مرکزی صفحہ Biblical Theology Bulletin: A Journal of Bible and Culture (Biblical Theology... Book Review: What Must I Do to Be Saved? Paul Parts Company with His Jewish Heritage. By Barry D....
Biblical Theology Bulletin: A Journal of Bible and Culture (Biblical Theology Bulletin: A Journal of Bible and Theology) 2009 / 11 Vol. 39; Iss. 4
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BIBL IC A L T HEOLO GY BUL L ET IN • VOLUME 39 • 2 0 0 9 so-called parting(s) of the ways between “Judaism” and “Christianity” is yet again proven to be more complex than is often assumed. Mapping the New Testament deserves careful study by students of Early Judaism and the New Testament alike. Anders Runesson McMaster University Hamilton ON, Canada What Must I Do to Be Saved? Paul Parts Company with His Jewish Heritage. By Barry D. Smith. Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2007. Pp. xiv + 285. Cloth, $90.00. Against the tide of newer Paul interpretations Barry Smith delivers “a restatement of the traditional formulation of Pauline soteriology [Augustinian-Lutheran] in light of recent criticisms of it” (p. 1). The criticisms in mind are particularly those connected with E. P. Sanders and the “New Perspective” on Paul. Chapter 1 provides a readable survey of Jewish texts dealing first with the subject of God as righteous judge, and second with God as merciful. Then follows an outline of the Judaism with which Smith’s Paul will part company at his conversion. Drawing from Hebrew Bible and Second Temple texts (e.g., the Dead Sea Scrolls), Smith furnishes a traditional portrayal of legalistic soteriology—“synergism” in Smith’s terms. This chapter is a reworked abbreviation of his earlier book, The Tension Between God As Righteous Judge and as Merciful in Early Judaism (2005), and represents a return to views of Jewish soteriology prominent before the 1977 publication of Sanders’s Paul and Palestinian Judaism. According to Smith’s logic, divine justice demands perfect obedience and condemns all as sinners. On the mercy side, divine forgiveness pro- vides “hope for those Jews who fall short of perfect obedience to the Law” (p. 35). Put another way: God will repay as each deserves (justice); God will not repay as each deserves (mercy). These opposing depictions of how God relates to Jews are said to stand “in obvious tension” (p. 4) and to reflect accurately the Hebrew Bible’s own portrayal. Smith notes that; Jewish texts can put these two depictions together. However, he fails to explore how Jews might have done so in a way that seeks to hold them together. That is, rather than seeking to understand Jewish soteriology sympathetically and from within, he imposes an overly Western rationalism which asserts these depictions must stand in hopeless tension. (For the counter-thesis, “no tension,” of which he seems to be unaware, see my Paul, Judaism and Judgment According to Deeds.) Chapter 2 presents “Paul’s Non-Synergistic Soteriology.” Only “those who keep the Law perfectly” (p. 74) can be qualified for eschatological life. Although Jews should have known better, they had allowed “mere habitual obedience” to suffice instead of perfection. This emphasis on the necessity of perfect obedience runs throughout the chapter. Readers should be aware that such legal rigorism was not characteristic of the HB nor other Jewish texts (see HB provisions for repentance, forgiveness and sacrifice; also H. Räisänen, Paul and the Law, pp. 120–23). Paul then proceeds to “dismantle the uneasy compromise . . . between God as righteous judge and as merciful in favor of the latter. What alone remains for Paul is God as merciful” (p. 75). This is soteriological monergism in which salvation is tied to divine grace alone, and is “completely independent of all human effort” (p. 107). Smith surveys a large number of Pauline texts seeking to demonstrate the apostle’s rejection of Jewish synergism and its replacement by imputed faith-righteousness. Apart from his adoption of a rhetorical (versus autobiographical) reading of Ro mans 7, there are few surprises here. Some errors of fact mar the argument, as when the author states that the translation of ean me with “except” (Gal 2:16) “has little to commend it” (p. 110, n. 141). A look at major lexica, grammars and commentaries proves otherwise. Three excurses conclude chapter 2. Chapter 3 takes up Pauline texts that might seem to contradict the author’s monergism thesis. For example, if salvation is independent of human effort, why does the apostle call for continued efforts at obedience (1 Cor 9:24–27)? Or how can Paul retain interest in a final judgment according to deeds (Rom 2:5–11) if such effort is no longer relevant to salvation? The exegetical suggestions are brief and generally conventional. A concluding excursus notes that both Paul and the Dead Sea Scrolls speak of obedience enabled by God’s grace (fruit of the Spirit in Paul), but argues that in Paul this transformation is irresistible (Paul rejects free will), whereas in Judaism it merely offers the opportunity to do good in the power of human free will. The book could be helpful for nonacademics who wish to see how more traditional Protestant Pauline interpreters might restate their soteriology in light of recent work. However, even on this point, a more balanced study like S. Westerholm’s Perspectives Old and New on Paul (2004) would be of greater help. Kent L. Yinger George Fox Evangelical Seminary Portland, Oregon 97223 The Psalms of Lament in Mark’s Passion: Jesus’ Davidic Suffering. By Stephen 225 Downloaded from btb.sagepub.com at UNIV OF CINCINNATI on June 5, 2016