Robin D. Mattison is a retired professor of New Testament at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.
Response to “Might the Lutheran Paul Aim to Keep the Law?” by Jon C. Olson
December 2014: Third Use of the Law (Volume 14 Issue 11)
Olson’s concern with the last twenty-five years of critical work on Paul’s identity as a Christ-believing hellenistic, diasporan Jew is its potential to shift the Lutheran paradigm of the proper boundaries of Christian praxis for Jews. Olson notes that this desire was expressed in the papers of the 2014 Helsinki consultation on “Continuity in the Body of the Messiah”. Christ-believing Jews wish “to express election and covenant-based Torah practice in the church” as part of their Christian witnesss. Such commitment to God’s earlier and continuing covenant is not foreign to Paul’s thinking about Jews, “… to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the worship and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah (Rom 9:4-5)”. Thus, Mattison explores the question of would or could the Pharisaic, diasporan Paul have kept the Law while an apostle to the Gentiles? What would be the criterion for keeping the Law?