Martin Luther drew a strong parallel between the religion of medieval Catholicism and the religion of first-century Judaism against which his hero, Paul, contended. Luther asserted that both taught that salvation was earned by works of merit.
E. P. Sanders challenged Luther's view of Judaism in his landmark work Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977). Judaism was not in principle a religion in which salvation was earned through obeying the law: it was a religion based upon God's election and grace. The debate which Sanders initiated continues, issuing in a flood of articles and monographs.
Dr. Kruse insists, however, that the issues raised in the debate must not be allowed to set the agenda. Instead, he takes the longer route of inductive exegesis, allowing each of Paul's letters to speak for itself before attempting a synthesis of Paul's teaching on the law and justification. He faces squarely and honestly the problems which Paul's attitude to the law raises, and he proposes thoroughly researched and considered solutions. His book is an important contribution to the ongoing debate.