The pattern is this: God has chosen Israel and Israel has accepted the election. In his role as King, God gave Israel commandments which they are to obey as best they can. Obedience is rewarded and disobedience punished. In case of failure to obey, however, man has recourse to divinely ordained means of atonement, in all of which repentance is required. As long as he maintains his desire to stay in the covenant, he has a share in God's covenantal promises, including life in the world to come. the intention and effort to be obedient constitute the condition for remaining in the covenant, but they do not earn it.1

Christian thinking has a tendency to regard the law of the "old" covenant as irrelevant because of the grace of God which is revealed in the New Testament. Popular Christian theology, especially that of the dispensationalists, often seemingly maintains that the divine character was transformed from a God of legalism and law in the Old Testament, into the God of grace and love in the New. The Old Testament is characterized as a book which endorses legalism in order to bring each individual to faith. Moreover Judaism of the time of Jesus is described as a works-righteousness religion where every individual is required to earn his or her own salvation through personal merit and good deeds. This fundamental misunderstanding of early Jewish thought and the relationship between the Old Testament and the faith of the early church has so fouled the popular perception of Paul, that to many what is true about Paul's opinion of the purpose of the law and faith in Jesus sounds like heresy.

Law and Grace in the Bible

The God of the Old Testament has not undergone a strange metamorphosis like a schizophrenic patient revealing different patterns of behavior. We must recognize that the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New. He is described as being full of grace and mercy in both testaments. Even when Moses received the Torah on Mt. Sinai, the Bible says, "The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, 'The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love..." (Exodus 34:6f.). Here in the heart of the law, on Mt. Sinai itself, the Lord is described in terms of mercy and grace. In fact, this is not the only place in the Hebrew Bible where mercy and grace are attributed to the LORD. The same description appears in many other Old Testament passages. Consider for example the words of Psalm 103:8, "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love." The Psalmist quite probably is hinting at Exodus 34:6 because he knew that his hearers would be acquainted with this verse and the grace message flowing through the words of Torah. The LORD of Israel loves his people and shows them compassion. The Jewish mind set of the Hebrew authors of the Bible was dominated by the concept of divine mercy.

While the grace of God is apparent in the Hebrew Scriptures, one cannot escape the warnings of future recompense and judgment which appear in the New Testament. Just as the Old Testament is not exclusively a book of retribution and judgment, the New Testament is not exclusively a book of mercy and grace. Numerous warnings of the coming wrath of God appear in the New Testament. Sometimes because of the way Christian teachers have spoken, we do not expect judgment for wrong in the New Testament and grace in the Torah. In the words of Jesus, however, there are more references to the fires of eternal punishment than in any other part of sacred scripture. The book of Revelation describes the "lake of fire." This graphic image certainly presents a strong warning. The God who is described in both testaments, is the Lord of creation to whom every human being owes obedience. Each individual is responsible to God for his or her actions. According to the apostle Paul, every person must give an account before the judgment seat (Romans 14:10).

Grace in Judaism

Not only is the Old Testament deemed legalistic but also the mainstream of Judaism from the time of Jesus. The misrepresentation of the Torah as preaching a "save yourself by your own good works gospel" contributes to a completely distorted view of Jewish faith during the period of the New Testament. Late Second Temple Judaism, the Judaism during the time of Jesus, was not a salvation by works religion! Most Jewish teachers belonging to Pharisaic and later rabbinic Judaism emphasized God's goodness and willingness to accept all sinners who repent. After a careful and in depth examination of Jewish thought from the period, E.P. Sanders concludes authoritatively:

The theme of mercy - whether put in terms of God's mercy in electing Israel, God's mercy in accepting repentant sinners (repentance does not earn a reward, but is responded to by God in mercy), or God's 'rewarding' the righteous because of his mercy - serves to assure that election and ultimately salvation cannot be earned, but depend on God's grace. One can never be righteous enough to be worthy in God's sight of the ultimate gifts, which depend only on his mercy.2

