Monday, March 26, 2007

Journal of Theological Interpretation

Eisenbrauns has announced the publication of a new journal entitled Journal of Theological Interpretation. In the opening essay, Joel Green (one of the editors) notes:

The horizons of contemporary theological study evidence a widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo of academic biblical studies. As important as historical investigation and linguistic inquiry are for critical biblical study, they do not exhaust the subject matter of the Bible or the ways in which the biblical materials might be engaged critically or the role of Scripture among God’s people.
In light of this, Green lists a series of challenging questions for theological interpretation:

• What is the status of the theological tradition, including the tradition of biblical interpretation, in theological interpretation today?
• What is the role of history and historical criticism in theological interpretation?
• What is the status and role of the OT in the two-testament canonical Scriptures?
• What is the place of exegesis in theological method?
• What is the nature of the “unity” of Scripture?
• What is the role of the canon in theological interpretation?
• Does theological interpretation extract theological claims or principles from the Bible?
The articles in the issue are as follows:

  • "Reading the Bible with Eyes of Faith: The Practice of Theological Exegesis" (Richard B. Hays)
  • "Texts in Context: Scripture and the Divine Economy" (Murray Rae)
  • "Mission, Hermeneutics, and the Local Church" (Michael A. Rynkiewich)
  • "Trust and the Spirit: The Canon's Anticipated Unity" (Christine Helmer)
  • "Christ in All the Scriptures? The Challenge of Reading the Old Testament as Christian Scripture" (R.W.L. Moberly)
  • "Interpretation on the Way to Emmaus: Jesus Performs His Story" (D. Brent Laytham)
  • "A 'Seamless Garment' Approach to Biblical Interpretation?" (Michael J. Gorman)
Although I have not read through the entire journal, the proposed scope of this journal, combined with its outstanding editorial board, suggests this journal will quickly become a forum for the important discussion of the relationship between historical-critical study of Scripture and theology. Particularly noteworthy are the twelve identifying marks of theological exegesis that Hays proposes in his essay. That will be the subject of a future post.

The journal will be issued twice a year, and subscriptions are $30. For more information, check out information page for the Journal of Theological Interpretation at the Eisenbrauns website.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that you can download a pdf version of Joel Green's introduction to the journal and the article by Murray Rae; simply click on the link for information above, and on the right side of the page you will see a link for the sample issue.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Paul in Arabia - Gal 1:17

According to Gal 1:17, shortly after his conversion Paul went away to Arabia. Scholars have puzzled over this, as it seems an odd choice. So at least three interrelated questions arise:

1) Where exactly does Paul refer to by Arabia? (Hint: where else is Arabia referred to in Galatians? Does this matter?)

2) Why did Paul choose to go there?

3) What exactly was Paul doing while there?

The floor is open ...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Psalms 1 & 2

On their own both Psalms 1 & 2 are well-known and frequently read. The focus in Psalm 1 is on living in the way of righteousness and experiencing God's blessing in contrast to living in the way of the wicked and experiencing God's judgment. Psalm 2 focuses on God's sovereign rule over the earth and its rebellious kings/nations, who will one day be defeated by Yahweh's Anointed King.

What is frequently missed is the connection between the two. First, Psalm 1 opens by stating, "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked ..." while Psalm 2 concludes "How blessed are all who take refuge in Him [i.e. God's Anointed]." Second, the prominent theme of "way" in Psalm 1 reappears at the end of Psalm 2, where the rebellious kings are warned to pay homage to the Son or otherwise "you perish in the way." Third, the word translated "mediate" (הגה) in Psalm 1:2 to refer to what the blessed man does with Yahweh's Law is the same word used in Psalm 2:1 to refer to the peoples "devising" a vain thing. Fourth, neither psalm is ascribed to an author and stand at the beginning of the entire psalter.

Now that I have done some of the exegetical spade work, I am opening the floor to you. What conclusions can and should we draw from these connections between Psalms 1-2? I, of course, have my own thoughts, but want to hear from you first before I share my own thoughts.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Coming Soon - Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics

The writings of Graeme Goldsworthy have played a significant role in the resurgence of biblical theology. In addition to his entry level text on Biblical Theology entitled According to Plan, his work on preaching (Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture) has also proved immensely helpful in encouraging pastors to preach all of Scripture within a redemptive-historical framework.

Later this month Goldsworthy will have another title to add to the "must read" list: Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics. In this book, "Goldsworthy examines the foundations and presuppositions of evangelical belief as it applies to the interpretation of the Bible. He then surveys the hermeneutical history of the Christian church in an attempt to see where alien approaches have deconstructed our way of reading Scripture. Finally, he reconstructs an evangelical hermeneutics rightly centered in the gospel and rightly influenced by the method of biblical theology."

This promises to be an important contribution and I have already pre-ordered a copy.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mark 9:1 - Seeing the Kingdom before their Death?

In Mark 9:1, Jesus says:

"Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power."

What does Jesus mean by this?