August 1st 2004, 11:12 AM #1
Our Featured Member Article, From Text to Theology: The Practice of NT TheologyTheologyWeb Proudly Presents Our Featured Member Article:
From Text to Theology: The Practice of NT Theology
The task of the theologian is to find out who God is, and the main tool for this task is the Bible since it is the word of God.1 The question, however, is one of method: how does one draw theology out of the text?2 This question is the main concern of this paper. The answer, while not comprehensive, will be a compilation of various methods, tools, and techniques in order to propagate a full-orbed response which is properly exegetical and Biblically centered while still being sensitive to historical, cultural, and critical issues. The first issue to be addressed is delimiting the text in question.3 Following closely upon the boundaries of the text is the second issue, the role of the canon.4 The third section will cover the definition, place, and practice of exegesis. Fourth is the importance of historical research and background. Included within this point is the connection and balance between the Old Testament and the New. Finally, the nature of the task of doing theology within the New Testament will be summarized and definitions for both Biblical Theology and New Testament theology will be offered based upon the preceding discussion. Included in this final section will be a brief analysis of the various strategies and forms employed when writing a New Testament Theology. Each issue covered will necessarily be overly brief and focused in order to delve into the appropriate material without drowning in it. Therefore each section will be without a proper conclusion until the results are pulled together in the final conclusion of this paper.
Text Criticism and Canon
Before one is able to interpret a text, the text itself needs to be settled.5 Therefore the first task in doing theology is to know what the text is. This is the task of lower criticism, and the importance of this discipline is often overshadowed by other considerations.6 The theologian must be able to defend textual choices before any further work is done. One cannot argue from a text until one is able to say with authority what the text actually is. Therefore the task of textual criticism is to determine what the original text is most likely to have been.7 The reason that the original text is considered authoritative instead of texts since then is because of the importance of authorial intent8 combined with various errors and problems in the transmission of the texts.9 The essential kernel of textual criticism is, when looking at a specific reading, which variant is most likely to have given rise to the other variants.10 Thus, before trying to understand what a text says, it is important to discern through text criticism what the text actually is.
If finding the autograph of the individual book which is the goal of text criticism, thus giving the theologian the authoritative text of each specific book, how does one decide which books should be included as authoritative? This is the roll of the canon. Canon is a list of books which are considered to be authoritative for faith and practice by a specific community, e.g. for Christians, the Bible.11 While tracking the development of the canon is a rewarding process, this would stray too far from the purpose of the paper.12 Instead, the authority and role of the canon will be discussed here by enumerating the disagreement between Brevard Childs13 and James Barr.14 Childs argues for an early formation of the Hebrew Bible as canon, noting Josephus had a closed canon.15 While the Christian church over time may have had some growing pains concerning the inclusion and exclusion of books from this canon, generally there is the same core of books accepted with some others added as helpful.16 The New Testament also had a process of development in terms of forming a specific group of books which are to be considered as authoritative.17 Childs points out that “the attempt to distinguish between the apostolic writings and later ecclesiastical tradition lay at the heart of the formation of the Christian canon.”18 Therefore, the canon of the Bible is the list of works which are considered to be authoritative for the Christian community.
The reason that the idea of a canon is important is because it puts boundaries on the material which needs to be understood.19 Clearly the canon itself is not an isolated group of works dropped from heaven down to mankind, but at the same time it does need to be held to a different standard when looking at internal issues as opposed to external issues.20 Just as textual criticism gives rise to a specific single text for the theologian to interpret, so does having a canon limit the breadth of the material to be explored.21 The importance of canon for New Testament Theology (and Biblical Theology) is that it forces the theologian to recognize all of scripture as authoritative instead of developing or concentrating only on a single author or book without relation to any other corpus.22 In response to some of the assumptions of Childs, Barr has stated that if one is going to use the canonical approach to theology, one is unable to speak of the “growth” of theology within the Bible since what matters is the final form of the text.23 Barr also notes that Childs’ approach is able to dismiss non-canonical writings as outside of its purview, which is more of a weakness than a strength.24 If one ignores extra-canonical writings, then one is liable to miss the parallels between Biblical literature and other extant ancient sources.25 Barr next notes that if one is truly going to be canonical, then only canonical categories should be utilized in analyzing the Bible, otherwise any outside philosophical system will be able to dominate the Biblical witness.26 The problem with this last point of critique is that Barr bases it upon Childs use of [greek]omoousiouV[/greek]. If, however, a word captures the essence of the Biblical message while using a word not found in the pages, is it really a foreign notion? Or does Barr want to eliminate only philosophical jargon from being applied to the Bible? In either case what matters is the concept underlying the word and not the word itself, which is something that Barr hints at but does not pursue.27 The canon is a starting point for the material of theology, but Barr’s argument that relevant literature should not be ignored is something which must be weighed in the discussion. By having a closed canon and utilizing the methods of textual criticism, the scope of study for the theologian is limited and finalized so the exegetical work can begin.
