This is a test of the discipline of biblical hermeneutics, which deals with the principles governing the interpretation of Scripture, is presently in crisis. For some time it has been obvious in the academic world that the scriptural texts cannot simply be taken at face value but presuppose a thought world that is alien to …
(ENTIRE BOOK) A clear and helpful explanation of the development of key ideas within the Old and New Testament including the idea of God, man, right and wrong, suffering, paryer and immortality.
(ENTIRE BOOK) A respected New Testament scholar indicates the impossibility of the nineteenth-century German quest for the historical Jesus, and describes a different kind of quest based upon new premises, procedures and objectives. This quest calls for a total encounter with the person of Jesus, and calls upon the seeker himself to make a radical decision.
This book outlines some of the ways scholarly work affects the authority of the Bible for faith.
I approach the question of the authority of the Bible in the dual role of one who is a committed evangelical Christian and one who does historical theology. As an evangelical, I regard the Scriptures to have the place of supreme authority in the life and practice of the church. I believe the church as …
Unless we understand something of life in the first century, says archaeologist Jonathan L. Reed, we have "no chance of understanding Jesus or Paul, Peter or Mary." Archaeological finds provide "an intimate glimpse into the past," he writes; and they help us "imagine the lives of people who were once real not just names in …
The procedure referred to by Dr. Wink has been used by myself and my colleagues in the Guild for Psychological Studies over a period of thirty years. It is based on historical-critical study of the New Testament led by Dr. Henry B. Sharman; on the use of the Socratic method of question and discussion; and …
Book Review: The Literary Guide to the Bible by Robert Alter and Frank Kermode. Harvard University Press, 678 pp., $29.95. Why, with editors the caliber of Robert Alter and Frank Kermode, is The Literary Guide to the Bible (Harvard University Press, 678 pp., $29.95) still something of a disappointment? The moment for such a volume …
Early collections of the sayings of Jesus and notes on his life, written shortly after his death, possibly in Aramaic, and afterwards used in the compilation of the Gospels. First and Second Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians, 50-51 A.D. The Epistle of Paul to the Galatians, 57-58 A.D., date contested. The Corinthian correspondence, probably …
Approximate Chronology of the Old Testament Writings 1. Before the time of David, 1000 B.C. Songs and lyrics, such as the song of Deborah (Judges, chap. 5); the song of the well (Numbers 21:17-18); the song of Lamech (Genesis 4:23-24); the taunt against the Amorites (Numbers 21:27-30); etc. Oracles, such as Balaam’s (Numbers, chaps. 23-24); …
In October 1845, two able theologians debated the Bible’s view of slavery in a public event in Cincinnati that went on for eight hours a day through four long days. Jonathan Blanchard spoke for the abolitionist position, Nathan L. Rice for the position that while the Bible pointed toward the eventual, voluntary elimination of slavery, …
The authority of the Bible is a perennial and urgent issue for those of us who stake our lives on its testimony. This issue, however, is bound to remain unsettled and therefore perpetually disputatious. It cannot be otherwise, since the biblical text is endlessly “strange and new.” It always and inescapably outdistances our categories of …
Woe to him who strives with his Maker, an earthen vessel with the potter! Does the clay say to him who fashions it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles?’ [Isa. 45:9]. With all the decades of scientific research and biblical scholarship that have intervened since the Scopes …
The most recent report from the United Bible Societies states that at least one biblical book has now been translated into 1,884 languages, the New Testament into 670 languages, and the complete Bible into 303 languages. All translators of the Bible must confront certain exegetical problems. There are, for example, textual problems. In I Samuel …
It is Columbus Day, and I am halfway through the Bible survey course that I teach every other year. Twenty students signed up this time, although one dropped out after I asked him to rewrite his paper on the canonization process. The rest have declared "Septuagint" the coolest new vocabulary word, despite the fact that …
The following dialogue began with Professor Lampe’s Easter sermon on the B.B.C. in 1965, which created considerable public discussion and corresondance, followed by Lampe’s more detailed explication and a dialogue with Professor MacKinnon about their different views of the resurrection.
