There is a lot of rethinking going on these days with regards to Paul’s writings, especially centred around the renowned letter of Paul to the church in Rome. Or we call it Romans.
The rethinking doesn’t simply centre around the ‘new perspective on Paul’ and justification, but this encompasses both the whole letter and the multiple parts of the whole.
Author’s such as Andrew Perriman are challenging us to read Romans in its first century, city of Rome context, which was prior to establishment of what became known as western Christendom (I say ‘became’ knowing that Christendom has fallen in western Europe).
Still, Perriman is asking us to consider what is going on for Paul, a second-temple Jew writing to a Jew-Gentile church in the capital city of a majorly pagan empire. What did it mean then? Not what did it mean to Luther as he stood against the imperial Roman Catholic Church of his day, nor even what it means from a ‘new Pauline perspective’.
Perriman’s book is entitled The Future of the People of God: Reading Romans Before and After Western Christendom, of which I posted a review of the book here.
Whether one agrees with the new Pauline perspective, with Tom Wright being its most popular, but not the only, proponent, I believe he offers some great thoughts in his book Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision.
With the quote below, he offers a ‘thought experiment’, asking this: What if the Reformation had started with Ephesians and Colossians, rather than Romans and Galatians? Continue reading