The message of divine compassion is strong in the minds of the Jewish religious teachers from the time of the New Testament. Sanders makes it clear by his observation, "...salvation cannot be earned, but depend[s] on God's grace."3 Indeed grace is a salient feature of Jewish theology. For instance, the Jewish sage Joshua ben Sira, exhorts his listeners with the message, "Or who ever called upon Him and was overlooked? For the Lord is compassionate and merciful; he forgives sins and saves in time of affliction" (Sirach 2:10-11). This Jewish source was written long before the birth of Jesus. Ben Sira emphasizes divine mercy and God's willingness to forgive sins. The religious leaders of the Jewish people within the circles of the Pharisees and their successors among the rabbis pushed the message of grace beyond Old Testament borders. Like Jesus and Paul, they developed the concept of divine mercy. The Jewish teacher who lived on the Israeli coast in the city of Caesarea, Rabbi Abbahu, emphasized the continuing Jewish tradition that God loves and receives sinners who repent. Like Joshua ben Sira from an earlier time, according to R. Abbahu, God is ready to receive repentant sinners and even gives them a position of preference.

God's Grace for Sinners

by the completely righteous, for it is written, "Peace, peace, to him that is far off, and to him that is near" (Isaiah 57:19), thus, first he that is "far off," then he that is "near."4

The rabbis and sages before them further cultivated the Old Testament idea of mercy and promoted the significance of divine compassion. In fact the rabbis believed that a person couldattain the future life in a moment of true repentance. God's mercy will be given to the sinner.

When we Christians misconstrue these elements of Jewish theology from both the Old Testament and Second Temple Judaism, we fail to grasp Paul's intent. What did Paul want? Did he desire to repudiate the law? Whom was he confronting with his argument of righteousness through faith in Christ? In this brief discussion it is impossible to deal adequately with all the problems surrounding these issues, but we will examine Paul's words in Romans and Galatians in order to shed light upon these penetrating questions. As a start, it is helpful to observe Luke's description of the crisis which Paul, Barnabas and later the members of the Jerusalem council addressed when a group of teachers from Judea began preaching to the non-Jews that without circumcision there is no salvation: "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved" (Acts 15:1). Is circumcision a prerequisite of salvation for the Gentiles? This pressing question which was legal or halachic in nature dominated the discussion of the relationship between Jews and non-Jews in the community of faith.5 Should the Gentiles convert to Judaism before they are accepted as followers of Jesus and received into the congregation?

Concerning the issue of salvation, Paul was adamant that the observance of the law was not the means by which the individual could become righteous. The redemptive act of Jesus' suffering provides the way of salvation. But does this mean that the law serves no good purpose? Paul maintained that Torah provides an indispensable guide for a moral life which Christians must follow. One is not saved by observance of the law and non Jews are not required to convert to Judaism in order to be good Christians. In Jewish thought, all of the commandments of Torah are required of Israel but the Gentiles are responsible only for its moral demands which are epitomized in the covenant with Noah and his children. This is basically the position endorsed by the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:28-29).5 Gentiles who have accepted the message of Jesus and want to join the fellowship of the community will be responsible for this moral standard outlined in the Noachic covenant but they do not have to be circumcised and assume Israel's entire covenantal responsibilities.7

But does this mean that believers should continue in sin in order to enjoy the over abundance of God's grace? Paul replies with an emphatic "no" (Rom. 6:1). The law is good (Rom. 7:12). The problem is that people have difficulty obeying it. Jesus did not cancel the law and the preaching of faith does not destroy its message (Rom. 3:31). Should murders and adulteries be permitted in a mind set opposed to Torah? Is that what Paul means by freedom from the law? By no means - Paul demanded a high moral standard of all his congregations. Even in Galatians, he solemnly warns,

Works of the Flesh not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh... Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealously, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.8

Like other Jewish teachers, Paul desired conduct in harmony with the law. Paul the Jewish apostle to the Gentiles teaches, "The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,' and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"9 Similar summaries of the law are attributed to the eminent teacher Hillel as well as to the famous R. Akiva.10 Rabban Gamaliel, the grandson of Hillel would have filled his pupil Paul with the teachings of Judaism. This law of love from Lev. 19:18 was considered a summary of the whole Torah. It embodied all the commandments. If one upholds this command, one will observe the rest.

