Monday, February 2, 2009

"Works of the Law" and "Under the Law"

Is the Torah Legalistic?

The Greek phrases "erga nomou" and "upo nomon" were coined by Paul and used by him in three of his letters - Romans, Galatians, and 1 Corinthians; each appears ten times in the New Testament. They are usually translated "works of the law" and "under the law", respectively. This often causes the reader to infer that keeping the Torah is bad, and that being within the framework of Torah observance is bad. The CJB's B'rit Hadashah takes these phrases as referring not to the Torah itself but to mans legalistic perversion of it. Therefore "erga nomou" is rendered, "legalistic observance of Torah commands", and "upo nomon" is "in subjection to the system which results from perverting the Torah into legalism." The reader can then infer, correctly, that according to the New Testament teaching of Paul, legalism - whether Jewish, Christian or other -- is bad, but living according to G-ds Torah is good.

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