- Tradition 2: an authoritarian reverence for the history and traditions of the Church; the Catholic church at the time of the Reformation elevated theological tradition to an untouchable status.
- Tradition 1: a critical reverence for the history and traditions of the Church; this was the position taken by the Protestant Reformers - they treated Christian theological tradition with deep care and respect, although they did not give it a blind or uncritical allegiance.
- Tradition 0: little or no respect for the Church's history or traditions; this position was associated with the Radical Reformation - a Christian must read the Bible with fresh eyes, as if no-one else had ever read it before. Modern Evangelicalism often interprets 'Scripture Alone' in this sense.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
- Paul is confronted by Jesus on the Road and commanded to 'enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do'. Paul is blind for three days at Judas' house, and fasts during this time (9:9). As a devout Pharisee, Paul's reaction is to seek God; over this period he is surely reflecting on the implications of Jesus being alive - mainly that his claim to be the Messiah was in fact true! During this period Paul is reflecting upon the Messianic sciptures and begins to reinterpret them in the light of what's just happened; this would be one of his first reactions.
- Ananias then goes to meet Saul in response to a vision, in which the Lord explains to Ananias that Paul will be a messenger to the Gentiles (9:15). Ananias is portrayed as a devout disciple of Christ. He surely relays to Paul the content of the vision: including the fact that Paul has been called to go to 'Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel' (note the order). For Paul, the import of Ananias' words was that he should be a witness to all men (pros pantas anthropous, 22:15). Here, in Judas' house, is the embryo of Paul's missionary thought and strategy. Again this would lead Paul to reflect on the OT to find justification there for Ananias' vision. Paul would already possess a well-rehearsed eschatology which included the Messianic Age and the Gentiles and the revelation at the Road and via Ananias prompt a cycle of eschatological reinterpretation.
- However, Paul's commission is not yet complete. After three years in Damascus he returns to Jerusalem (9:26f) and is in the Temple praying. In a vision he is now explicitly commanded by Jesus himself to go to the Gentiles, ethne or 'nations' (22:17f). This is a explicit prioritisation of 'Gentiles, kings and the sons of Israel'. Did Paul see this as an ethnic or geographic command? Paul's practice of beginning in the synagogues of the various cities on his itinerary indicates that it was perhaps not merely ethnic, but strongly geographic. Paul was an apostle to the non-Jewish 'nations', including the 'sons of Israel' dwelling there.
- So, how are we to understand Paul's narration before Agrippa? Here he telescopes the whole process of his call into the event of the Damascus Road (26:14f). This is a compressed account, as Longenecker sees it, including within the narrative structure of the Damascus Road both the contribution of Ananias and the experience in the Temple. In this account, 'Paul did not emphasize details of time or human aid in this third account of his conversion. What Paul did emphasize was the lordship of Christ and the divine commission Christ gave him' (Longenecker).
Monday, February 25, 2008
- Greek Texts I, taught by Dr Jamie Grant and using Mounce's A Graded Reader of Biblical Greek (which I actually have as an eBook as part of Zondervan's Greek and Hebrew Library 6.0 and so this semester will for me also be about evaluating eBooks for study);
- Hebrew Grammar II, again taught by Dr Jamie Grant (who else?) and continuing with the 'village policeman'* approach of Ross's Introducing Biblical Hebrew;
- Pauline Theology, taught by Dr Mike Bird (who else?) and reading Jimmy Dunn's Theology of Paul, Gorman's Apostle of the Crucified Lord and (of course) IVPs Dictionary of Paul and his Letters and (as my own supplementary choice) Ridderbos' Paul - An Outline of His Theology; and
- Protestant Reformation, taught by Dr Nick Needham (who else?) and using his own book (deep breath) 2000 years of Christ's Power Part 3: Renaissance and Reformation along with Chadwick's The Reformation (Penguin History of the Church) and Hans Hillerbrand's The Protestant Reformation.
*this is the way that Carson describes John Murray's (former NICNT)commentary on Romans in his Commentary Survey! Cheeky!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
It's good to finish Mounce's Basic's of Biblical Greek and once again, I have to say I like Bill's style. And the CD-ROM stuff that comes with the book. Because he stays focussed on the task in hand, that is, teaching undergrads a working knowledge of Greek for translating, and because he's pretty relaxed in the way he does it, Mounce is the man.
Monday, February 18, 2008
- Hebrew goes the other way. This is fairly easily spotted (!) but leads to some difficulties. Like, when you're translating from Hebrew to English, you start writing your answer at the left margin; from English to Hebrew, you start writing your answer at the right margin. But, do you right the exercise number in the left margin or right margin? It can get a little confusing and this is before you even start any proper learning. You know your brain's in a mess when you try to read English the other way (a bit like when you start writing alpha's instead of a's after doing Greek).