Exegesis is often a blanket term used to describe how meaning is taken from the Bible. While this is accurate, it is not helpful nor descriptive. The purpose of this section of the paper is to bring together the various methods used to delve into the meaning of the text in order to understand its message. The difference between Systematic (or Dogmatic) Theology and Biblical Theology will begin to be explored as well. The goal of the Christian theologian is to discern the significance of the Biblical text. Kaiser, sharing this understanding, defines exegesis as “the practice of and the set of procedures for discovering the author’s intended meaning”(italics original).28 Exegesis is comprised of using the various tools and methods applied in a comprehensive and sensitive manner in order to discern the significance and message of the passage as originally intended by the author. Included in this concept of authorial intent is the idea of inspiration, since it is not the human author’s intention alone but the author and the Holy Spirit together who give significance to the words of Scripture (II Peter 1:19-21).29 The problem with exegesis is not the definition, however, it is the practice of it.
One of the first steps in practicing exegesis on a text is to decide on the genre of the text. Most genres carry specific markers which help to signal to the readers what kind of document they are reading.30 For example, epistles generally signal their genre by having an addresser, addressee, and a greeting (though this is not always the case).31 By knowing what genre the literary work is, the book becomes much easier to understand since the form of the message will help in its interpretation.
After a cursory reading in order to discern genre, the next step is to begin looking at the passage which the theologian wishes to exegete. in working in the Greek text, both vocabulary and syntax must be taken into account. Vocabulary is important because of the wide range of meaning that any one word can have. The semantic domain of a word can often be limited by the genre or the usage by a particular author (e.g. the way John uses [greek]alhqeia[/greek] versus the way Paul uses it).32 One also needs to be aware of how much words overlap in meaning and how much they do not. In other words, some terms are glossed by the same word in English but actually have slightly different fields of meaning.33 The exegete needs to pay attention to such differences since the structure of an argument can turn on such a distinction or word-play. In addition, one needs to be careful to the nuances of an author or genre with respect to how words are used, e.g. whether some terms have a technical sense or not in the New Testament.34
Syntax is important because the way meaning is conveyed is through thought units rather than just individual words. Word order in Greek is generally not very significant.35 What matters is the various cases for the nouns and the constructions used for the verbs. Particularly difficult to understand in Greek is the various ways the genitive can be utilized.36 For example, there is a large controversy over how the phrase [greek]pistiV Cristou[/greek] should be understood. Some argue for the meaning “Christ’s faith(fullness)”37 and some argue for “faith in Christ.”38 The ambiguity has to do with the elastic nature of the genitive itself. Thus it is the construction rather than the single word that conveys a particular meaning which is often dependant upon the context. Included under the idea of syntax is the area of how verbs should be understood since two options tend to dominate scholarship: Aktionsart and Verbal Aspect Theory. There is not enough space for a full discussion, but Verbal Aspect Theory tends to fit closer to the data.39
Exegesis is not encompassed by a scientific rubric, as the preceding demonstrates. Often choices for one understanding of a construction or word over another can appear arbitrary or else biased by preconceived notions. While this can be true, the discussion is more complicated because of the various methods used to read the New Testament in the first place. Some theologians employ source criticism, which is a method utilized to discover the sources used by the final author (a designation for the only author or for the person who collected and shaped the materials in putting together the final form of the Biblical book) in composing the canonical form of the text.40 The problem with this method is that it is not even trying to find the theology of the extant documents, rather it is trying to find the theology of the alleged documents behind the canonical books. Form criticism, on the other hand, is the study of the genre of discrete units rather than entire documents.41This is especially helpful in longer documents which need to be broken down into smaller sections in order to analyze the entire text well. Redaction criticism builds directly upon source criticism since it looks for the theology of a document based upon how the final author handles the various sources used and how the final author changes those sources in order to fit them into the final form of the text.42 While this type of study is useful for distinguishing between