Douglas A. Campbell, "Covenant or Contract in the Interpretation of Paul," Participatio Supplemental Volume 3, "A Theological Tribute to James B. Torrance" (2014): 182-200.
Campbell, Douglas A. "Covenant or Contract in the Interpretation of Paul." Participatio Supplemental Volume 3, "A Theological Tribute to James B. Torrance" (2014): 182-200.
Covenant or Contract in the Interpretation of Paul
Reprinted as #2016-DAC-1.
A number of key debates concerning Paul’s interpretation began in or just before the 1980s: queries about unnecessarily introverted “Lutheran” accounts of his gospel (Stendahl); about his “legalistic” portrayal of Jews (Sanders); that two rather different notions of salvation were detectable: justification and participation (Wrede); that he spoke not infrequently of (the) faith of, rather than faith in Jesus Christ (Hays); and that he wrote all his letters including Romans to deal with specific circumstances (Beker; Donfried). Much of the confusion here can be eliminated, however, when it is recognized that scholars are struggling in all these debates with the difference between a fundamentally covenantal as against a contractual account of salvation (J. B. Torrance), and Paul is then reread in consistently covenantal terms. This last possibility might look unlikely. However, it is possible that scholars raised in a contractual culture unwittingly project this view into Paul’s interpretation. Moreover, without grasping the distinction between a contract and a covenant clearly, which we learn from Torrance, exegetes will not even be able to evaluate these possibilities lucidly.