- Hebrew is a little less connected to English than Greek. Throne...thronos...kise', for example. It's often pointed out that the Greek learning curve starts shallower and steepens up as you go on, whilst the Hebrew learning curve starts steeper and eases as you go on. That seems about right and probably explains why, with Greek Grammar II and Hebrew Grammar I running concurrently, last semester was pretty tough!
- On the Grammar itself, I've already posted some thoughts on Ross' Introducing Biblical Hebrew along with pointers to resources that might help if you're using Ross.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Anyway, here are the main points from the conclusion...
Those asserting that the Exodus displays redemption without cost too easily overlook the judgement and sacrifice that stand near the centre of the Exodus event and Isaiah’s description of Egypt as a ransom for Israel. Even so, we must not press the idea too far. Vos correctly describes OT redemption as primarily national and political so that ‘in an indirect, typical way only is the principle of the spiritual redemption of the people of God exhibited’ (Vos & Gaffin, Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation (Phillipsburg: P&R, 2001), 367).
The concept of redemption in the work of Christ is built upon, and foreshadowed by, redemption in the OT. In the Exodus paradigm for redemption, so often used to justify a model of redemption without ransom price, there is a collocation of redemption, sacrifice and judgement. It is instructive to note that the NT also speaks of Christ as our Passover and as the Lamb of God, expressing salvation in terms of the Exodus. In the NT, the concept of redemption is also collocated with those of sacrifice and propitiation, reinforcing the straightforward reading of the NT data portraying redemption as involving a ransom price. However, the OT redemption was national and political (although socio-ethical components are present), whereas in the NT redemption is from a state of moral rebellion, comprising not merely emptiness of life, but also offenses against God that warrant his judgement. In taking this judgement in his death, Jesus Christ pays the ransom...
Reformed systematics has sometimes struggled to preserve the richness of the biblical theme of redemption. This may be one reason why redemption has too easily become merely deliverance, or a synonym for atonement, and its distinctive meaning obscured. For example, Berkhof has little to say about redemption, and in Calvin there is little on the specific theme of redemption. McGrath treats redemption under The Cross as Victory, and the association of redemption with the ‘ransom to Satan’ theories of early and mediaeval Christianity may be one factor behind its lower profile. Despite these comments, Reformed systematics has successfully constructed a theology that embraces a biblical doctrine of redemption as ransom-paying and a penal-substitutionary model for the atonement. The challenge for Reformed systematics is to maintain the richness of redemption imagery within this soteriological framework.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Athanasius' De Incarnatione. We had to analyse this work for a seminar. However, Macleod throws up a difficulty when he says this about Athanasius...
It is true that you notice the Apollinarian thought in De Incarnatione. But after some degree of investigation, I'm still not clear if De Incarnatione is the same as De Incarnatione Verbi Dei and which of the manuscripts may or may not be in view here. This illustrates the difficulties that can face you with this kind of thing.Most of his work survives only in fragments gleaned from quotations by his opponents and the position is further complicated by the fact that some of his writings, published posthumously, appeared under false names (for example, two pseudo-Athanasian compositions, Quod Unus Sit Deus and De Incarnatione Verbi, are now widely regarded as works of Apollinaris).
Quest for Historical Jesus. The Modern Christology unit on the module covers the Quest for the Historical Jesus (Reimarus and Wrede through Schweitzer to the neo-liberalism and neo-orthodoxy a la Bultmann and Barth - hence his picture above - to Kasemann and Second Questers through to the so-called Third Quest). This unit was a highlight and a helpful article on this whole thing is: Is there Really a 'Third Quest' for the Historical Jesus? SBET 24.2, by Dr Mike Bird no less.
Macleod on Uniqueness. Macleods' work on the Person of Christ is both comprehensive and invigorating. I read most of The Person of Christ during the module and really enjoyed the chapter on the uniqueness of Christ (or maybe it just seems like I enjoyed it more because it was one of the last ones I read!). I posted a good quote on this before.
Redemption. The essay question for the module was 'Explore the concept of redemption in the work of Christ'. Where to go with that one?! I'll post separately on how I approached it.