the theologies offered in the Synoptic Gospels, it does not help in the rest of the New Testament as much. Finally there is literary criticism, which subsumes many other categories underneath itself. Literary criticism is only concerned with the final form of the text, looking at the various books comprising the New Testament through the lens of generic literature instead of any other preconception.43 Literary criticism also includes looking at the rhetorical flow of a text in order to find a structure to the work which often results in finding comparable material from the concurrent epoch.44 These and other different methodologies enable the exegete to analyze Scripture in multiple ways in order to understand the message of the text. The different methods are used to further expand the horizon of the context of a passage. One cannot understand a word without examining the sentence as well, since the meaning of a part can better be understood in light of the whole. This is true for looking at a sentence, where the paragraph gives an interpretive frame. Each piece of context enables the interpreter to better understand the thrust of the passage.45 Thus, context also fits the schema of a hermeneutical spiral. Exegesis deploys the various methods in order to discover the significance of a particular passage.
Exegesis is what brings together the various ways of analyzing Scripture into a single task. The task is to determine what the Biblical text originally meant. However, this means the exegetical pursuit is in some sense a historical pursuit since the original intention of the author is a focus. This then leads to the conclusion that the historical audience and background are also factors in faithfully interpreting a text. It is to the relationship of history and exegesis which must be discussed next.
Clearly there are strong ties between exegesis and history in that exegesis is in many respects an historical reconstruction.46 Does this mean that Biblical Theology and thus New Testament Theology are simply historical pursuits which then form simply the groundwork from which Systematic Theology builds in order to connect with the present day? This is the heart of the matter toward which this paper now turns.
The ideal of history as a purely objective science has long since been discarded for the more realistic understanding that historians are as prone to subjectivity as any other set of scholars. While history as a discipline is supposed to just report the facts as they happened, the facts are often inconclusive and are in need of interpretation. Since no researcher exists in a vacuum, this means the historian’s own biases influence the conclusions reached.47 Instead of making “true history” impossible, this enables the historian to realize the conclusions reached will be biased and therefore need to be subject to further scrutiny and open for critique. History is not a science in that each person who looks at the same equations will come to the same answers. Rather it is prone to interpretation. Exegesis is much the same way since it often relies on the historical background of a place, person, or event to enlighten the reader as to the significance of the words and phrases used.
Exegesis requires the knowledge of vocabulary, which means it requires discrete historical knowledge of certain words (and phrases when dealing with idioms). In addition, parallel secular texts often show similar syntactical structures, thus entailing that the New Testament documents are not a different form of Greek but are sui generis for their era.48 Exegesis also requires a knowledge of the genre since genre is what guides the structure and language choice in many instances. Most of the New Testament is also occasional literature, meaning the author composed the work for a particular audience in a particular situation. Therefore historical knowledge is a prerequisite for exegetical work.
Knowledge of history (or anything) is not a linear path, rather it is a spiral upwards.49 As new information is gained, it is added to the old information. In turn, this impacts the various theories held by the individual, causing mental paradigms to shift and the interpretation of the various pieces of data to be rethought. In order to verify the new theory, more information is sought, thus moving the spiral ever higher.50This model is applicable to all areas of knowledge and not just history.
The historical background of a work will enable the exegete to understand the motivation for the document, whether it be the reason for the writing and not part of the content or else the reason for the writing including the content, i.e. not all sections of a letter are a direct result of the circumstances leading to the composition. The authorial motivation often helps establish the genre of a text, as in the case of I John.51 In this way mirror-reading is important in order to understand the situation causing the composition of the document for texts which do not explicitly give a reason for their existence.52 Is this as far as the historical background is important? Does history only engage the exegete at the levels of genre, syntax, and vocabulary? There are still other areas left to explore.
