May 8, 2010

Beyond the New Perspective


While some are just now getting up to speed on the new perspective on Paul, some scholars have already moved beyond it (Should we call this the newer perspective?). Magnus Zetterholm suggests that those who have moved beyond the new perspective of Sanders-Dunn-Wright are characterized by four shifts of focus. The four are:

1. The traditional idea that Paul addressed the whole of humanity has been heavily challenged. Within the radical new perspective, it is quite clear that Paul addresses non-Jews.
2. The assumption that Paul turned to non-Jews has led scholars to the conclusion that his major theological problem concerned non-Jews, not Jews.
3. While traditional scholarship and the new perspective often have argued that Paul created a new group, free from ethnic boundaries, these scholars maintain that the Jesus movement did not represent for Paul a "third race," but remained within Judaism, with new ideas about the appropriate ways to identify and instruct the non-Jewish members.
4. A common trait among the radical new perspective scholars is the ambition not to let contemporary Christian normative theology influence their interpretations.

Magnus Zetterholm, Approaches to Paul: A Student’s Guide to Recent Scholarship (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009), 161–2.


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