Hoover: I suspect you didn’t know this, though I doubt you’ll be surprised by the fact, but you use the words righteous/unrighteous or related words 289 times in your first volume. As you know, the terms righteousness of God and of Christ have been hotly disputed–objective or subjective genitive, covenantal or forensic emphasis? Where do you land?
Witherington: I have become increasingly convinced that this language is not the language of covenantal faithfulness–the OT background for which is hesed, not saddiq/sedaqa nor is it merely the language of forensic righteousness, focusing on right standing with God, though that is part of the truth. Rather, the righteousness of God has to do with God’s character and his efforts to give us an extreme makeover in God’s image, so that we have both right standing with God and manifest the actual righteous character of our God. In short, it is about both justification and sanctification, about both our position and our condition, as well as about God’s.
Read the rest of the Interview, which talks about his latest book “The Indelible Image: The Theological and Ethical Thought Word of the New Testament, Vol 1: The Individual Witnesses” on his blog here.