Item description for Paul, Moses, and the History of Israel: The Letter/Spirit Contrast and the Argument from Scripture in 2 Corinthians 3 (Paternoster Biblical Monographs) by Scott J. Hafemann...
Second Corinthians has long been recognized as one of the most difficult texts for understanding Paul's apostolic self-conception, his view of the law in relationship to the gospel, and his distinctively "Christian" use of the Old Testament. In this work, Scott Hafemann offers a detailed exegetical and "traditionsgeschichtliche" study of Paul's argument in 2 Corinthians 3 against the backdrop of the call of Moses and the prophets on the one hand, and in view of the "Second Giving of the Law" from Exodus 32" 34 and the ensuing history of Israel on the other. Against this backdrop, Hafemann proposes that Paul understood himself to have been called "like Moses, "albeit with a ministry"unlike that of Moses" because of the distinctive new covenant context of his apostolic ministry. The author puts forth the provocative thesis that within this redemptive-historical context the letter/Spirit contrast is not to be seen as a contrast between the law and the gospel "per se," but between the law itself with and without the power of the Spirit, the former of which is essential to Paul's gospel ministry. Hafemann argues that Paul supported this position on the basis of a careful and contextual interpretation of Exodus 32" 34, Jeremiah 31, and the canonical history of Israel, which remained true to their original intention. In conclusion, the significance of Paul's argument from Scripture in 2 Corinthians 3 for understanding Paul's view of the Law, the relationship between Israel and the Church, and his OT hermeneutic is outlined. This work breaks new ground in offering a thorough study of the contours of Paul's thought concerning the nature and defense of his apostolic ministry in view of theministry of Moses, the Sinai covenant, and the history of Israel. It also interacts extensively with the secondary literature in the field.
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Scott J. Hafemann is currently the Mary F. Rockefeller Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He also taught for nine years at Wheaton College. He has written numerous books and articles.
Scott J. Hafemann has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Paul, Moses, and the History of Israel: The Letter/Spirit Contrast and the Argument from Scripture in 2 Corinthians 3 (Paternoster Biblical Monographs)?
Interesting, but dry and dangerous Apr 19, 2005
This book is an interesting and original way of looking at Paul's view of the Law, Israel, and Redemption through 2 Corinthians 3. Hafemann's thesis is that contrary to the traditional Protestant understanding of 2 Cor. 3 or the "law/grace" dichotomy, Paul wrote 2 Cor. 3 to tell the Corinthians that Israel could not obey the Mosaic Law and obtain salvation because their hearts were "veiled" or hardened. According to Hafemann, Paul did not oppose the Law, but opposed the Law without the Spirit. The reason why many Israelites throughout history were unregenerate is because they lack the Spirit to obey the law as it was meant to be. Many reject Christ and stumble because they want to pursue righteousness through the Law outside of Christ. However, the New Covenant doesn't go against the Law or change it, but provides the Spirit to New Covenant believers so that they can fulfill the demands of the Law and be saved on the Last Judgment. The practical implications of the author's thesis is alarming. This view downgrades the sacrificial work of Christ and undermines justification by faith alone. It is not surprising that Hafemann follows suit with his predecessor Peter Stuhlmacher. Stuhlmacher (who was taught by E. Kasemann) follows the "forensic/transformative" view of righteousness (as does Hafemann), rather than the purely forensic view held by Luther, Calvin and the Reformers. The view held by Kasemann, Stuhlmacher, and Hafemann is a compromise between traditional Protestant and Roman Catholic soteriology. This is very dangerous and can undermine the Reformation. In many places throughout the book, Hafemann does indeed say that we must obey the Law in order to be saved on the Last Judgment. Traditional Protestants say that we are already justified in Christ and that our stand at the Last Judgment is for that truth to be ratified apart from our works (however, works do define what degree of glory we will possess in the future kingdom as in 1 Cor. 3:10-15). Unfortunately, many within the "Protestant/Evangelical" tradition have been snared into this new view on Paul and justification. Recent works by Fuller and Garlington reveal where modern evangelicals are plummeting towards. Sola Fide is losing out these days because of these new trends. Also, Hafemann's work is hard to read. Many people will have to pay close attention to every word the author uses to understand what he is trying to say. This book is more geared towards seminarians doing their doctoral thesis. Finally, I would also suggest that people learn Biblical Greek and modern German before reading this book.
Highly Insightful! Feb 25, 2001
Scott Hafemann has done an excellent job in presenting a correct understanding of the Spirit/letter contrast in 2 Corinthians 3. The conclusion that he reaches has implications for a whole understanding of the Old Testament and the its relation to the New Testament. The essential message is this... The law was not inherently "bad" or oppression to the people of Israel. The problem resided with the people themselves. Only a remnant were true followers of Yahweh. For this faithful remnant, who had the Spirit operating in their lives, the law was good (cf. Psalm 119, et al). But for those without the Spirit (the majority of Israel), the law was simply "letter", and a burden. They did not want to keep it, nor could they. Seeing this helps us to understand both "good" and "bad" statements about the law in the NT writings.