Skip to main content

Getting the Short End of the Stick

Below are three quotes. Who wrote each of the following?

Commenting on Galatians 4:21-31
However, the free woman Sarah, who bore the free son, signifies the grace of the New Testament that begot the Christian people who are liberated in their baptism not only from original and actual sins but from every form of legal servitude. This is the inheritance of Christ, the homeland of Christ that they will inherit.
On the same passage:
This people was born through the promise because God mercifully promised to save them through faith. It was through the promise, therefore, because this people did not serve God out of any desire for fleshly things, which are visible, but rather out of an affection for spiritual things, which are invisible. They trust that they will obtain these things based upon God's promise alone.
Commenting on Galatians 2:16
In short, there is no way that one can be justified except through the faith of Christ Jesus, referring to the faith by which one believes in Christ...The apostle does not say that by faith good works are thereby made meaningless, for God renders to each person according to that person's works. Rather it is because works proceed from grace - not grace from works. Faith working through love does nothing unless the love of God is poured into us through the Holy Spirit. Nor does faith abide in us unless God bestows it. Paul says that we are to be justified by faith because faith comes first. It is from this that the rest of these are to be accomplished.
Again, who wrote each of these?

The first is by Haimo of Auxerre, the second by Bruno the Carthusian, and the last by Peter Lombard. What do they all have in common? They were all Medieval Catholic theologians. Just like the New Perspective on Paul helped bring some corrective to the ways we understood Judaism, I wonder if we need a New Perspective on Medieval Catholicism.

I haven't read a ton of Medieval Catholic Theology but reading the Galatians commentary put together by Ian Christopher Levy in the Bible in Medieval Tradition series makes me wonder if we're really describing them accurately. In particular from New Perspective advocates, you'll hear something along these lines, "the Judaism of Paul's day wasn't a legalistic works righteousness religion where the Jews believed they were earning their acceptance before God. Luther was just projecting the Medieval Catholic church backwards into first century Judaism."

If you just listen to the way Medieval Catholicism is described by some NT scholars you could very easily get the impression that there was little room for grace. Quotes like the above make me think that that's probably not true. Just like we shouldn't unfairly beat up on first century Judaism to elevate our brand of Christianity, we should also avoid the same with Medieval Catholicism. I'm not saying that there weren't legalistic elements in Medieval Catholic teaching (I haven't read enough of it to fairly answer that), but that we need to be fair.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Commentary Series Overview

When I write commentary reviews, one of my main goals is to assess how well the commentator hit the intended audience of the commentary and utilized the format of the commentary. This often necessitates cluttering up the post discussing issues of format. To eliminate that, I thought that I would make some general remarks about the format and audience of each of the series that appear in my reviews. Terms like liberal, conservative, etc. are not used pejoratively but simply as descriptors. Many of you are familiar with Jeremy Pierce's commentary series overview. If you don't see a particular series covered here, check out his post to see if it's reviewed there. I am making no attempt at covering every series, just the series that I use. Additionally, new series (such as the NCCS) have been started in the five years since he wrote his very helpful guide, so I thought that it might not be completely out of order to have another person tackle commentary series overviews. This…

Paul's Argument in Galatians 3:15-29

15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! Fo…

Commentary Review: Daniel

In my opinion, Daniel is not the best covered Old Testament book as far as commentaries go. This isn't an uncommon phenomenon among Old Testament books. Though I've looked at them, I'm not going to review some of the older Evangelical Daniel commentaries (like e.g., Baldwin). They don't provide much that you can't get in either Longman or Lucas. If you're unfamiliar with the series that one or more of these commentaries are in check out my commentary series overview.

It was a very close call but my favorite commentary on Daniel is Goldingay's. While there were a few places where I disagreed with his interpretation, I found the commentary to be exemplary. If you're going to teach Daniel, especially the apocalyptic portions, you need a commentary that provides you with a lot of background material. Goldingay, while not as broad as Collins, certainly provides you with quite a bit. His exploration of the background to the apocalyptic symbolism is very helpfu…