Thursday, September 06, 2007

Edinburgh Dogmatics: Christ in the OT

Dr Jamie Grant (HTC) gave this paper - a much needed blast of cool biblical studies air into the hothouse of philosophical theology! He took as his theme Christ and Lament, considering Jesus' citing of Psalm 22 whilst on the cross. Again, the main and interesting (to me) points:

  • OT lament is a form that arises from a scandal of experience outside of the covenant paradigm; it arises from a belief that Yahweh is not fulfilling his covenant obligations. It is a 'why?' This is suprising since the gospel narratives indicate that Jesus knew the purpose of his death.
  • Matthew and Mark both encourage readers to see the Easter event within the framework provided by Psalm 22. Jesus' citing of the Psalm should be understood as a bringing of the whole content of the Psalm to mind.
  • Psalm 22 itself is a Psalm of an Absent God, responsible for failing, but with a radical change in tone to give an unsurpassed eschatological hope for all nations.
  • Jesus uses this lament not because he does not understand the actions of God, but because he does.
  • We must learn that complaint is not defiance and that lament is compatible with hope. Lament is a sign of a deep, covenant relationship.
This paper was very useful, particularly the point on the eschatological hope that is implied in Jesus' citing of the Psalm. Afterward, Donald Macleod challenged the point (as I knew he would) about Jesus being cogniscent of the purpose of his suffering at that point in time. I would go with Macleod on this, who has written and spoken about Jesus' loss of awareness of the filial relationship on the cross. This deepens the mystery of the cross.