Since the publication of E.P. Sanders' Paul and Palestinian Judaism in 1977, Paul's soteriology has received extensive evaluation in light of second temple Judaism. These works have focused on exegesis of the Pauline text and evaluating Sanders' proposal of covenantal nomism within the second temple Jewish literature. There has been an unfortunate gap in this discussion: historical theology.
This work addresses the historical claims made by proponents of the New Perspective on Paul regarding Luther's theology and the early church. In The Righteousness of One, Jordan Cooper demonstrates that the portrait of Luther given by many of the New Perspective writers is a caricature, read through the lens of both Protestant scholasticism and twentieth-century existentialist theology. Luther's views are more nuanced and balanced than many Pauline interpreters are willing to admit.
In light of this reevaluation of Luther's own theology, early Patristic writings are evaluated in terms of similarity and disparity between Patristic Pauline interpretation and Lutheran Pauline interpretation, and thus it becomes apparent that there is continuity between the patristic tradition and Luther's reading of the Pauline text. Rather than being driven purely by medieval debates about merit, Luther's reading of Paul is both exegetically sensitive and consistent with the broader catholic tradition.