The hermeneutic problem in Christianity is that it seeks an interpretation of a text that is itself an interpretation of the kerygma, which in turn is a proclamation about God in Christ. Ricoeur enters a dialectic with Bultmann’s hermeneutic that includes references to deLubac, Jonas, Kant, Hermann, Barth, Dilthey, Heidegger, Frege, Husserl and Luther.
Biblical criticism has become bankrupt because it was based on an inadequate method, a false objectivism and an uncontrolled technologyism, and was separated from a vital community, making a new paradigm necessary.
Though the Bible is a very human book, it is also a divine book. By common consent the Church for centuries has called it the Word of God. The Bible does not call itself that, for it reserves this term for the message or revelation of God spoken to the prophets and apostles, while in the New Testament the word is "the Word made flesh" to dwell among us as the incarnate Lord. The divine message will shine through with greater richness and power if we understand something of the channels of human fallibility mixed with high insights through which the message comes.
The Bible can be our Scripture only if we take it seriously enough to make an honest effort to understand it and to come to terms with it.
From the beginnings of the Bible to the end, the advance in the idea of God was extreme: Beginning with a territorial deity who loved his clansmen and hated the remainder of mankind, it ends with a great multitude out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, worshiping one universal Father; beginning with a god who walked in the garden in the cool of the day, it ends with the God whom "no man hath seen…at any time."
Paul began Christian literature with these two short letters. Before he was finished with his missionary journeys he had written more than one-fourth of what is now included in the New Testament. In these first letters we see the difficulties that already were besetting the small new groups of Christians, and the patience, skill, and boldness with which their founder looked after their development.
The real message of Jesus, particularly his call of the kingdom is too easily glossed over or superficially understood. Is the meaning of the kingdom prophetic, or is it apocalyptic? What kind of coming kingdom did Jesus expect?
From a survey of current German discussion we may conclude that the proposal of a new quest of the historical Jesus, originally made within the context of the ‘post-Bultmannian’ direction of leading pupils of Bultmann, has broadened itself, not only in traditionally conservative circles, but also by support from the Barthian side as well as from Bultmann himself.
Luke traces the ancestry of Jesus not simply to David and Abraham, but back to Adam the son of God, thus emphasizing his human nature more than his Jewish blood, and preparing the way for his later emphasis on the universal elements in Jesus’ ministry. More than any other evangelist Luke claims to have a historical purpose. His aim is to acquaint himself with all the sources, oral and written, for his work, and to set forth in order the results he ascertains.
Some were still alive who knew what courage and perseverance and faith it had taken to bring about the spread of Christianity through the Roman world, and they felt that it would strengthen the faith and stimulate the zeal of the Christian believers around them to hear the story from the beginning. In such a spirit the physician Luke, perhaps in some city on the Aegean Sea like Ephesus, began to write the story of the Greek mission.
So symbolic and enigmatical is the language of the Revelation of John that few outside of Jewish or Christian circles can have understood its meaning, or guessed that by Babylon the prophet meant the Roman Empire. Its value to the frightened and wavering Christians of Asia must have been great, for it promised them an early and complete deliverance, and cheered them to steadfastness and devotion.
To show his readers the extraordinary value of what they are in danger of throwing away, the writer proceeds to explain to them the messianic priesthood of Christ and its superiority to the old Jewish priesthood. To Jesus’ religious significance the writer couples the practical lesson of drawing near to God through the new and living way which Jesus has opened.
The Empire’s condemnation of the Christians put a peculiar strain upon the churches all over the Roman world. The ignorant masses already regarded the Christians as depraved and vicious and credited them with eating human flesh and with other monstrous practices. But quite aside from this the Empire had adjudged being a Christian a crime punishable by death. In this situation a Christian elder of Rome wrote to his brethren throughout Asia Minor a letter of advice and encouragement.
In James the Christian preacher tells his hearers that life’s trials, vicissitudes, and temptations will perfect character, if they are met in dependence upon God. But his hearers must not merely profess religion, but really practice purity and humanity. They must be doers that work, not hearers that forget.
Who the writer of these letters was, the Asian Elder, is uncertain. There is no need to identify him with the prophet John of the Revelation, although to him the letters have always been ascribed. Perhaps he could have been the one sending them out from Ephesus, one to Gaius, one to the church to which he belonged, and one to that and other churches with the assurance that the Christian experience and belief in Jesus as the Christ would save them from the mistakes of Docetism.
