The Apostle Paul and the ‘Works of the Law’

A great emphasis in the protestant reformation was the doctrinal formulation of “justification by faith alone,” which many asserted to be “the doctrine upon which the Church stands or falls” (Martin Luther: “articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae”).

While this was in and of itself a complete novelty (and devoid of Patristic warrant) — supposedly being based upon the Scriptures alone — it is quite easy to demonstrate that not only is this concept foreign to the Scriptures but is also foreign to the first century Judean mindset (not to mention the Christian). To be plain, Luther and other reformers were reading their contemporary disagreements with the mainstream Latin church into the words of St Paul.

A Brief Introduction to Second Temple Judaism

When considering the Judaism of the period prior to that of the advent of Jesus Christ (and the development of the new covenant Church), it makes sense to begin with the period of the exiles and the time of the second temple. This period of Judaism, which scholars aptly label “second temple Judaism,” is the Judaism that developed across various “sects” and in multiple nations, during the Jewish “diaspora.” According to the…