On Sunday we dove back into the letter to the Romans and as part of our recap we talked about some of the major schools of interpretation when it comes to Paul. For those interested here’s a little more detailed breakdown of where the “New Perspective” fits.
The Tübingen School
This approach sees a civil war roiling beneath the text of the New testament between the Petrine (Peter) and Pauline (Paul) approaches to Jesus. What we know as Christianity today is a result of the victory of the Pauline approach and the subsequent re-writing of the new testament to support that view.
The Archaeology of Religion Approach
The approach takes an anthropological approach and sees Paul attempting to hellenize (essentially make Greek) the Jewish religion. Christianity is Judaism filtered through a Grecko-Roman philosophical lens.
The New Perspective on Paul
This approach becomes prevalent in the mid 20th century and it recognizes that within Jewish thought the dichotomy between work and faith is not a problem the way it is for western thinkers. Doing the right thing is a response to the love of God and was never a way to earn the love of God in Judaism. Through this lens Paul’s critique of Peter has less to do with Faith vs Works but with ensuring that the ethnic markers (while beautiful) do not become barriers to entry into the community of Christ.