Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The Deliverance of God, Part 1
I am reviewing Douglas Campbell's, The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul for a journal, and am enjoying it immensely. If you wish to search this book, it is available on Google books. Doug Moo reviews this book in the current issue of JETS (see bibliographical information below). Check out Nijay Gupta's initial thoughts on this work, they are somewhat similar to mine, though I will focus my review on the use of social scientific methods and identity issues. Check out a interview with Campbell by Michael Bird.
For those who are "seeking" (sorry for the pun, see 2009: 134) an orientation to this work, a few quotes may be useful. Some of these will be areas that I critique in my review.
“A single culprit seems to generate our difficulties, namely, a particular individualist – and so possibly also rather modern – reading of Paul’s justification terminology and argumentation that devolves into a conditional understanding of salvation (that is, salvation is granted in relation to individual actions).” (2009: 3).
“It is the conventional 'Lutheran' construal of the arguments of these distinctive texts, leading to an individualist, conditional, and contractual account of the whole notion of salvation, that arguably lies behind some of the most intractable interpretative conundrums in modern Pauline scholarship.” (2009: 6).
“The conventional individualist reading claims to deliver – often under the weighty authority of church tradition – the apostle’s definitive soteriological program – that is, nothing less than the gospel itself.” (2009: 7).
“This depiction of redeemed humanity is neither individualist nor corporate. The identity of the people involved is not defined fundamentally by way of reference to themselves, other key relationships constitute that identity.” (2009: 68).
“Justification theory views Judaism as a more specific version of the generic human condition.” (2009: 85).
“It is now apparent that not a great deal actually separates Sanders’s covenantal nomism from legalism in strictly theoretical terms.” (2009: 103).
“The Jew, as articulated by Justification theory, is a phantom, although the theory claims that that Jew characterizes all of pre-Christian humanity – a problem, to be sure.” (2009: 114).
“...sanctification is a theory of salvation, which is entirely self-sufficient.” (2009: 187).
Louis Martyn emphasizes “unconditionality and grace, on revelation, and on a fundamentally liberative soteriology, and this in terms of an inaugurated eschatological existence in relation to the entire cosmos.” (2009: 190)
Campbell argues that Justification theory, primarily based on Romans 1-4 provides a soteriological system that is fundamentally at odds with that which is presented in Romans 5-8. The latter is more transformative, apocalyptic, and participatory, and coheres better with Paul's arguments in his other letters.
Well, what do you think about Campbell's program? Any thoughts on these quotes?
I've been approaching identity formation from an apocalyptic perspective, an approach I call apicalyptic identity formationl; however, my approach to apocalyptic allows for more continuity than does that of Lou Martyn. Can one maintain apocalyptic in Paul and allow previous social identities to continue "in Christ"?
Douglas J. Moo, "Review Article: The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul by Douglas A. Campbell," JETS 53.1 (March 2010): 143-50.
Louis Martyn, Galatians, AB 33A (London and New York: Doubleday, 1997).