Here, finally, is a much-needed review and analysis of the divergent interpretations of Paul. With a clear head and winsome sense of humor, Stephen Westerholm compares the traditional understanding of Paul to more recent readings, drawing on the writings of key figures in the debate both past and present.
Westerholm first offers a detailed portrait of the “Lutheran” Paul, including the way such theologians as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley have traditionally interpreted “justification by faith” to mean that God declares sinners “righteous” by his grace apart from “works.” Westerholm then explores how Paul has fared in the twentieth century, in which “New Perspective” readings of Paul see him teaching that Gentiles need not become Jews or observe Jewish law to be God’s people. The final section of the book looks anew at disputed areas of Paul’s theological language and offers compelling discussion on the place of both justification by faith and Mosaic law in divine redemption.
Thomas R. Schreiner
“Stephen Westerholm’s book is the ideal entr?e into the discussion on Paul, the law, and justification. Only here will readers find both contemporary and historic contributions to the debate explained. Westerholm reminds us that Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley must be reckoned with seriously as profound interpreters of Paul. He also provides his own incisive and insightful contribution to the biblical text, repristinating the perspective of Luther for our day. Throughout, Westerholm writes with the sparkling clarity and wit that is characteristic of all his work.”
“This eagerly awaited volume is a gem. After years of debate about the ‘new perspective,’ a debate bogged down with multiple confusions, Stephen Westerholm describes and analyzes all the main viewpoints on Paul’s theology of law, grace, and justification from Augustine onward. With enviable clarity, incisive observation, and shafts of humor, Westerholm reaffirms and refines the ‘old perspective’ while also incorporating the strong points of the new. This is the book we all have needed, both scholars and students. It will surely help us escape the impasse in our current debates.”