Right now I’m doing some research on the nature of wisdom in Solomon’s judgment over the case of the two women claiming the same baby. I came across this great quote from Richard Briggs:
Complaints against the supposition that this is a paradigm of wise judgment have come thick and fast from various quarters, including the rabbis, some feminist critics, and most memorably, Mark Twain. We shall take our cue from Mark Twain, if only because he is generally more fun than most scholars (83).
Richard Briggs, The Virtuous Reader, Baker Academic 2010.
A book to keep your eye on if you are interested in theological interpretation is Hearing the Old Testament: Listening for God’s Address (Eerdmans) edited by Craig G. Bartholomew and David J.H. Beldman. In the Preface Bartholomew and Beldman lament that the Old Testament is for the most part unknown by the majority Christians and that there are far too few books to assist Christians to feast upon it as Christian Scripture. Their response to the famine is this edited volume with the goal of listening for God’s address through the Old Testament:
At the heart of the hermeneutic advocated in this book is the belief that our love for the Old Testament and our desire for God will come together only when we make the goal of our interpretation to listen for God’s address. If Scripture is God’s Word, then any other goal is inadequate.
Hearing the Old Testament boasts an impressive collection of contributors beginning with Bartholomew’s opening chapter, “Listening for God’s Address: A Mere Trinitarian Hermeneutic for the Old Testament.” Part II of the volume concerns methods in interpretation and is appropriately named, “Learning to Listen.” Essays from Part III are involve listening to the different sections of the Old Testament. Part IV concludes the volume with, “Hearing and Preaching the Old Testament.”
What stands out about this volume is the careful editorial process. Contributors to Part II, “Learning to Listen” first read Bartholomew’s chapter on Hermeneutics and then were invited to interact either positively or negatively with his essay. Contributors to Part III were asked to write their chapters after reading Bartholomew’s chapter and the chapter’s on “Learning to Listen.” Part IV was then written in light of the Parts I-III. This type of editorial planning should bring a certain type of cohesion that normally lacks in an edited volume. I only hope that future volumes may follow suit.
The List of chapters and authors:
- Listening for God’s Address: A Mere Trinitarian Hermeneutic for the Old Testament by Craig G. Bartholomew
- History of Old Testament Interpretation by Al Wolters
- Philosophy and Old Testament Interpretation by Bartholomew
- Literary Approaches and Old Testament Interpretation by David J.H. Beldman
- History and Old Testament Interpretation by Tremper Longman III
- Biblical Theology and Old Testament Interpretation by Mark J. Boda
- Canon and Old Testament Interpretation by Stephen G. Dempster
- Mission and Old Testament Interpretation by Christopher J.H. Wright
- Ethics and Old Testament Interpretation by M. Daniel Carroll R.
- Hearing the Pentateuch by Gordon J. Wenham
- Hearing the Historical Books by Iain Provan
- Hearing the Psalter by J. Clinton McCann Jr.
- Hearing the Old Testament Wisdom Literature by Bartholomew
- Hearing the Major Prophets by Richard Schultz
- Hearing the Minor Prophets by Heath Thomas
- Hearing and Preaching the Old Testament by Aubrey Spears
I have been a fan of Paul House’s (Professor of Old Testament, Beeson Divinity School) work ever since I first picked up and read his OT Theology book. Although sometimes a bit rigid, I appreciate the way he works through a single book of the OT on its own right, but thoughtful in the way he sees certain themes being alluded to in other parts of the Hebrew canon. It can be said that he has good canonical sensitivity.
With that, I was pleased to see Justin Taylor highlight House’s essay on the unifying themes of the prophets from his article in the ESV Study Bible. This essay is going to be reprinted in Understanding the Bible Well: A Guide to Reading the Bible Well. According to House a thematic progression can be discerned in the prophets that begins with the prophets belief that God is speaking through them. Second, the prophets operate within the context that Israel has been chosen by God to exist in a covenantal relationship with him. Third, much of the message of the prophets emphasizes that Israel has broken covenantal relationship. Fourth, the continued message of the prophets is that God’s judgement for covenantal unfaithfulness will eradicate sin. And fifth, the prophets see renewal beyond the judgement. You can read Taylor’s full post here.