It was long thought (especially in some Protestant circles) that second-century Christianity lost track of the Pauline emphasis on “justification” by God through faith. One of the most influential studies that established this view was by the famous Edinburgh scholar, Thomas F. Torrance, The Doctrine of Grace in the Apostolic Fathers (Eerdmans, 1959). Several subsequent studies have challenged this view from various angles, and the most recent challenge is by Brian J. Arnold, Justification in the Second Century (De Gruyter, 2017; now available in a more economical paperback from Baylor University Press, 2018). The Baylor online entry is here.
After a review of previous scholarship, Arnold examines several major second-century texts: 1 Clement, Ignatius of Antioch (epistles), Epistle to Diognetus, the Odes of Solomon, and Justin Martyr’s Dialogue with Trypho.
Granting that these texts don’t necessarily use Pauline language, Arnold makes his case that, nevertheless, they do reflect a…
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