Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The righteousness of God

The phrase dikaiosune theou (the righteousness of God) is quite an important phrase in Paul's letters and always a fun one to argue over the meaning of.

It is my view that what Paul means by the phrase is roughly "what God (as opposed to anyone else) considers righteousness to consist of" or, to say it another way, "godly righteousness" or, to say it another way again, "righteousness according to God". I was pleased to see Brondos in Paul on the Cross concurs with me - thumbs up to him. He takes it to mean:
"the righteous way of life commanded by God and in accordance with his will." (pg 85)
The other two main popular views are of course:
  1. The Reformation view and Catholic view that it refers to "righteousness from God" either imputed or imparted.
  2. The Kasemann-Wright view that it refers to something like "God's transformative power working in the world to put it to rights"
This is one of those cases where the evidence is pretty scanty and it's mostly a case of "any of them could be right, which do I like best?". Which view any given person holds is therefore probably a helpful indicator of the rest of their theology.

NT Wright in his book What Saint Paul Really Said gives a helpful table on the subject on pg 101:

In that table, my view and Brondos' is B2, while the traditional Protestant & Catholic views are B1 and the Kasemann-Wright view is A1&A2.



Blogger Lars said...

As usual, always interesting to read your blog Andrew...most of the time you take on questions that interests me a lot...


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