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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Righteousness of God: A Lexical Examination of the Covenant-Faithfulness Interpretation
Irons, Charles

Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2015 pp. xxiii + 444. €89.00

Series Information
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, 2/386


Description: Advocates of the New Perspective on Paul appeal to the view that "righteousness" in biblical theology is a Verhältnisbegriff (relational concept). This is the view that "righteousness" does not mean conformity to a norm, nor is it an essentially legal concept; rather, "righteousness" denotes the fulfillment of the demands of a relationship, since the relationship itself is the norm. This relational interpretation of "righteousness" was first put forward by Hermann Cremer in 1899 and exercised a profound influence in biblical scholarship throughout the 20th century. It lies at the root of the New Perspective claim that "the righteousness of God" in Paul is a cipher for God's saving faithfulness to his covenant, a view defended by N. T. Wright, among others. Charles Lee Irons provides a critical examination of Cremer's chief arguments for the relational, covenant-faithfulness interpretation. The author argues instead for the view that "the righteousness of God" in Rom 1:17; 3:21-22; 10:3; 2 Cor 5:21; and Phil 3:9 is the status of righteousness that comes from God as a gift.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, Literature, Methods, Linguistics, Philology

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Review by Robert L. Foster
Published 3/2/2017
Citation: Robert L. Foster, review of Charles Irons, The Righteousness of God: A Lexical Examination of the Covenant-Faithfulness Interpretation, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2017).


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