Paul's Use and Interpretation of a Justification Tradition in Galatians 2.15-21

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In Gal. 2.15-21, which is probably Paul's first attempt to articulate a theology of justification (dikaiou=sqai, dikaiosu&nh), he takes as his point of departure a Jewish-Christian justification tradition that he cites in v. 16a (see pdf for characters). This tradition (or formula) represents common theological ground between him, Cephas, and the new preachers in Galatia. In the remainder of v. 16 Paul adopts without change and for the sake of argument the basic referential meanings of three key terms found in the cited tradition, namely, the verb dikaiou=sqai and the phrases (see pdf for characters) and (see pdf for characters). His sole concern in v. 16 is to 'dissociate' justification, understood by the formula to be a future and a forensic event, from the former and to 'associate' it exclusively with the latter. This radical theological move sets the stage in the closing verses of the passage (vv. 19-21) for a new, not yet fully articulated apocalyptic understanding of justification as God's rectifying power in the present. © 2005, Sage Publications. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-216
JournalJournal for the Study of the New Testament
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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