When Paul used the Greek word nomos, he almost always meant the Mosaic Law, or the Torah. Indeed, it is safe to assume that in Paul’s letters nomos refers to the Law (with a capital L) unless there are reasons to think otherwise (see Romans 3:27, 7:21). Therefore, Paul’s criticisms of the nomos are directed toward the Mosaic Law (at least the misunderstanding and misuse of it), not toward law in general. For a good survey, see D. Moo, “Paul and the Law in the Last Ten Years,” Scottish Journal of Theology 40 (1987), pp. 287–307.



Martin Hengel, The Pre-Christian Paul (Philadelphia: Trinity Press International, 1991).


Compare H. Maccoby, The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity (New York: Harper & Row, 1986).


Compare Alan F. Segal, Paul the Convert: The Apostolate and Apostasy of Saul the Pharisee (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1990).


Krister Stendahl, Paul Among Jews and Gentiles (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1976).


See Francis Watson, Paul, Judaism and the Gentiles: A Sociological Approach (Cambridge-London-New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1986).


As Watson sees it, in the pertinent texts of Galatians and Philippians, Paul was arguing the case for viewing the Church as a sect outside Judaism. In Romans, one of Paul’s goals was to persuade Jewish Christians to recognize the legitimacy of the gentile-Christian congregation and to join with it in worship. This action, on the part of Jewish Christians, would inevitably mean a final separation for them also from the synagogue.


Lloyd Gaston, Paul and the Torah (Vancouver: Univ. of British Columbia Press, 1987).


Gaston, Paul and the Torah, p. 23.


E.P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977). For a critique, see Jacob Neusner, “Comparing Judaisms,” History of Religions 18 (1978), pp. 117–191.


This is especially true in Romans.


Gaston, Paul and the Torah, p. 25.


Heikki Räisänen, Paul and the Law, 2nd ed. (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 1987).


Hans Hübner, Law in Paul’s Thought (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1984).


Gager, The Origins of Anti-Semitism (New York-Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1983); Gaston, Paul and the Torah; Mussner, Tractate on the Jews (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984); Stendahl, Paul Among Jews and Gentiles; and van Buren, A Theology of the Jewish-Christian Reality (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1980, 1983, 1988).