Paul teaches that faith enables a person to attain the righteousness of God and that there is no tension between it and the law. The term faith, is better understood in certain contexts as faithfulness, because the concept includes so much more than the English words belief or trust. Righteousness involves the redemptive work of God in the salvation process and in the renewed lives of the faithful. It is so much more dynamic and forceful than the motionless idea that one is declared righteous at a fixed time. Righteousness is rooted in Torah. It is active and powerful to bring about a transformation of conduct. For Paul, faith, righteousness and Torah go together. With what seems to be great enthusiasm he argues, "Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law" (Rom. 3:31). After stating his case firmly, Paul launches into a deep discussion about the righteousness of Abraham which is based upon faith (Romans 4). Paul's interpretation of Gen. 15:6, "Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness," is in the form of a Jewish midrash, a distinct type of commentary on Scripture. Paul uses midrash here in order to penetrate the deeper meaning of righteousness in the Scripture. Paul is not alone in interpreting righteousness with this sense.

The famous Jewish interpreter Rashi also understood the expression "righteousness" to denote merit or benefit. In the Mekilta, an early midrashic commentary on the book of Exodus, we discover that Abraham's faith possessed great significance for the rabbis. When dealing with the verse, "...they [the people of Israel] believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses" (Ex. 14:31), the rabbis extol the importance of vibrant faith. Abraham inherited the world to come because of his faith. The rabbis proclaim,

Faith's Rewards

Great indeed is faith before Him who spoke and the world came into being. For as a reward for the faith with which Israel believed in God the Holy Spirit rested upon them...And so also you find that our father Abraham inherited both this world and the world beyond only as a reward for the faith with which he believed, as it is said: 'And he believed in the Lord," etc. (Gen. 15:6).11

The merit of the fathers is a powerful concept in Jewish thought. Here the concept of the merit of the fathers is connected to faith and righteousness. In many ways, it is the example of the fathers that shows others the path to follow. The rabbis viewed Abraham's faith as his benefit and his future reward. His faith in God produced obedience. Abraham actively believed the Lord and followed him. It was credited to him as righteousness. Like the rabbis, Paul employed a similar motif when he preached about Abraham's faith as producing divine favor.

Faith and Righteousness in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Fascinatingly, in the Dead Sea Scrolls a latent reference to this understanding of righteousness also appears. The entire text with a commentary now has been published by Elisha Qimron and John Strugnell. The meaning of this scroll, "A Summary of the Precepts of the Torah" (MMT), will continue to be debated by scholars in the future. However, the scroll seems to be an epistle from the Dead Sea community to the leader of the Pharisees. The Pharisees or whoever received the epistle, are urged to accept the words of the letter in good faith in order that "it would be counted to them as righteousness."12

Righteousness in the Dead Sea Scrolls

Remember David who was a man of mercy and who was delivered from many troubles and was forgiven. Hence we write to you a summary of the works of the Torah which we consider for your well being and for your people because we have seen your people's cunning and knowledge of the Torah. Understand all these matters. Seek from before him that he will enable you to correct your counsel and to remove from yourself evil thoughts and the counsel of Belial, in order that you may rejoice in the end time by your finding correctness in the summary of our words; and it will be accounted unto you as righteousness in your doing what is right and good before him for your well being and for all Israel.13

The epistle from the Dead Sea Scrolls calls its readers to accept the teachings of the Jewish sect in the wilderness of Judea. If the initial suggestions of the editors of the epistle are correct, the Pharisees are being asked to receive the truth of the Dead Sea community's teachings. When they accept the proper approach to life by embracing the contents of the epistle -- then the righteousness of God will be given to them. The concept of righteousness is linked to salvation and redemption in the end time. The terminology of the sect is striking and very similar to Paul's discussion in Romans and Galatians.14

In another passage from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the community's Bible commentators interpret God's famous answer to the prophet Habakkuk, "but the righteous shall live by his faith" (Hab. 2:4). Their comment on this verse depicts the members of the congregation in terms of their faith in the Teacher of Righteousness and efforts to be obedient to his instruction. They will be saved by faith.15 But their faith is accompanied by works.

