What is the New Perspective on Paul (one more time)?

What is the New Perspective on Paul (one more time)? November 15, 2013

From Jens Schröter, in his newly translated book, From Jesus to the New Testament: Early Christian Theology and the Origin of the New Testament Canon (Baylor, 2013, p. 134):

The following points can be named as its [NPP’s] most important insights:

(1) Paul’s thinking should not be understood as an answer to individual plights of conscience but as a salvation-historical orientation and revolves around the question of the status of the Gentiles in the people of God.

(2) The picture  of Judaism as a religion of “works righteousness” is a negative foil for the interpretation of Pauline theology that in no way does justice to ancient Judaism and therefore [this old way of reading Paul] also distorts the stance of Paul toward the Judaism of his time.

(3) Paul does not fundamentally polemicize against the doing of good works but criticizes Israel’s appeal to identity markers that demarcate it from other peoples and ground its status as the chosen people.

To be clear, then, the old perspective does see Paul focusing on the problem of individual salvation, almost exclusively; the old saw and continues to see Judaism as a works righteousness religion and that this principle of self-striving is at work in the human condition; the old sees good works as self-justification and rarely connects them to Israel’s chosen status.

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