Parallels in literature have previously been mentioned along with the situation of the intended recipients of the New Testament documents, yet there are further avenues to develop in these subjects. The historical reconstruction of the background of the New Testament documents should not be limited to simply textual matters but should also include cultural factors such as the prosperity of the area, the deities worshipped, and the educational level of the city. The cultural backdrop allows the interpreter to recognize that certain terms or phrases are intentionally appropriated in order to cause a redefinition of old symbols into Christian symbols, such as the polemical use of emperor worship in Revelation.53 One could also assume that significant historical events would be mentioned by the various writers, such as the expulsion of the Jews from Rome as found in Acts 18:2. These provide not only clues as to the date of the events being recounted but also give the situation of the narrative. All of these different pieces of information help to build a full picture from which the exegete is able to extrapolate the reason for certain words, phrases, or themes within a canonical work.
The Gentile background of the New Testament is often a feature overlooked because of the Jewish character of the New Testament authors. However, at the least one author of a canonical work was a Gentile,54 and it is likely that many of the churches in the diaspora were predominantly Gentile as well.55 It is quite likely that some of the New Testament documents were written with Gentiles as all or part of the intended audience. This means that the religious underpinnings of the various cities should be understood in order to delineate what the New Testament authors were trying to keep the recipients from believing, such as the Artemis cult in Ephesus as in Acts 19:24-41. Some of the references to various deities or even to philosophers and poets requires a knowledge of the pagan culture of the day. Therefore the Gentile references in the New Testament will only be understood by looking into the history of the cities and provinces in question.
Also included in such schema should also be the relative Jewish population, or at least those who associate with the synagogue. The reason this factor is important is to recognize the influence of the Old Testament forms on the New Testament writings and to analyze how much was intentional by the author and how much was due to the author’s own saturation in the Old Testament texts. Even non-canonical works such as the Assumption of Moses and I Enoch appear in either allusions or quotations.56 Without recognizing the Jewish roots of the Christian message, such concepts as “Messiah” and “the lamb of God” lose significance. The sacrificial imagery of the Levitical system is integral to the message of the New Testament. The New Testament is, in fact, intentionally built upon the Old Testament not as a new direction, rather it follows the trajectory projected from the Jewish documents and is a realization of the Jewish hope.57 The New Testament, then, is not so much a new testament as it is a fulfillment of the covenant established by God.58
The relationship between the Testaments is not something to be covered quickly, but there is little room to truly delve into the relevant discussions. Such ideas as typology, the part for the whole, and Jewish methods of exegesis would need to be explored just to begin the covering the possible relationships.59 What is clear, however, is that the New Testament is rife not only with quotations from the Old but with allusions to it as well.60The New Testament claims to be an extension of the Old, and therefore the authors utilize the Old Testament as authoritative for the new community. Just as the Old Testament has large themes from the earlier traditions often reinterpreted by the later books, so the New Testament is just an extension of the Old though written in light of the resurrection and the person of Jesus Christ.61 While there are definite differences between the two testaments, the trajectory of the Old is realized in the events and writings of the New.62 Allowing this canonical development to have a voice in the discussion reveals how the New Testament derives its authority from the Old and that the New is an intentional extension of the Old in that the books are composed to expound the Old Testament message of God. The difference is that the hope of the Old Testament, the coming of the Messiah, has been partially realized and there is only the final judgment still to arrive.
History is an integral part of exegesis. The culture of the recipients of the New Testament documents must be taken into account in order to understand the significance of the language choices of the authors. Since Christianity is a new paradigm, it is clear that the writings of the New Testament are both instructional and provocative: they teach those new to the faith what is expected, and they overturn the old way of living and thinking. Historical research enables the exegete to see what the circumstances were that the writings are addressing so that the writings can be better understood. By linking the Old Testament to the New, the theologian acknowledges the stream of development and continuity which gives shape to the Christian writings. History, however, must not be allowed to rule over the text. Since history is itself an interpretation of data, the exegete must be cautious in how those interpretations are employed in reading the text. In order to maintain the integrity of the Bible, history needs to be seen as a complement to instead of as a control over the meaning of the text. Therefore the order for actually doing exegetical work is to work through the passage in the original language, developing a loose translation. Then look at the context of the passage, not just the surrounding verses but the surrounding chapters in order to understand the flow of the argument. Once the close textual work is done, then the various items of history can be brought in to offer help in discerning the significance of the text. The text must speak first, then let the historical background enrich what the Scripture already says rather than reading Scripture through a lens of history.
