Lately much of my research has focused on the Solomon narrative in 1 Kings 1-11. With this it is impossible to escape the voluminous amount of secondary literature that has been written on the Deuteronomistic History where the narrative is embedded. While researching various theories on the DH and the theology of Deuteronomy in general I came across a lecture on Deuteronomy from Gordon McConville. McConville is a leading scholar on Deuteronomy and OT Theology. This lecture is on the Paradox of Deuteronomy that he delivered at the Lutheran School of Theology in Aarhus. You can listen to the lecture here.
For those of you familiar with baptiststudiesonline.com, you’ll remember that the Journal of Baptist Studies is a peer-reviewed, fully online journal that is published on the site. The journal has changed editing and operating hands since the previous issue was published in 2010, but today marks the beginning of the relaunch of JBS. Edited by myself and Tony Chute, Associate Dean of the School of Christian Ministries at CBU, JBS 5 is dedicated to the Baptist study of Titus. This issue features articles by Ray Van Neste (Union University), Jeff Straub (Central Baptist Theological Seminary), and Tony Chute (California Baptist University), as well as a selected Baptist bibliography on Titus by me and book reviews by Crawford Gribben (Queen’s University, Belfast), Jason Lee (Cedarville University), Walter Price (Fellowship of the Pass Church, Beaumont, CA), Rick Durst (Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary), and Peter Beck (Charleston Southern University). The table of contents is reproduced below:
THE JOURNAL OF BAPTIST STUDIES
VOLUME 5 (2013)
Editorial, p. 1
Contributors, p. 3
“Baptists, Pastors, and Titus 1: A History of Interpretation,” by Ray Van Neste, p. 4
“The Legality of Slavery in the Sight of God: Baptists and Their Use of Titus 2 to Defend Slavery,” by Jeff Straub, p. 36
“Reception History of Titus 3 in Baptist Life,” by Anthony Chute, p. 64
“Selected Baptist Bibliography on Titus,” by Matthew Y. Emerson, p. 91
Bebbington, David W. Baptists Through the Centuries: A History of a Global People, reviewed by Crawford Gribben, p. 97
George, Timothy. Reading Scripture with the Reformers, reviewed by Jason K. Lee, p. 101
Iorg, Jeff. The Case for Antioch: A Biblical Model for a Transformational Church, reviewed by Walter Price, p. 105
Liederbach, Mark and Seth Bible, True North: Christ, the Gospel, and Creation Care, reviewed by Rick Durst, p. 109
Leonard, Bill J. The Challenge of Being Baptist: Owning a Scandalous Past and an Uncertain Future, reviewed by Peter Beck, p. 112
Our hope is to publish two issues of the journal each year, one in the fall and one in the spring. If you are interested in submitting an essay on Baptist history, theology, or practice, please feel free to contact Tony Chute at achute at calbaptist dot edu.
You can find out more about the journal by visiting the website.
In addition to the journal, baptiststudiesonline.com contains a myriad of Baptist resources, from confessions and creeds to sermons to important position papers. I’d encourage you to take full use of the site, both for the journal and for this valuable compilation of documents.
We also hope to add PhD dissertation abstracts from the six SBC seminaries in the near future.
I’m grateful to Nathan Finn and Keith Harper at SEBTS for their previous operation of the site; their hard work in compiling Baptist resources is what makes baptiststudiesonline.com continually valuable. I’m also thankful for their dedication to the journal in its previous iteration, and for entrusting it to Tony and me for the future. We look forward to continuing its propagation of Baptist history and scholarship.
Nijay Gupta, quoting Eddie Adams, recently posted some thoughts on the distinctiveness of each Gospel. While there certainly may be some truth to Adams’ list, namely in noting some of the unique literary devices used by the Evangelists, I personally find the list dissatisfying, particularly for its lack of theological engagement. This is seen in Adams’ first distinctive, which for him is that Matthew’s Gospel is more Jewish and more explicitly tying itself off to the OT.
But this is, in my opinion, to get the point exactly backward. Matthew is not the most Jewish nor the most oriented towards the OT; instead, each of the four Gospels’ different orientation towards the OT is exactly what makes it distinctive.
