TRADITION, LAW AND ETHICS IN PAULINE THEOLOGY BY JOHN W. DRANE This study takes its starting-point from the well-known and widely accepted distinction between the 'apostolic' and the so-called 'early catholic' writings of the NT. The heart of this distinction is often found in the three themes of tradition, law and ethics. In the fight against blatant Gnosticism, the 'early catholic' writers of the NT laid heavy emphasis on the continuity of their own traditions with those of the earliest period of church history, and they had a high regard for the principle of law in the Christian life, which in the sphere of practical ethics produced a well-defined code of behaviour carefully surrounded by moral rules. All this was in opposition to the truly 'apostolic', and therefore truly 'Christian' elements of the NT, in which tradition had a more flexible role, the principle of law was altogether abandoned, and Christian behaviour was pneumatic rather than moralistic. A good case can be made out for this understanding of the NT documents, and the purpose of this article is not to criticise the basic approach. Rather is it our intention here to consider some elements in the exposition of
Novum Testamentum – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1974
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