New Testament Theology
Once the exegetical work can be done and complemented by solid historical research, the task of gleaning theology from the text is able commence. Drawing theology from the text is first done by understanding the message of the text. The Bible is obviously a written work centered on God in that it assumes His existence and all other matters of Scripture are spokes emanating from that central focus. Theology itself simply means the study of God. Therefore New Testament theology, loosely defined, is the attempt to discern what the New Testament says about God. Various structures have been offered to explain the message of the New Testament.63One of the structures involves going through each book and detailing its individual theology and then incorporating this into a larger whole. The individual books are studied for their theological content.64 Another method is to take an individual author and describe their systematic theology.65 Caird decided to take themes and apply the various New Testament voices to them in order to see what the theology of the New Testament was on discrete issues, labeling this the apostolic conference.66The New Testament Theology series looks at individual books in isolation in order to understand their theology.67 Others assume and then argue for a central thesis for the entire canon or the New Testament.68 There are numerous other structures as well, but these are the methods which attend most closely to the Biblical witness.69 Each of these ways of looking at the New Testament have both strengths and weaknesses.
The New Testament includes a diverse group of authors writing about different subjects to different groups of people. This implies that there is not a single voice, rather the New Testament is polyphonic. One of the major strengths of the apostolic conference is that it allows for the diversity within the New Testament by giving each author the right to speak. Looking at individual authors or books also lets each voice speak. The problem with explicating just a single author is that the other books are disregarded, leading to a canon within the canon. If one is truly working out New Testament theology, then all of the New Testament must be examined. The polyphonic model, however, often errs in the opposite direction by stressing the diversity when in fact there is more unity. The same set principles of the foundation of the Old Testament and the life, death, and resurrection of Christ guide all of the New Testament writers. Thus even though the authors are often addressing different concerns to various communities, the message emanates from the same source.70 The other problem with gathering data for a particular issue by surveying all of the New Testament literature is that a theological construct is setting the agenda instead of allowing the Bible to speak in the first place. In using categories to read the text in the first place, there is an artificial constraint placed over Scripture. Rather, Scripture itself needs to set the agenda.
Definitions and Conclusions
New Testament theology, then, is descriptive in that it explicates the person and interactions of God as detailed in the New Testament. This includes who God is, how God interacts with humanity (including Jew, Gentile, Christian, and non-Christian), and how God’s children interact with one another. New Testament theology is practical in that the Bible includes opinion about what is correct behavior and belief and what is not. In order to allow the text itself to set the agenda, the first step of a New Testament theology should be to follow the canonical sequence within the books themselves to recognize what the agenda of each document is. It is only in light of the writing’s own purpose that any theology can or should be drawn from it. By following the order and structure of the document, themes will appear that otherwise might be overlooked. By working from one book to another, the various books will each have their own voice. Once this step is taken, only then should all of the different voices be brought together into a single harmony. By looking at the diversity first and examining each work independently one is able to see the major themes of the books. Since the last step is to bring the different strands together, the final tapestry of a New Testament theology will be a unified whole comprised of smaller patterns. The unity can be found through the points of connection due to common themes and views, including the Old Testament foundation.
Biblical Theology, then, is taking New Testament theology and expanding the horizons to encompass the entire canon. Biblical Theology is finding the theology of each book according to its own internal structure and argumentation, adding it to the other books in the Bible, and bringing the different books together into a single whole united by the points of contact but separated by the disparate concerns and aims of each book. Biblical Theology, like New Testament theology, needs to allow each text speak for itself before bringing in history and the rest of the canonical witness. This allows every part of the Bible to be on equal footing without neglecting historical concerns. The use of the Old Testament in the New is not a unique phenomena which should change how one views Scripture. On the contrary, the Old Testament often interprets itself as later books reflect upon earlier traditions and events. Biblical Theology would thus be formulated according to categories found in the Bible instead of outside categories. Systematic Theology would involve taking the Biblical material and shaping it into categories not used by the various authors of Scripture. There need not be a distinction drawn between what it meant and what it means since what Scripture means now can also be what it meant then. However, not every portion of Scripture is going to speak to every event, therefore Systematic Theology handles the task of putting together the full canonical witness about a topic, whereas Biblical Theology is more concerned with what the Bible says without a topical aim. Dogmatic Theology as a different label for Systematic Theology is therefore a poor designation since Biblical and Systematic Theology are applicable in formulating what beliefs and practices are normative for the contemporary church. Biblical Theology is not purely descriptive and historical in nature, nor is Systematic Theology purely normative only for today. Biblical Theology flows naturally into Systematic Theology.
