Remonstration of the day
Arguably it makes little sense to qualify a postulated Pauline covenantal nomism on the basis of certain variety in the second Temple literature (cf. so-called variegated nomism) if it can be shown that:
- the evidence paints a typical – even if not uniform – covenantal nomist picture of second Temple Judaism
- the texts Paul typically drew upon can be better categorised as covenantal nomist.
- a covenantal backdrop to Paul is important*
On a) Has not Sanders already made the point? b) their shape and major themes (e.g. deliverance from Egypt before Sinai) would suggest so and c) is, I think, virtually certain. And the old sleight of hand, playing 'creation' against 'covenant' (in Paul or in second Temple texts), is a bizarre mistake.
However, Paul could of course develop new worlds; he was not bound to a second Temple Jewish covenantal nomism. So some may want to extract Paul from his context in an effort to save confessional face. But would this tactic be as readily employed for other areas of Paul's theology? For example, surely all conservatives would want to (correctly) emphasise Jewish modes of thinking when it comes to elucidating his Christology over against the mistakes of the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule...
* This point needs to be developed, of course, but hey ho - this is only a blog post.