Faith in the Teacher of Righteousness

"[But the righteous will live by his faith]" (Hab. 2:4): Its interpretation refers to all those who observe the Torah in the House of Judah. God will deliver them from the House of Judgment because of their work and because of their faith in the Teacher of Righteousness.16

Faith and works are fused together in this Jewish interpretation of Hab. 2:4 from the Dead Sea Sect. The Hebrew epistle MMT from the writings of Qumran discussed above also joins faith and righteousness alluding to Gen. 15:6, "Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him as righteousness." The commentary on Hab. 2:4 focuses on believing the message of the Teacher of righteousness and faithfully following his teachings with action. The members of the Dead Sea Community will be saved from the house of judgment in the end times because of their faith and corresponding actions. Paul's method of Bible interpretation is so similar to the commentaries discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran.17 One thing is certain, the Dead Sea community believed that faith, works of the Torah, and having righteousness accounted to the believer - all fit together in their understanding of the divine purpose. Works of Torah are not viewed as antagonistic to faith. Faith and works are inseparable. In a similar way, Paul urges his hearers to respond in faith like that of Abraham who pioneered the way to righteousness. Pauline theology closely parallels Jewish thought from the first century.

Paul and his Interpreters

The tremendous challenge for us today is to read Paul's letters without being influenced by the multiplicity of opinions of learned men in the past. First and foremost among such men is Martin Luther.18 He more than any other interpreter has erected a stained glass window through which we view Paul and his message. Instead of viewing Paul against the background of first century Judaism, we see him through the eyes of later interpreters who knew little about early Jewish thought. Even today Luther's ideas about Paul continue to circulate widely in Protestant theological discussion. Certainly Luther's influence reaches beyond his time and place in history. But Paul's concerns about Jews and non Jews living together in the community of faith did not trouble Luther. He faced radically different challenges and set other priorities.

Interpreters of Paul must ask the questions that Paul asked before they apply his answers to their own problems or else they may find themselves coupling Paul's answers with the wrong set of questions. Luther developed an ambivalent attitude to the law because of his own struggles which were essentially foreign to New Testament Christianity. For instance, his stance on the epistle of James implies that the Torah canceled faith. He also leaned too far in the opposite direction suggesting that genuine faith canceled Torah. In the end, had Luther had his way, he probably would have opted to drop from the New Testament these five troublesome chapters penned by Jesus' brother James. So uncritical acceptance of Luther's interpretation ultimately leads to questioning the content of the canon itself. While Luther has made significant positive contributions to Christian theology helping many to understand divine grace and human need, his approach to faith and works was radically influenced by his own time. Students of Pauline literature must comprehend first century Judaism apart from later church controversies.

Krister Stendahl has noted the prominence of these teachings in church tradition:

Especially in the Protestant tradition - and particularly among Lutherans - it is Paul's Epistle to the Romans which holds a position of honor, supplying patterns of thought that are lifted into the position of overarching and organizing principles for Pauline material. Paul's presentation of justification by faith...was hammered out by Paul for the very specific and limited purpose of defending the rights of Gentile converts to be full and genuine heirs to the promises of God to Israel. Their rights were based solely on faith in Jesus Christ. This was Paul's very special stance, and he defended it zealously against any compromise..."19

Students of Paul must seek to understand the first century social and religious issues which divided the early Christians. For Paul, justification by faith united Jews and Gentiles in a rich cultural diversity which paved the way for a righteous lifestyle.

Other famous scholarly critics like F.C. Baur have argued that the New Testament developed as a series of debates surrounding a thesis and a corresponding antithesis. Paul's thesis, "salvation through faith without works," was answered by James, with the antithesis, "faith without works is dead." In reality, Paul believed that the fruit of the faith would produce a holy life style. He is very much aware of the activity of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual. James on the other hand never denied the value of faith. He esteemed faith in the life of the believer but emphasized that true faith always produces corresponding actions. Faith without works is no faith. Perhaps the origin of these wanting scholarly approaches to the beginnings of Christianity is rooted in a misunderstanding of Judaism during the time of Jesus. Did Luther understand Paul and his context properly? Has F.C. Baur understood the relationship between Paul and James? Paul's message must be interpreted in its context of a mixed community, comprising Jews and Gentiles, united in their embracing of faith in the one God of Israel and his messiah Jesus of Nazareth. Faith leads to righteousness, in other words, a righteous way of living which is pleasing to God.