Friday, February 08, 2008
The new exodus theme in Isaiah is predominantly a feature of Second Isaiah, where it is the controlling theme of the prophet’s message. It is
employed typologically and imminently to predict the release of Yahweh’s people from exile in Babylon, and to assist them to survey their own Heilgeschichte and so gain confidence in the progress of Yahweh’s purposes. It is also employed eschatologically through the superimposition of covenant and creation theologies to give a grand cosmic horizon for deliverance and renewal under a new and everlasting covenant with Yahweh, not only for Israel, but for all the nations. The Servant Songs of Isaiah speak of a second Moses, who will lead the nations towards this horizon. In this way, Yahweh’s future purposes for the world are telescoped into the context of the Babylonian exile. The actual return from exile did not fulfil Second Isaiah’s glorious vision; rather than the nations flocking to Jerusalem, the returnees were still subject to Persian rule and failed in their covenant obligations. However, the telescoped vision awaited its true fulfilment: ‘Just as the restoration from exile was like a second exodus, so the coming of the Messiah is like a third exodus because he has come to lead sinners – Jews and Gentiles – into the full experience of salvation’ (Waltke).
Thursday, February 07, 2008
The theme of a new or second exodus...occurs throughout the canonical book of Isaiah, but becomes especially prominent in chapters 40-55...Most scholars see these chapters as the work of Second Isaiah, an exilic prophet, although some attribute the whole canonical book to pre-exilic Isaiah of Jerusalem. There is no doubt that chapters 40-55 are addressed to the exilic community and whether they originated in a pre-exilic or an exilic situation, we must primarily consider their impact on an exilic audience.
This provides further contrast with ANE parallels where the annual rhythmic cycle of nature was identified with the repetition of the events of primeval time. Second Isaiah does not identify the new exodus as a return to the old in ‘a great historical cycle’, but a linear progression in Yahweh’s purposes for history. This heightening means that the ‘new exodus will be a radically new event. It will surpass the old exodus not only in wonder but also in soteriological meaning’.
...the new exodus from Babylon does not merely constitute an idealised paradigm for God’s saving activity, but is the means by which the grand eschatological horizon foreseen by Second Isaiah is to be realised in the future. The inevitable eschatological consequences of the new exodus are telescoped into the event itself. Yahweh’s post-exilic people in Israel still awaited these consequences.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
In Joel, the Day of the Lord is always near. This thought reveals a principle of decisive divine intervention as being a constant presence in human history. There is the real sense in which the final eschatological principle of salvation and judgement breaks into history and each historical intervention is a temporal expression of this potent principle...
Whilst the prophets spoke of forthcoming historical events, the Spirit of Yahweh was also granting to them revelation of a more cataclysmic principle through which redemption history would reach its conclusion. These two things are telescoped in the motif of the Day of the Lord. The principle of eschatological judgement and salvation was puncturing history at the behest of Yahweh to accomplish his purposes in establishing his kingdom. Van Gemeren rightly projects this theme forward to the coming of Christ, who ushers in the eschatological day of the Lord where the final intervention of God into history is inaugurated in the appearance of his Son, Jesus the Christ. Much of the apocalyptic imagery of the Day of the Lord is picked up in the New Testament, especially in the Petrine correspondence and in John the Seer. They look forward to the final act of this age, in the cosmic judgement of the same Jesus Christ when He appears in his Fathers glory to usher in the New Age of the earth.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
- Van Gemeren's book Interpreting the Prophetic Word. Van Gemeren is great, especially the start of this book, where he contrasts the ANE religious framework with the revelatory framework of Israel's religion.
- Prophetic Call: comparing and constrasting the call experiences of the prophets as recorded in the OT is invaluable for an insight into their task. However, there is too much of a tendency to appeal to the call experiences of the OT prophets when discussing the call to the NT church ministry. Ignoring the redemptive-historical contexts for these two distinct subjects can get us into problems. Rather than drawing parallels between the OT prophets and Christian ministers, it is more correct to see the fulfilment of the role of the OT prophets in Christ and then, by necessary extension, to see the NT parallel in the Church as a whole, as a prophetic community.
- True and False Prophecy: how could kings and priests, and the people in general, tell if as prophet was speaking the truth? L J Wood offers seven tests found in the OT: true prophets don't emply divination (a feature of VanG's ANE Religion framework); they speak against the vox populi (using VanGs language); their lifestyle is consistent with Torah; they are willing to endure self-effacement; their message is in harmony with Torah and the word of previous attested prophets of Yahweh; their foretellings happen; they are sometimes authenticated by miracles. None of these are watertight tests, but for me the crux is found in Woods' fifth test: harmony with Torah and former prophets.
- Day of the Lord: the seminar on this topic was a definite highlight and I'll post separately on this.
I'll also be posting on the essay topic which was the theme of the Second Exodus in the book of Isaiah.