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Thomas Schreiner interviewed about ZECNT

Categories New Testament

Tom Schreiner Matthew Montonini at New Testament Perspectives recently posted an interview with Thomas Schreiner about the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary series and his volume on Galatians.

The interview is quite well done and definitely worth a read!

Because of the length you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Below is an exerpt from the interview as Matthew and Dr. Schreiner discuss Galatians and the New Perspective on Paul.


“[Matthew]: One of the best features of your commentary is the “In Depth” essays that you include within the commentary proper. Galatians provides many challenging topics for the reader/interpreter (e.g. ‘justification;’ ‘works of the law;’ ‘faith in/of Christ;’ etc.). One of these essays (‘works of the law’) discusses the New Perspective on Paul (NPP). First, could you discuss what benefit(s) the NPP has had in the interpretation of ‘works of the law,’ and second, what are some of the shortcomings of this particular reading?

[Tom]: I will keep this brief since it is a blog post. But the NPP reminds us that Jew/Gentile issues were crucial in the first century, and what provoked the controversy in Galatia was a boundary marker issue (circumcision), and what sparked debate in Antioch (Gal. 2:11-14) was an identity marker issue as well (food laws). So, the NPP rightly sees that boundary marker issues faced early Christians. The inclusion of the Gentiles in the church is a major issue. 

If I could sum up the shortcoming of the NPP briefly, I think the NPP wrongly sees the focus on boundary markers in the phrase works of law, whereas the focus is on the law as a whole. The phrase most naturally refers to the entire law (cf. Gal. 3:10). And as we read on in Paul’s argument (cf. Gal. 2:15-21; 3:6-14), it becomes apparent that Paul argues against righteousness by law as a whole (cf. 5:3), so that Paul repudiates the notion that human beings can be justified on the basis of their works.”

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