N.T. Wright’s Galatians– Part Seven

N.T. Wright’s Galatians– Part Seven July 12, 2021

Q. I was intrigued to see you draw on the Psalms of Solomon to help explain Paul’s background and how he used to view not only who counted as righteous and sinners, but one could add, what the Messiah’s role would be when he came. So… I kept waiting for you to say something about Ps. Sol. 17-18 where we hear about a militaristic messiah ala David the warrior. If Saul had thought this way, clearly Gal. 2.15-21 makes clear he now went in the completely opposite direction in how he viewed the way Messiah would free his people. Would you agree?

A. Oh yes: but there are of course different ‘messianic’ images at the time, and some have argued that the (slightly later, post 70) book of Fourth Ezra is actually advocating a non-military messiah, though I’m not utterly convinced. So, yes: I think the Pss Sol are VERY important as an indication of how the young Saul of Tarsus thought – particularly the solid categories of the dikaioi vs the hamartoloi. But what we see in Paul’s Christian thought is what happens to those categories, and of course specially to the picture of the Messiah (btw I think you mean Ps Sol 17-18?) when you’re faced with the resurrection of a crucified would-be Messiah. This is precisely what happens when a strict Pharisee meets Jesus of Nazareth . . .

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