Understanding the New Perspective on Paul (by Scot McKnight)

This past month's cover story of Christianity Today was, "What Did Paul Really Mean? 'New perspective' scholars argue that we need, well, a new perspective on justification by faith" by Simon Gathercole.

It is a good overview of the main issues involved in the New Perspective theology from scholars like E.P. Sanders, James D.G. Dunn, and N.T. Wright.

Scot McKnight is another scholar in the New Perspective camp (having studied under Dunn). As an insider on the subject, he offers his perspective on the new perspective.

With Scot's blessing, the series is offered here at Vanguard Church as a pdf file.

Download it here: Understanding the New Perspective on Paul by Scot McKnight



Michael Kruse said...

This was a great series. I wish more folks would process this stuff.

joe said...

its funny. i didnt read them on scot's blog but i read 3 out of 5 so far on yours. i never understood paul or jewish history or "theology" that way. very insightful. i guess that is why it is called a new perspective.

joe said...

ok. i read the whole thing now. is this saying that we misunderstand paul because we are looking through an augustinian lens? or we have a misunderstanding of judaism? or yes?

this is really fascinating, but i am having a hard time following it.

Bob Robinson said...


Yea, both.

NPP says that we have a misunderstanding of Judaism because we read Paul through the lens of the Reformers and their battle against Rome, which springs out of a preconception about anthropology that the reformers inherited from Augustine.

New studies in Judaism have made scholars re-assess their understanding of Paul's theology in a way that calls into question these Augustinian anthropological presumptions.

Modern evangelicalism wants to read Paul through the eyes of Luther and Calvin (their application of Paul's writings to their battle with Rome and also their application of Augustine's view of man); the NPP scholars want to read Paul through his own eyes - as he applied the gospel to the problems associated with 1st Century Judaism and the Christian heresy of the Judaizers.

The question, of course, is this: Do the NPP folk got Paul right? Is this the way he was thinking? Or did the Reformers get Paul right?

joe said...

good stuff. thanks bob.

Steve Douglas said...

Hi, do you know what has happened to the pdf you originally linked? The link is no longer working.


Bob Robinson said...

Thanks for pointing out the broken link. It should work now. Hit "Refresh" and then click the link again.