New Testament theology is a subset of Biblical Theology in that it is the attempt to discern from the New Testament writings what theological convictions and practices were and should still be normative. New Testament theology cannot be gleaned until solid exegesis has been done. Exegetical work involves careful examination of vocabulary and syntax. Next the context of the words, phrases, and pericopes must be looked at in order to understand the structure of the specific passage and the book as a whole. History plays a vital role in informing the exegete about the circumstances in which and to which the book was written, but historical concerns come second to what the text itself says. Finally, what must be remembered above all else is that New Testament theology necessarily is about God. Therefore, New Testament theology is to focus on and reflect who the God is that the New Testament assumes and expounds.
1 See the comments in N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God (COQG 1; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992), 121.
2 Joel B. Green, “Scripture and Theology: Uniting the Two So Long Divided,” in Between Two Horizons: Spanning New Testament Studies and Systematic Theology (eds. Joel B. Green and Max Turner; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 23-43.
3 This is only partially true, as the first question is really what is a text. However, for the purposes of this work, there is only the text of the New Testament itself in view, so this question need not be addressed here. For an introduction to the discussion, see Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Is There a Meaning in This Text? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998), 103-113.
4 Tradition and the level of authority that Scripture carries should also be discussed, but space does not allow for a treatment of this topic. For an introduction to this issue, see Trevor Hart, “Tradition, Authority, and a Christian Approach to the Bible as Scripture,” in Between Two Horizons: Spanning New Testament Studies and Systematic Theology (eds. Joel B. Green and Max Turner; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 183-204.
5 John H. Sailhamer, “Biblical Theology and the Composition of the Hebrew Bible,” in Biblical Theology: Retrospect and Prospect (ed. Scott J. Hafemann; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 25-37.
6 See the complaint registered against commentaries in Moisés Silva, Interpreting Galatians: Explorations in Exegetical Method (Second ed.; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002), 43-50.
7 Michael W. Holmes, “Textual Criticism,” in Interpreting the New Testament: Essays on Methods and Issues (eds. David Alan Black and David S. Dockery; Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2001), 46-73.
8 Vanhoozer, Is There a Meaning in This Text?, 201-280.
9 E.g. Holmes, “Textual Criticism,” 47-48.
10 For a concise and cautious statement of the major rules in use for text criticism in general, see Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament (Rev. and enl.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), 280-81.
11 J. R. McRay, “Bible, Canon of,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (ed. Walter A. Elwell; 2nd ed.; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 155-56.
12 For the dispute over the formation of the canon, see, e.g., M. James Sawyer, “Evangelicals and the Canon of the New Testament,” Grace Theological Journal 11 (1990): 29-52; David Dunbar, “The Biblical Canon,” in Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon (eds. D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), 295-360; Roger Beckwith, The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church (London: SPCK, 1985); and F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture, (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1988).
13 Brevard Childs, Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testament (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993).
14 James Barr, The Concept of Biblical Theology: An Old Testament Perspective (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999).
15 Childs, Biblical Theology, 59-60.
16 Ibid., 60-62. Childs contradicts his own evidence when he calls the Old Testament canon of the church today as “open…in respect to its scope” (63) due to the conflict between the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions.
17 Ibid., 63-64.
18 Ibid., 64.
19 Barr, Biblical Theology, 431.
20 The relationship between the Old and New Testaments will be addressed below as well as the relationship between the Bible and history.
