From: Eric Weiss (eweiss@gte.net)
Date: Sat Oct 25 1997 - 15:07:08 EDT

In Bible Review Magazine, October 1997 (current issue), N.T. Wright has
a column (p.16) on Romans where he translate's "God's righteousness" to
mean God's covenant faithfulness. He explains that Romans 3:21-4:25 "is
not simply 'how sinners get saved,' but how God is faithful to his
covenant." The passage "demonstrates that God has now done, in Jesus,
what God promised to Abraham.... (Romans 3:21-22), 'God's righteousness
is displayed apart from the Torah [though Torah and prophets alike bear
witness to it]: God's covenant faithfulness, through the faithfulness of
Jesus the Messiah, for all who have faith.'" [note that PISTIS is being
translated as [Jesus'] "faithfulness" rather than [the believer's]
"faith" or "trust" - but that's another issue!]

I think Hendrikus Boers also seems inclined to this view, or to
translating "the righteousness of God" to mean "God's justice," both in
his book on THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE GENTILES (which I have) and in his
introduction to Wilhelm Egger's book HOW TO READ THE NEW TESTAMENT: AN
don't have, but skimmed through). I think in the latter book Boers
explained that Romans 10:3 should be translated something like, "For
being ignorant of God's justice (or just nature), and seeking to
establish their own, they did not submit to God's justice."

Naturally, this has profound implications, in my mind, to how one
interprets and hence applies Romans. I had always interpreted "the
righteousness of God" to mean something like "the way God makes people
righteous or right with Him" as opposed to a description of God's just
and righteous nature or dealings, though in some verses in Romans both
are apparently meant (e.g., 3:26). I still feel to translate it this way
is more consistent throughout the book than to consistently translate it
as Wright and Boers suggest, but these men are top-notch scholars and I
am nowhere near that, so I'm willing to shift my paradigm.

Is Wright's/Boers' interpretation of QEOU DIKAIOSUNH or DIKAIOSUNH QEOU
an indicator of a trend in NT scholarship, or has this been a majority
or plurality view all along? Does the word order or the presence or lack
of the definite article in this phrase give a clue as to how to
translate it (i.e., "God's justice/uprightness" vs. "the way God makes
people righteous") - or is context the only clue - or is one's
theological predisposition the determining factor? Any clues from
Classical Greek or Rabbinical literature?

"Eric S. Weiss"

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:35 EDT