As I tell my students, the four Gospels each present a broad picture of Jesus that demonstrates he comes to:
- Restore Israel, through which he will
- Restore the entire creation, and therefore Jesus comes to
- Bring salvation through his life, death, and resurrection to God’s fallen world
I then go on to point out that what makes each of these books unique is not their purpose, or even their outline (Jesus’ beginnings, ministry, Jerusalem, death, resurrection), but the lens through which they view Jesus. Specifically, which Old Testament lens do they use?
In my estimation, Matthew views Jesus through a New Moses/New Israel lens, Mark through a New Exodus lens, Luke through a New Elijah/New David lens, and John through a New Creation lens.
This approach, for me, focuses on the literary and theological distinctives of the Gospel writers instead of on rather subjective historical reconstructions of the provenance, date, and audience, and also gives a more robust picture of both the literary and theological goals of the author and therefore their distinctiveness in comparison to the other Evangelists.
What do you think?
I think I may be a little late to the party, but TEDS is now posting a series of video lectures by various faculty members, including D. A. Carson on Hebrews and Kevin Vanhoozer on the theologian’s task. The other two lectures on the docket for now are Dana Harris on Luke-Acts and Dennis Magary on Advanced Hebrew Exegesis. The Harris and Magary lectures have yet to be posted, but you can currently access both Carson’s and Vanhoozer’s videos.
On Saturday Jim Hamilton contrasted the Theological Interpretation of Scripture movement’s and biblical theology’s understanding of typology. The gist of Hamilton’s argument is that TIS focuses on the divine author’s intent in understanding typological patterns and readings, whereas BT (or Hamilton’s approach to it, anyway) focuses on the human author’s intent.
Patrick Schreiner responded this morning with a post of his own, pointing out three ways in which he believes the divine author’s perspective is emphasized over the human author – the NT use of the OT, paratexts, and the idea of biblical authors “speaking better than they knew.”
I’ll throw my hat in the ring here, but before I do I’ll say that I appreciate both of these men’s spirit and writing. They both do a great service to the church in their thinking, and I’d imagine they are a blessing to their local churches as well. I’ve benefited greatly from both of their writings, whether it’s Patrick’s blog or Jim’s books.
For me, though, I wonder if both of these posts are articulating a false dichotomy between the human author’s and divine author’s intent. While Hamilton wants to emphasize the human author, Schreiner wants to emphasize the divine, at least in some places. And yet, don’t the two work together? As Tyler Wittman put it in a comment on Hamilton’s post,
I think since Holy Scripture is at once something written 100% by God and 100% by human authors, we simply have to deal with the text as it stands. Asking whether or not the human author intended this or that type may be the wrong question of Scripture, as if understanding the literal sense must be either/or.
The problem is that such a question seems to presuppose a competitive relationship between the divine and human authors.
This is, for me, exactly right. On the one hand with Hamilton I want to say yes, we need to understand the human author. But on the other hand I want to say with Schreiner that yes, we need to understand the divine author. And in contrast (I think) to both, I’d say that the two must be understood together. It is not as if I am seeking one author’s intent to the exclusion or downplaying of the other in the text; rather, it is in the text that we see both authors’ intent at the same time. Further, intent is a primarily textual phenomenon; it originates with the author but is known predominately through the text. To distinguish between what the divine author was thinking and what the human author understood seems to me to be impossible.
I’d also say, contra Patrick, that the NT uses the OT far better and far more faithfully to the human authors’ intents than I think we sometimes give credit. Intertextuality, sometimes quite complicated intertextuality, helps explain many of the passages Patrick cites, as well as others. G. K. Beale and John Sailhamer have dealt extensively with Matthew 2 and Hosea 11, and I have attempted to provide a thorough textual explanation for Paul’s use of the Sarah and Hagar story. The other examples he mentioned can be solved, in my opinion, through discussion of context (e.g. Rachel and Ramah – the Jeremiah passage is in the middle of ch. 31, about the new covenant).
So with Hamilton, I want to affirm the human author’s typological abilities. But with Schreiner I want to affirm the importance of considering the divine author’s intent. Contra to both, though, I want to affirm that these two work in concert, not in contrast or even in focusing on one and downplaying the other.