Early in the second century a Christian leader of Ephesus, well acquainted with the early Gospels and deeply influenced by the letters of Paul, put forth a new interpretation of the spiritual significance of Jesus in terms of Greek thought, for Christianity and Judaism by then had parted company. Christianity found itself now, almost totally Greek, Gentile. As a result, Paul had laid great emphasis upon faith in Jesus the risen Christ, glorified at God’s right hand, and had attached little importance to knowing the historical Jesus in Palestine.
The value of these letters lay in the practical direction they gave the churches of their time, showing them how to readjust their high hopes of Jesus’ return and to set themselves to the task of establishing and perpetuating their work. In these little letters we see the church after the lofty enthusiasm of its first great experience settling down to the common life of the common day and grappling with its age-long task.
Who this Jude was we cannot tell. He looks back upon the age of the apostles, asking his readers to recollect how they have foretold that as time draws on toward the end scoffers will appear. A generation after this vigorous letter was written it was taken over almost word for word into what we know as Second Peter.
The Easter experience, that Jesus is the living Lord who claims us as his followers, cannot be demonstrated to be true like a scientific proposition. If the Easter story depends on a corpse come back to life on this physical plane, it would be better to be forgotten. Christ is not a revived corpse. He lives in the fullness of God’s life. He is the life, the truth and the way.
In declaring the historical critical method of biblical research bankrupt, the author calls for a new paradigm that is, a constellation of presuppositions, beliefs, values and techniques that will render the Bible’s content and intent accessible for human development today.
The Old Testament starts with social solidarity so complete that the individual has practically no rights, and achieves at last profound insight into the meaning, worth, and possibility of personal life. The New Testament starts with personalities as in themselves supremely valuable, and conceives the "beloved community" in terms of their free cooperation and the social hope of the kingdom of God the crowning evidence of their faith and loyalty.
Dr. Robinson examines the various factors at work in the study of the “historical” Jesus which crystallized into the consensus that the quest is both impossible and illegitimate.
What did Jesus believe about his own return? Some major attempts have been made within the twentieth century to solve this problem. Some guidelines are surveyed, not for a solution, but for a defensible opinion.
The setting in which the Bible was written: It is necessary to take a glance at the kind of world — physical, psychological, and social — in which the Hebrew people lived.
Gentiles who affirm that Jesus is the Christ implicitly admit that in a profound sense we share in two covenants and are members of two communities: the Church and its predecessor, Israel. In this sense, believing in Jesus makes us all sons of Abraham. This is why we have one Bible in two Testaments.
The author evolves a hermeneutics of Revelation by entering into a dialectic between the concept of biblical revelation as seen in various types of biblical discourse, and the concept of philosophical reason that engages classical and contemporary philosophy in their own categories.
The demand of the newcomers in Galatia that the Christians there should undertake some of the practices of the Jewish law, such as circumcision and the religious observance of certain days, Paul denounces as unreasonable and dangerous. In opposition to these claims, he affirms with his very first words that he is an apostle, divinely commissioned, with an authority quite independent of that of the apostles at Jerusalem.
How and when did these collections of letters and writings become scripture? When the latest book of the New Testament had been written, there was still no New Testament. Its books had to be collected and credited with a peculiar authority before the New Testament could be said to exist. What led to this collection and estimate?
The Bible is a "symposium" of works by a number of persons, composed of many writings, written over a period of hundreds of years, some only preserved in fragments, by unknown authors, written on animal skins (for they had no paper as we know it), with no printing presses to preserve the writing…It’s a marvel we have the Bible at all.
Paul addresses the problems of his Corinthian correspondents from their petty disputes about their favorite preachers to the serene heights of the lyric on love and the vision of the resurrection.
In seeking a philosophy of testimony that can accommodate a concept of the absolute, Ricoeur explores the semantic difficulties involved and concludes that such a philosophy can only be a hermeneutics, that is, a philosophy of interpretation.
