In Mike Bird’s new book, The Apostle Paul, there are four views of Paul: the Reformed view by Tom Schreiner, the Catholic view by L.T. Johnson, the post New Perspective view by Douglas Campbell, and the Jewish view of Mark Nanos. Today’s post will look at Campbell’s piece.For the entire review, enjoy it
What do you see as the major problems with the traditional reading of Paul? What do you see as the major problems with the New Perspective on Paul? Do you think Campbell’s reading helps us forward?
In essence, and Campbell gets this right when many don’t, the core of the New Perspective is a new view of Judaism and a new view of Paul rooted in that new view of Judaism. The “old” perspective on Paul, it is argued, overcooked Judaism into a works-based religion. This led to religion being man’s attempt to justify himself, and the whole gospel of Paul was read as a response to this fundamental anthropological pride. Hence, we read in folks like Tim Keller of two options:
performance vs. grace/faith.
I see this all over, so Keller’s not alone. The New Perspective calls this into question because it argues that “performance” stuff emerges from a view of Judaism and from a Judaism Paul was opposing.
Campbell, however, goes beyond anything being said by the New Perspective, though he agrees completely with its view of Judaism. He thinks the New Perspective explanations of Paul — Dunn, Wright, oddly not really dealing with Sanders — are not good enough and so he revises those explanations. I would say he radically revises.