In large measure, Paul's use of the word righteousness is the source of the differing interpretations. Luther understood it in the sense of the German word Gerechtigkeit, meaning justification or a position of right standing before God. I believe that this interpretation does not adequately deal with Paul's employment of the term in numerous contexts. In fact, Paul would feel that he had been grossly misunderstood, if the righteousness of God is interpreted to mean only a state of justification. Paul's problem was a believer's problem. How is it possible to experience God's redemption in everyday life? Paul clearly states that the believer is to become a "slave of righteousness" for obedience (Rom 6:17). When the force of Paul's message is grasped, Luther's views become unsatisfactory. His concept is too static. Righteousness is so much more than a state of justification. The life of righteousness is a dynamic experience! It is the power of God to live righteous lives of obedience. This is true redemption and salvation because it embraces the new life of following Jesus. As a path to salvation, the way of righteousness is experienced as a present reality which culminates in the parousia. A supernatural strength enables the believer to participate in the redemptive movement - the kingdom of God (Gal. 5:21). For Paul, God's power is released through faith in Jesus.

Paul's Culture and Faith Experience

The most effective way to correct these misleading interpretations is to translate the Scriptures with a sensitivity to Paul's cultural context. The problem of understanding Paul's use of the term "righteousness" is indeed a complex and a difficult issue of exegesis. In light of the above facts, often the term righteousness would be better translated, "life of righteousness" or "way of righteous living" rather than accepting the standard meaning of a state of justification. In Paul's faith experience, he walked in the way of righteousness as he believed in Jesus and received empowerment from the Holy Spirit. The "life of righteousness" or "way of righteous living" means salvation or true redemption. It culminates in God's final judgment. This life is the preparation for the eschaton. The disciple becomes involved in the redemptive actions of helping others as a consequence of his or her relationship with God through faith in Jesus. The hungry need food, the destitute must receive clothing, the homeless require shelter, the sick and those in prison need personal attention. The follower of Jesus must pursue purposeful acts of redemption - living a life of selfless service for suffering humanity. For Paul, the way of righteousness is indeed God's highest salvation because it is the liberation of the flesh into the life of the Spirit and that holy life is characterized by joining with God in his redemptive out reach to a hurting world.

In the final analysis, the conceptual values of grace and faith in Paul's teachings are riveted in Torah. Faith leads to righteousness. Grace opens the door for the individual to experience God in the dynamics of every day life. Paul boldly proclaims, "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. 6:22-23)



1) E.P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977), p. 180.

2) E.P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism, pp. 421-422.

3) Ibid, p. 422. See also the note on Avot 2:7 by J. Hertz, The Authorized Daily Prayer Book. p. 634. Hertz comments on the saying of Hillel which teaches reward and punishment. Hertz observes, "Repentance alone, they [the rabbis] held, could counter-act the operation of this rule. 'There are those who acquire eternal life in years upon years; there are those who (by repentance) acquire it in an hour', said Rabbi Judah the Prince."

4) B. Berachot 34b and parallels.

5) See K. Stendahl, Paul among Jews and Gentiles (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977).

6) Acts 15 explains that the Gentiles will be held responsible for select laws which seem to be an early summary of the commandments for the children of Noah (Acts 15:19-21; 29; 21:25; and see b. Sanhedrin 56a and parallels; and compare Jubilees 7). These moral principles were thought to be universal while the Torah was the treasured gift from God to Israel. The covenant with Israel could not be broken. But the laws for the non Jews focus on the decisive break they have made with their former idolatrous practices. They focus on a firm belief in the one true God and basic teachings for a moral way of life. For Paul, these guidelines for a moral lifestyle were a natural result of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (see Gal. 5). He highly valued holiness. For a fine treatment of the issues surrounding the council in Jerusalem, see David Flusser, "Paul's Jewish-Christian Opponents in the Didache," Gilgal. Essays on Transformation, Revolution and Permanence in the History of Religions. Dedicated to R.J. Zwi Werblowski, ed. by S. Shaked, D. Shulman and G.G,. Strumsa (Leiden: Brill, 1987), pp. 71-90 and also especially, David Flusser and S. Safrai, "Das Aposteldekret und die Noachitischen Gebote" 'Wer Tora vermehrt, mehrt Leben'. Festgabe fu"r Heinz Kremers zum 60. Geburtstag, ed. by E. Brocke and H.J. Barkenings (Vluyn: Neukirchen, 1986), pp. 173-192.