21 Childs, Biblical Theology, 65.
22 Ibid., 67-8.
23 Barr, Biblical Theology, 422.
24 Ibid., 429.
25 Ibid. Admittedly, these parallels are more useful for OT than NT studies, but the use for genre comparison in the NT should not be discounted.
26 Ibid., 429-30.
27 Ibid., 430-31. This point will be addressed more fully below.
28 Walter C. Kaiser, Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching & Teaching (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1981), 47.
29 See the discussion in Michael Green, 2 Peter and Jude (TNTC 18; 2nd ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), 100-03.
30 See the discussion in Grant R. Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1991), 149-260.
31 Robert Wall, “Introduction to Epistolary Literature,” in NIB (Nashville: Abingdon, 2002), 369-391. Wall uses the Pauline Epistles as his example (380-82).
32 Raymond Brown, The Gospel According to John (2 vols.; AB 29-29a; Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966-1970), 1:499-501.
33 Silva, Interpreting Galatians, 52-7.
34 Ibid., 57-61.
35 William D. Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993), 32.
36 See the discussion in Silva, Interpreting Galatians, 64-8.
37 Richard B. Hays, “[greek]PistiV[/greek] and Pauline Christology: What is at Stake?” in The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3:1-4:11 (2nd ed.; BRS; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 272-297.
38 James D.G. Dunn, “Once More, [greek]PISTIS CRISTOU[/greek],” in The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3:1-4:11 (2nd ed.; BRS; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 249-271.
39 See Stanley Porter, Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament, with Reference to Tense and Mood (SBG; New York: Peter Lang, 1993).
40 Scot McKnight, “Source Criticism,” in Interpreting the New Testament: Essays on Methods and Issues (eds. David Alan Black and David S. Dockery; Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2001), 74-105.
41 Darrel L. Bock, “Source Criticism,” in Interpreting the New Testament: Essays on Methods and Issues (eds. David Alan Black and David S. Dockery; Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2001), 106-127.
42 Grant R. Osborne, “Redaction Criticism,” in Interpreting the New Testament: Essays on Methods and Issues (eds. David Alan Black and David S. Dockery; Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2001), 128-149.
43 Jeffery A. D. Weima, “Literary Criticism,” in Interpreting the New Testament: Essays on Methods and Issues (eds. David Alan Black and David S. Dockery; Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2001), 150-169.
44 E.g. the comparison of Romans with Epictetus’ Discourses in Changwon Song, Reading Romans as a Diatribe (SBL 59; New York: Peter Lang, 2004).
45 Kaiser, Exegetical Theology, 69-81.
46 Gordon D. Fee, “To What End Exegesis? Reflections on Spirituality and Exegesis in Philippians 4:10-20,” in To What End Exegesis? Essays Textual, Exegetical, and Theological (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001), 276-289.
47 Wright, People of God, 82-92.
48 E.g. see the argument in Gregory K. Beale, John’s Use of the Old Testament in Revelation (JSNTSS 166; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999).
49 Osborne, Hermeneutical Spiral, 5-15.
50 Wright, People of God, 109-112.
51 For the problem of the genre of I John and how it is impacted by the reconstruction of the occasion, see John R. W. Stott, The Letters of John (Rev. ed.; TNTC 19; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 44-55.
52 Note the cautious discussion in Silva, Interpreting Galatians, 104-8.
53 E.g., see the comments in Grant R. Osborne, Revelation (BECNT; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002), 6-7.
54 I. Howard Marshall, Luke: Historian & Theologian (NTP; Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1978), 220.
55 Wayne A. Meeks, The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), 71-110.
56 See the discussions in Richard Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter (WBC 50; Waco, Texas: Word, 1983), 60-76, 94-101, respectively.
57 Wright, People of God, 280-338.
58 David L. Baker, Two Testaments, One Bible: A Study of the Theological Relationship Between the Old & New Testaments (Rev. ed.; Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity, 1991), 28-30.
59 E.g. Leonhard Goppelt, Typos: The Typological Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New, (ET Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982 [orig.1939]).
60 Beale notes that many of the rough Greek phrases in Revelation occur because of allusions to the Septuagint (Old Testament in Revelation, 320-23).
