly with respect to the doctrine of justification, within its proper contexts: the revolution within Pauline studies in the last quarter century; the traditional formulations of the church; and, most especially, the thought-world of first-century Judaism and of that most provocative of Jews and Christians, the apostle Paul.
Bill Wilder received an undergraduate degree in English and German from Guilford College and an M.Div. degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He completed his Ph.D. in Biblical Studies at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. He is the author of Echoes of the Exodus Narrative in the Context and Background of Galatians 5:18 (Peter Lang, 2001).... read more
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