7) Ibid.

8) See Gal. 5:13-21. In reality, Paul's view of the life in the Spirit went beyond the basic principles of conduct outlined in Acts 15. Paul viewed the relationship of Israel to God as permanent and he highly valued the special identity God had given solely to the Jewish people. The Gentiles who became Christians must live holy lives according to the power of the Holy Spirit.

9) Romans 12:9f. and see Gal. 5:14. The great importance Paul placed upon the Torah and its proper interpretation has seldom been appreciated by scholars. For a new approach which recognizes Paul's understanding of halachah, midrash and its application in the practical life of the church, see now Peter Tomson, Paul and the Jewish Law (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1990).

10) See b. Shabbat 31a; Avot deRabbi Natan, version B, chapter 26 and compare Tobit 4:14. See also the note on Avot 2:21 by J. Hertz, The Authorized Daily Prayer Book, pp. 644-646.

11) See the Mekilta de Rabbi Ishmael on Exodus 14:31, in the Hebrew edition of Horovitz, p. 114.

12) See Elisha Qimron and John Strugnell, Qumran Cave 4 Miqzat Ma'ase ha-Torah (Oxford: Clarendon, 1994), pp. 61-63 and see these editors and translators' earlier discussion, "An Unpublished Halakhic Letter from Qumran" Israel Museum Journal, (Spring, 1985) and the same article, idem, Biblical Archaeology Today (Jerusalem, 1985), pp. 400-407. On MMT, compare also Yaakov Sussmann, "The History of Halakah and the Dead Sea Scrolls - a Preliminary to the Publication of 4QMMT" Tarbitz 59 (1990), pp. 11-76 (Hebrew) and David Flusser, "Some of the Precepts of the Torah from Qumran (4QMMT) and the Benediction against the Heretics" Tarbitz 61 (1992), pp. 333-374.

13) The Hebrew text was also printed in Flusser, Judaism and the Origins of Christianity, p. 722. Here I have offered a provisional English translation.

14) See also David Flusser, "The Dead Sea Sect and Pre-Pauline Christianity" Judaism and the Origins of Christianity (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1988), pp. 23-74. Flusser discusses the close relationship between Paul and the thought of the Essenes who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls.

15) On the scroll's reference to "their faith in the Teacher of Righteousness," A. Dupont-Sommer observes, "The Teacher of Righteousness tries the hearts of men; it is faith in him that saves." See A. Dupont-Sommer, The Essene Writings from Qumran (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1973), note 4, p. 263.

16) 1QpHab. 8:1 (author's translation). The best edition of the text is Bilha Nitzan, Pesher Habakkuk a Scroll from the Wilderness of Judaea (1QpHab) (Jerusalem: Bilalik Institute, 1986), p. 175. For other English translations, see T. Gaster, The Dead Sea Scriptures (Garden City: Anchor Books, 1976, third edition), p. 322 and G. Vermes The Dead Sea Scrolls in English (Penguin Books, third edition, 1988), p. 287. Nitzan observes that, "those who observe the Torah," in the commentary on Hab. 2:4, describe the members of the community who live according to the sect's way of life in its own interpretation of the Jewish law's halachic requirements (ibid).

17) The importance of this text and its relationship to the halachic letter from Qumran and Paul was discussed by P. Tomson, Paul and the Jewish Law (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1990), p. 66. Tomson has observed the continuity between Paul, the Dead Sea Sect and the rabbis in their treatments of the issue of faith, works and righteousness.

18) Compare the discussion and bibliographical materials presented in, John Reumann, Righteousness in the New Testament (New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1982). The work has resulted in part from dialogue and reflection between Lutheran and Roman Catholic biblical scholars. Especially insightful and sensitive is the response by Joseph Fitzmyer at the conclusion of the book.

19) Stendahl, Paul among Jews and Gentiles, pp. 1-2.