61 Silva, Interpreting Galatians, 163-67.
62 See the stance of N. T. Wright, The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993).
63 Cf. the discussion in G. B. Caird Caird, New Testament Theology (Comp. and ed. by L.D. Hurst; Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 5-26.
64 E.g. George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Rev. ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000).
65 E.g. James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998).
66 Caird, New Testament Theology.
67 E.g. Klaus Haacker, The Theology of Paul’s Letter to the Romans (New Testament Theology; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).
68 E.g. Charles H. H. Scobie, The Ways of Our God: An Approach to Biblical Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003); and N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God 2; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996).
69 For a longer though still incomplete list, see Dan O. Via, What is New Testament Theology? (GBSNTS; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002).
70 Cf. David Wenham, “Unity and Diversity in the New Testament,” in A Theology of the New Testament (Rev. ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 684-719; and Andreas J. Köstenberger, “Diversity and Unity in the New Testament,” in Biblical Theology: Retrospect and Prospect (ed. Scott J. Hafemann; Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2002), 144-158.
Notice - The featuring of a particular member article does not constitute endorsement of every single item or point of view contained therein by each and every member of TheologyWeb leadership. We strive to have a varied cross-section of representations of differing opinions on secondary Christian issues. The only requirement for the featuring of a particular article is that said article must not contradict the essentials articulated in the TheologyWeb statement of faith found here in our Mission Statementor be blatantly offensive to the Christian worldview of the site Owners.
Last edited by Trout; October 12th 2004 at 04:56 PM."I'm hoping to rope enough corpses together to make a small raft." Mad_Gerbil, D&G
August 3rd 2004, 11:24 PM #2
Re: Our Featured Member Article, From Text to Theology: The Practice of NT Theology
Why do I get the feeling nobody is going to respond to this?For true conversion, click here.
August 4th 2004, 12:11 AM #3
Re: Our Featured Member Article, From Text to Theology: The Practice of NT TheologyOriginally posted by Jaltus
Great topic. Need time to digest.Always reforming. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? (John 5:44)
August 4th 2004, 09:46 AM #4
Re: Our Featured Member Article, From Text to Theology: The Practice of NT Theology
As far as I can tell, Jaltus, you've hit things fine. However, in view of how broad the contents of the article are (you've touched upon a lot), it would have been nice if you would have given Scriptural examples, as Fee does in How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth. In other words, show your points, don't just talk about them. Let Scriptural examples act as your verbs.
Otherwise, good stuff.
August 10th 2004, 09:03 PM #5
Re: Our Featured Member Article, From Text to Theology: The Practice of NT TheologyOriginally posted by Jaltus
As students of patristics and of theological writings of the fathers, we do not have knowledge, but only belief that truth abides in those who have purified their hearts and know God. Our salvation resides in knowing God, and knowing God is the basis of theological knowledge.
So that students of theology are not theologians, but only those who know God...
August 14th 2004, 12:27 PM #6
Re: Our Featured Member Article, From Text to Theology: The Practice of NT TheologyOriginally posted by George Blaisdell
I believe that the spiritual dimension is quite important, but my article was aimed at the mechanistic human-side of the event, not the inspiration.For true conversion, click here.
August 14th 2004, 10:24 PM #7
Re: Our Featured Member Article, From Text to Theology: The Practice of NT TheologyOriginally posted by Jaltus
I believe that the spiritual dimension is quite important, but my article was aimed at the mechanistic human-side of the event, not the inspiration.
In the Orthodox world, a Theologian is trained, often in semi-illiteracy, in the arduous rigors of a monastery, where Christian virtues are acquired, and the grace and mercy of God is attracted... [unlike me, who repels the mercy of God through profligate living in the thrall of my own mind...]
So I offered the post as but a contrast of east to west - Not as any challenge to your efforts...
By Trout in forum Editorial Dept.Replies: 12Last Post: April 23rd 2007, 05:56 PM
By Trout in forum Editorial Dept.Replies: 34Last Post: August 16th 2006, 04:07 PM
By Trout in forum Theology 201Replies: 0Last Post: February 13th 2006, 04:54 PM
By Trout in forum Theology 201Replies: 0Last Post: January 9th 2006, 12:43 AM
By Trout in forum Biblical Languages 301Replies: 0Last Post: August 1st 2004, 11:10 AM