Paul’s negative view of the Law
For those who have e-mailed me recently, apologies for my lack of response. I'll try to get round to responding in the next day or two. I've been happily busy the last few days.
Anyway, how could a Jew like Paul say such negative things about the Law? Some resort to a Lutheran scheme. Others an apocalyptic framework. Others will argue that Paul's polemic is directed at Gentiles trying to adopt the law. Still others will claim Paul is given to rhetorical manipulation, and doesn't mind the odd contradiction or exaggeration.
I think the question needs to be reframed: How could a first century Jew not have such a negative view of the Law? After all, Moses himself prophesied (in the last few chapter of Deuteronomy), that Israel would not inherit the promised blessing through the Law, but rather its curse, i.e. exile. Standing in the first century, Paul's world was shaped by the clear fulfilment of these Mosaic prophecies. So how could a first century Jew, who knew all about the exile first of Israel, then of Judah, and later oppression under Roman rule, think anything else? Of course Paul speaks of 'the curse of the law'. It was historical fact.