Did Jerome create the “New Perspective on Paul”?

toledomudhen

Puritan Board Freshman
I used to have a friend who was one of the leading NPP fan boys. My vague understanding is that the new perspective on Paul means that we are justified not by keeping the moral law but by keeping the ceremonial law. I don’t know if I have this correct. However, I was reminded of this while I was reading Martin Luther‘s Bondage of the Will.
9C71572D-9BDE-4474-ACC4-E3B70D533DEC.jpeg
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I used to have a friend who was one of the leading NPP fan boys. My vague understanding is that the new perspective on Paul means that we are justified not by keeping the moral law but by keeping the ceremonial law. I don’t know if I have this correct. However, I was reminded of this while I was reading Martin Luther‘s Bondage of the Will.
View attachment 9484
My understanding of NPP is that the anti law statements of Paul are not about works righteousness but about ethnic divisions, ceremonial laws excluding gentiles. Those are no longer in force. Instead we have an initial justification by faith but a final justification by works. Its basically semi-palagianism. I don't know what Jerome has to do with it but Jordan Cooper, lutheran, wrote a book on sola fide in the early church fathers (don't know the name but if you Google him you will find it). I think Jerome is in it.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I don't know a ton about who may be started to perpetuate it very earlier but Origen is a culprit. Though I do think Jerome probably enshrined it. I think it was to avoid antinomianism.
A new book out believes it started in the 2nd Century. However a critical review by Robert Cara of RTS shows the evidence is arbitrary at best and largely ignores what is dubbed as the 'Deutero Pauline' corpus.
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
According to Calvin (Commentary on Romans 3:20), the idea that Paul's criticism of the law is limited to its ceremonies originates with some of the church fathers:
It is a matter of doubt, even among the learned, what the works of the law mean. Some extend them to the observance of the whole law, while others confine them to the ceremonies alone. The addition of the word law induced Chrysostom, Origen,and Jerome to assent to the latter opinion; for they thought that there is a peculiar intimation in this appendage, that the expression should not be understood as including all works
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
I used to have a friend who was one of the leading NPP fan boys. My vague understanding is that the new perspective on Paul means that we are justified not by keeping the moral law but by keeping the ceremonial law. I don’t know if I have this correct. However, I was reminded of this while I was reading Martin Luther‘s Bondage of the Will.
View attachment 9484
I think Luther is mistaken. Jerome says on Galatians 2 (PL vol. 26, p. 343) that we are not saved by "the old law", but by faith, which he states is imputed (in clearer terms than Augustine, in my opinion). The novelty of Roman Catholicism is to state that Paul excludes salvation by the old law (Aquinas), or by the ceremonial law (Denis, if memory serves) because we must be saved by the "new law" and merits (all of their writers). Jerome differs from reformation exegesis in that the reformers (Luther, Melancthon, Calvin, etc) said that "the law" in Paul means "any law" or "the moral law", but without that latter part introducing justification by "a new law", Jerome's views are not really that problematic. It only becomes so in the context of RC ideas about how justification should be gained.
Simply on the level of exegesis, when Paul says "the law" he is almost always talking about Jews, including in Galatians; the gentiles, according to him, are "those without the law". So unless he is using "law" in multiple, equivocal senses, it is likely he does mean the law of Moses, as Jerome took it. That said, Paul's statements certainly do, in their force, exclude all other kinds of law from justification, since he also opposes works to grace, and since the law of Moses is more perfect than any gentile law, so if it could not saved, by an argument from the greater to the lesser, other laws are even less capable of giving salvation.
All that to say, I don't really have a problem with Jerome's exegesis here. Among the Fathers, he is one of the better exegetes. Augustine's Galatians and Romans commentaries are a confused mess by comparison.
 
Top