Greg Goswell, lecturer in biblical studies at Presbyterian Theological College, has published another article in JETS on the shape of the biblical canon. His previous three articles have discussed the LXX, MT, and NT orders, while this newest essay asks how the shape of the OT might have influenced the shape of the NT.
I agree with Goswell’s conclusion – it isn’t possible to decide if the NT is consciously shaped through consideration of either OT order. Asking the question, though, helps to draw out certain themes, exegetical points, and narrative threads that we might overlook otherwise. One of the most helpful aspects of the essay, in my opinion, is the introduction, where Goswell explains the role of considering canonical order in interpretation.
Before proceeding any further, it is necessary to consider what status is to be given to the phenomenon of book order. The sequential ordering of the biblical books is part of the paratext of Scripture. The term ‘paratext’ refers to elements that are adjoined to the text but are not part of the text per se. . . . The (differing) order of the biblical books is a paratextual phenomenon that cannot be put on the same level as the text itself. It is a post-authorial imposition on the text of Scripture, albeit an unavoidable one when texts of different origin are collected together in a canonical corpus. Where a biblical book is placed relative to other books inevitably influences a reader’s view of the book, on the supposition that juxtaposed books are related in some way and therefore illuminate each other. A prescribed order of books is a de facto interpretation of the text (emphasis mine).
As a side note, many might simply stop at, “yes, exactly,” and assume that everyone agrees here. But, based on first hand experience in graduate work, conference participation, and conversations with colleagues, I’d still venture to guess that many NT scholars, and perhaps OT scholars as well, don’t agree that canonical order influences interpretation.
Well maybe you live under a rock and don’t know this yet, but NT WRIGHT IS PUBLISHING A BOOK ON PAUL. AND IN IT HE WILL DISCUSS JUSTIFICATION.
I think people’s brains might explode over this, either because of the length of the book or because we’re going to have to re-hash the “justification as declaration” vs. “justification as action” argument for what must be the upteenth time.
Anyway (don’t ever use that transition in a paper, kids), Mike Bird has thrown us all into the deep end with this tantalizing quote from Paul and the Faithfulness of God:
[E]ven though Romans 3.21–31 is part of the same flow of argument as Romans 5—8, and Galatians 2.15–21 is part of the same flow of argument as Galatians 4—6, and even though these two larger arguments do develop a view of the spirit’s work in the transformation of character which can properly be seen both as virtue and as theōsis, this does not take away from the fact that when Paul speaks of initial justification by faith he means it as a very particular, specific claim. This ‘justification’ means that, ahead of any transformation of character other than the bare, initial pistis whose whole nature character is by definition to look helplessly away from itself and gratefully towards the saving work of the Messiah, this person is welcomed into the family on the basis of that confession of faith and nothing else. The inaugurated-eschatological assurance which this welcome provides is thus both forensic (the verdict of ‘not guilty’ in the present will be repeated in the future) and covenantal (full membership in Abraham’s family is granted at once and will be reaffirmed in the resurrection). The two dimensions join up in practical ecclesiology: the mutual welcome which Paul urges in Romans 14 and 15 is the concrete, bodily form which ‘forgiveness’ is supposed to take in the present time.
Bird then asks whether this will assuage Reformed-ish folk and if Wright seems to regard justification as both social and soteric.
I’ll venture a few thoughts:
1) Although the “forensic” language in the quote certainly seems to be a step towards his critics, in that it may suggest that NTW acknowledges that justification has an inherently soteriological significance, it still does not address what, in my opinion, is the crux of the issue. In Justification, as well as in various places in his other works, Wright argues that justification is not a legal action by God on a person that places them in his kingdom, but instead a declaration by God about their continuing status as part of his covenant people. It is, in other words, purely declarative act according to Wright, instead of what has historically been understood as a transformative and saving act. Nothing in the above quote suggests that Wright has shifted on this understanding, and of course nothing suggests that he hasn’t shifted.
2) That brings us to the second point – this quote has no context whatsoever. So, kudos to Mike Bird for getting us talking already.
One thing is certain; the blogosphere is going to explode once we all get a chance to work through PFG.