Barry F. Parker has the latest article in the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, “‘Works of the Law’ and the Jewish Settlement in Asia Minor.” According to the article’s conclusion:
The first recourse for the Anatolian Jews under [social, political, and religious] pressure was not an appeal to ‘legalism’, but to ‘selective works of the law’, as is implied by the phrase ἔργα νόμου. The only appearance of this phrase from that time outside of Paul is found in 4QMMT. The use of ‘works of the law’ there confirms both that Paul is in (indirect) dialogue with those familiar with Essene terminology and that selectivity is in view. Although he speaks to a different audience about a different problem regarding the law in Romans, when Paul uses the phrase ἔργα νόμου in Romans 3, the immediate context is quite similar to what he addresses in Galatians. It is, in both cases, a matter of the righteousness of God, as expressed in the faithfulness of Christ (πίστις Χριστοῦ). This faithfulness of Christ suffices for both Jew and Gentile (pagan), who are equally condemned—in Galatians they are condemned for trying to supplement that faithfulness with a perverted version of the law, and in Romans they are condemned for perverting the law by their very efforts to fulfill it through a selective participation in it (96).
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