Review of Campbell’s Deliverance PART 11
A summary review PART 11
of Campbell, Douglas A. The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2009
The following chapters will examine various problems with the contractual soteriology of JT i.e. the system of soteriology involved in conventional readings of Romans 1-4 (remember: it is not a description of anybody's soteriology in toto, but an elaboration of the theoretical commitments of the conventional, non-rhetorical, reading of these chapters, one which does indeed have a more extensive grip on popular theologies)
Chapter two carefully and fairly (i.e. he always engages with the best counter arguments) examines the ways in which JT ‘breaks down internally, that is, in strictly theoretical terms’ (37). DC proposes that the following seven points of internal tension or incoherence must be admitted:
3) Law. ‘Justification theory asserts two sets of law within one soteriology committed to a just God and perfect obedience – a dual system that is incoherent in terms of both content and desert’ (41). Ask yourself, can the details of Jewish law be discerned from the cosmos, such as the prohibition on cutting forelocks (Deut. 14:1)? Hardly. So, one must thus argue that Mosaic law is distinguishable, at some level, from natural law. Pagans must only abide by natural law for JT to function coherently. However, this would mean, if the Jewish law does truly represent God’s ethical concerns, that natural law is inadequate, that God considers some things important for Jews but not for pagans – which ultimately leads to a law which is, in terms of content, incoherent. And if two people groups have different divine demands to uphold for salvation (the Jews get the harder, longer set!), then this seems unfair in terms of desert. Interestingly, this ties into tactics which problematically distinguish, in a priori fashion, between ‘ceremonial’ and ‘moral’ law (DC demonstrates why this hermeneutical sleight of hand fails, with due recognition of Klaus Berger’s defence, and Heikki Räisänen’s pointed critique in his Paul and the Law).
The next two posts complete DC's overview of Justification Theory's internal difficulties
Labels: Review of Deliverance of God