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ALETTI Jean-Noël

Justification by faith in the letters of Saint Paul. Keys to interpretation.

2015, pp. 240.

So much has already been written on the Pauline doctrine of justification that the reader will probably ask what more could there possibly be to say on the subject.  However, recent exegetical debates show that interest has not waned.  And if the doctrine of justification has been considered as one of the major achievements of New Testament exegesis, recent debates have raised serious methodological and theological doubts: is Paul’s discourse on the Law well-founded, pertinent or erroneous?  In other words, did he really understand the Judaism of his time?  Exegetes have had to recognize that they knew little about the Judaism of the period.  They also have had to admit to their sparse knowledge of Paul’s rhetorical techniques and the function of the literary models he used.  And yet, methodological and cultural knowledge is important for correctly tackling and treating the Pauline doctrine of justification.  So here, with the help of these tools, the inquiry into this theme is undertaken in order (1) to furnish a more or less complete status quaestionis on the research, (2) to note and present the essential principles of the doctrine, synchronically and diachronically, and (3) to demonstrate the importance and the stakes of the doctrine for yesterday as well as for today.

Jean-Noël Aletti, Jesuit, is Professor of New Testament exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome). He is known for his monographs and articles on Saint Paul and the Synoptic Gospels. He wrote two monographs on St Paul’s letters: God’s Justice in Romans (Subsidia Biblica 37; GBP 2010) and New Approaches for Interpreting the Letters of  Saint Paul (Subsidia Biblica 43; Rome GBP 2012).