There were three main limitations on early Hebrew morals: the field of ethical obligation was tribally constricted; within the tribal circle certain classes were denied full personal rights; and the nature of moral conduct was interpreted in such external terms of custom and ritual as to make small demand on internal insight and quality. The progress made, therefore, in the later stages of the Old Testament, in the inter-Testamental period, and in the New Testament, may be interpreted as the overpassing of these three inadequacies. The thought expressed here is adverse to those who claim apocalypticism as the real creator of the new Testament’s ethic.
A new quest for a historical Jesus must be built upon the fact that the sources do make possible a new kind of quest, working in terms of the modern view of history and the self.
While it is possible to be an intelligent Christian and take the story of the empty tomb as a literal historical fact, Professor Lampe does not. He regards the story of the empty tomb as myth rather than literal history — and a profoundly significant myth.
In suggesting a dialectical hermeneutic as the new paradigm for biblical study, the author critiques the objectification of the Bible in contemporary scholarship, and argues for the use of scholarly critical tools to bridge the gap between the personal spiritual quest and the text, and while using the insights of sociology and depth psychology.
There are two approaches to what the Kingdom of God is. One of them is through form criticism. The other is by formulated composite impressions arrived at through intuitive, emotional, and rational considerations shaped through these impressions.
The historical method does not simply locate the varieties of materials and traditions in the Bible, but it also helps us to detect the pulse which surges through the whole Bible.
While the Resurrection was a fact, attested to by those who experienced it in so far as it could be described in human language, it is not possible to say precisely what the nature of these experiences were. We cannot say that Jesus was actually seen with bodily eyes in a physical form capable of being photographed. But in any case, these “appearances” cannot be “proof” that God exists, but were the way the risen Lord called people to his service and to be a witness that God is, and is a gracious and loving God. Lampe details why he does not take the story of the empty tomb as factual history.
The concept of religious freedom has philosophical respectability only through a hermeneutics of hope based on the eschatology of the kerygma and the resurrection.
Jesus as the Christ is the gauge by which every disclosure of God’s will is measured.
All concepts of suffering found in the Old Testament are also found in the New Testament. Both saw that some human pain and torment are punitive, that some trouble is disciplinary was taken for granted, that in one way or another the cosmic process should not in the end be ethically unsatisfactory, that the whole experience of suffering remained mysterious, but that the climactic element in the New Testament’s contribution to the understanding of suffering is to be found in its treatment of vicarious self-sacrifice.
We need to look backward from Jesus to his heritage to understand how he came to think as he did about the kingdom of God, and forward from his crucifixion and resurrection to observe how the church dealt with his message.
Although the historical existence of Jesus could not be proved objectively by any quantity of the authenticity of his sayings, yet that historical existence can be encountered historically and understood existentially. The existential decision with regard to the kerygma is an existential decision with regard to Jesus.
The first letter did not accomplish the task intended. Paul sets forth again in a conciliatory tone, his ideals and methods in his ministry. In every part of this letter Paul shows that warm affection for the Corinthians which made his difference with them so painful to him.
We lack a transcendent framework in which to interpret the course of our history as a whole. Put theologically, we lack a mythology to understand the meaning of our history. In our situation, then, perhaps the very fact that the Bible speaks of history in mythological terms may be a Word to us.
The idea of the fellowship with God (prayer) development from the unapproachableness to the immediate accessibility of God, and from magical and ceremonial conditions of divine fellowship to the moral fitness of a sincere soul, represents one of the most permanently valuable contributions of Hebrew-Christian religion.
From the stories attributed to Jesus, we glean basic notes in the understanding of the kingdom: The kingdom is both presence and promise; both within and beyond human history; God’s gift and man’s task; we work for it, even as we wait for it.
The good news is that God has now through Christ revealed the true way to become righteous and so acceptable to him. This is accomplished through faith, which is not intellectual assent to this or that, but a relation of trustful and obedient dependence upon God, and is fully revealed through Christ. This letter is an excellent expression of Paul’s theology.
Jesus’ thought centers in a call to the present on the basis of the eschatological event of the near future. He pronounces divine judgement and blessing, and explains God’s other mighty acts (such as exorcism) which he does on the basis of the nearness of the kingdom. This call to the present in terms of the nearness of the kingdom is so central a theme as to produce something approaching a formal pattern.
