2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Hedging the Thorny Issues,
This review is from: Paul and the Law: Keeping the Commandments of God (New Studies in Biblical Theology) (Paperback)
If you'd like to see my full review, you can read it here:
spoiledmilks [.] wordpress [.] com/2013/12/29/paul-and-the-law-a-review/
The author Brian Rosner is focused on the BIG picture.
In three swift moves Paul shows his (consistent) thoughts on the law:
1. Repudiation, explicit (ch. 2) and implicit (ch. 3).
2. Replacement of the law with Christ.
3. Re-appropriation as prophecy (ch. 5) and as wisdom (ch. 6).
Paul shows that Christians are not under the law. They do not walk according to the law, but they fulfill the law. The law of Moses is replaced, but this doesn't mean the law is worthless. It still has ongoing value because it is 'for us'; pointing to the Gospel and teaching us wisdom.
**The Chocolate Milk
+ Rosner assembles many of Paul's contradictory sayings and shows that they do connect together revealing Paul did know how to express himself consistently in his letters. Rosner's reasonings makes sense as a whole, and this book will change how you read reading Paul's letters.
+ Rosner floods us with Old Testament meanings that Paul would know. Why? Because as a Pharisaic Jew Paul really knew the law. He knew the language, the phrases, and the idioms of both the Old Testament and the intertestamental (apocryphal) writings. They had an influence on both Paul's life and the lives of other Jews. Jews would read Paul's letters and, instead of "walking according to the Law", they would see a familiar idiom replaced with "walk according to the Spirit" or that we are now "under the law of Christ" (1 Cor. 9:21).
+ Rosner's view of showing the Law to be prophecy and wisdom was terrific. If Christians are no longer under the law, then what do we do with it? Read it and thank God we don't have to live like that anymore? How is that 'profitable'? In this light, the whole Law (read: Gen. 1:1-Deut. 34:12) has application to our lives. The law exemplifies wisdom because it came from God, is rooted in His good character, and mirrors the boundaries He has placed over the world and how to live in them.
**The Spoiled Milk
- Rosner was wordy at times, with his syntax being difficult to understand (though to be expected with the academic NSBT series. It ain't kindergarten - nor should it be). I may be in the minority here, for I've seen other reviewers say Rosner was clear and easy to read. Yes, he usually was clear, and often times easy, but on the same hand, not. However, given such a thorny issue, the fact that I understood anything should say a lot (which would then be a +).
- If there was a weakness in a main point of this study, it would be Rosner's explanation of "the law of the Spirit of life." He shows how it contrasts with "the law of sin and death" in Rom. 8:2, but doesn't go much farther than that. He well explained the "law of Christ," but not so much the same with the "law of faith" and the "law of the Spirit."
There ain't much wrong with this'un.
If you are interested in Paul's thoughts on the Mosaic Law, then this book is for you. Rosner's thoughts are clear and well-played out. There is plenty here to read and to study. It just makes sense. I would love to see some examples of the difficult laws as wisdom, but with this hermeneutic in place I expect to see more books on how the law is to be used as wisdom in our lives, in addition to my own study. This isn't the easiest of reads, but it's definitely not the most difficult. As D. A. Carson said, "This is a book to read slowly...a book to ponder" (p. 12, Series Preface). Enjoy.
[Many thanks to IVP UK for providing a review copy of this book. I was not required to provide a positive review in exchange for this book].