Righteousness of God: A Lexical Examination of the Covenant-Faithfulness Interpretation

Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. No.386

The Righteousness of God

By: Charles Lee Irons
June 2015
Mohr Siebeck
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9783161529665
468 Pages
$142.50 Paper original


Advocates of the New Perspective on Paul appeal to the view that "righteousness" in biblical theology is a Verhältnisbegriff (relational concept). This is the view that "righteousness" does not mean conformity to a norm, nor is it an essentially legal concept; rather, "righteousness" denotes the fulfillment of the demands of a relationship, since the relationship itself is the norm. This relational interpretation of "righteousness" was first put forward by Hermann Cremer in 1899 and exercised a profound influence in biblical scholarship throughout the 20th century. It lies at the root of the New Perspective claim that "the righteousness of God" in Paul is a cipher for God's saving faithfulness to his covenant, a view defended by N. T. Wright, among others. Charles Lee Irons provides a critical examination of Cremer's chief arguments for the relational, covenant-faithfulness interpretation. The author argues instead for the view that "the righteousness of God" in Rom 1:17; 3:21-22; 10:3; 2 Cor 5:21; and Phil 3:9 is the status of righteousness that comes from God as a gift.