Review Article: “ The Deliverance Of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading Of Justification In Paul” By Douglas A. Campbell -- By: Bruce Clark
TynBull 64:1 (2013) p. 55
Review Article: “
The Deliverance Of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading Of Justification In Paul” By Douglas A. Campbell
Campbell launches a sustained attack against traditional theological conceptions of justification and aims to free Romans 1-4 (on which these conceptions seemingly rest) from a widespread rationalistic, contractual, individualistic (mis)reading, which gains its plausibility only by the modernistic theological superstructure forced upon it. Campbell then presents an in-depth re-reading of Romans 1-4 (as well as parts of chs. 9-11, Gal. 2-3, Phil. 3), in which Paul engages in a highly complex, ‘subtle’ polemic, creatively employing ‘speech-in-character’ as a means of subverting a Jewish Christian ‘Teacher’ whose visit to Rome threatens to undermine the Roman Christians’ assurance of salvation. Campbell argues that justification is participatory and liberative: Christ’s death and resurrection constitute the ‘righteousness/deliverance of God’, by which he justifies, or delivers, an enslaved humanity from the power of sin. This article concentrates primarily on Campbell’s own exegesis, concluding that, while important aspects of Campbell’s critique of both “justification theory” and traditional readings of Romans 1-4 must be carefully considered, his own exegesis is not only ingenious, asking too much of Paul and the letter’s auditors, but altogether untenable at key points.
If one desires to have one’s articulation of justification in Paul put to the test, The Deliverance of God is the book to read.1 Campbell surveys
TynBull 64:1 (2013) p. 56
the battle—his controlling metaphor—between, on the one hand, New Perspective advocates and other revisionist readings of Paul, and, on the other, recent defenders of traditional readings of justification, and employs critiques from each side to cripple the other (while adding his own). Returning to Romans 1-4, he begins the exegetical task afresh, though undoubtedly inspired by the works of K. Barth, J. Torrance, K. Stendahl, and S. Stowers. After identifying parts of the text as logically or theologically incoherent, he then restores coherence by (1) placing those parts in the mouth of an opposing ‘Teacher’ (who previously troubled Galatia and Antioch, originating in Jerusalem) and then by (2) viewi...
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