The Resurrection of Jesus can be seen as the revelation of the nature of his dying. He died the death of a criminal, the death of the cursed. On the other hand, he imposed upon his execution the style of self-oblation. He took the ghastly business of dying and converted it into an act of wholly obedient love. He died, and he was raised.
Where an understanding of the Resurrection of Christ is concerned, historical, philosophical and theological problems are inextricably intertwined. But they do not concern simply the relative lateness of the emergence of the empty tomb tradition They concern much more Christ’s approach to his Passion, the intention with which he confronted his supreme hour.
Where the community recognizes the constructive character of what is claimed in the name of an encounter with God, it believes a man’s confession that God spoke to him and that he heard.
What one can say in the midst of a complex and changing world is that it is still God’s world, and God is still working for good within it. Process Theology is the most promising theological current of our time, and it does not claim that all process is progress. Continuous creation must take place at times against heavy odds.
In the Old Testament even the references to life after death are few; in the New Testament from the beginning the reader is in an atmosphere of radiant hope concerning life eternal. Considered as a whole, the development of ideas in the Bible concerning the future life represents one of the most notable and influential unfoldings of thought in history.
Amid the divisions and differences — with Barnabas, Mark, Peter, the Jerusalem pillars, the Corinthians, the Galatians and their teachers — which attended the career of Paul, it is refreshing to find one church that never misunderstood him, but supported him loyally with men and money when he was at the height of his missionary preaching and when he was shut up in prison.
In the mystery of the Resurrection Jesus is revealed as Lord. His patience is shown as powerful to the overcoming of death itself, and his mercy, shown in the hour of his awful triumph to those who failed him, is now shown to men as a final mercy.
Paul’s belief in the speedy return of Jesus made him attach little importance to freedom or servitude. Hence his attitude towards Philemon’s slave, Onesimus. Still a prisoner at Rome, Paul could not visit Colossae and instruct the Christians there in person, but he could write a letter and send it to them by one of his helpers, who was also to conduct Onesimus back to his master Philemon. The letter to the Ephesians is a general letter to all Christians, and was written by some gifted and devoted follower of Paul, to introduce the collected letters to the churches everywhere, and strike the great note of unity in Christ which the times so demanded.
Scholarly work has both a negative and a positive function. Negatively, it makes certain interpretations impossible, for it insists that we listen to what the text actually says and not simply to what we think it says or ought to say. Positively, it helps us to hear what the writer wants to say; in fact, this is the only real justification for the whole discipline.
In this chapter the author traces some connections between the Christian hope of eternal life and the coming of the kingdom; and indicates the major foundations on which she believes both these forms of faith must rest.
The act of God in Christ is objective, as something built into the structure of the world, even perhaps (as Barth would probably argue) its very foundation.
Mark saw at once the great loss the churches would sustain if Peter’s recollections of Jesus perished, and at the same time he saw a way to preserve at least the best part of them for the comfort and instruction of the Roman believers. Despite the richness of the more comprehensive works of Matthew and Luke, no more convincing or dramatic account has been written of the sublime and heroic effort of Jesus to bring forth the great task of the Kingdom.
The tensions between the ethos of our society and the ethical mandates in the Bible provide an important occasion for the reader to carry on his dialogue with the Bible. Only the Word of God is absolute, and the Spirit of God enables it to work through the Bible. This is the place to learn how to recognize the Word and how to listen for it. This is why the Bible is still Scripture.
The book of Matthew harmonized and unified the diverse materials relating to Jesus’ life and teaching which were available to the writer. And it did these things with an intuitive sense for religious values that has given it its unique position ever since.
There is no Biblical support for singling out homosexuality as uniquely offensive to God or harmful to people.. Evangelicals must eliminate homophobia if the Bible is to remain the sole norm of faith and life in the church. Although evangelicals might have been correct in their basic assessment of homosexuality’s sin, they have been guilty of false argument and misstatement in much of their theological discussion. Until evidence surfaces, evangelicals should gratefully receive the corrections gay advocates can offer, while continuing to assert in love that the traditional position concerning the sinfulness of all homosexual activity is true to the Biblical norm.
Evidence from the conflicting theological heritages of evangelicals reveals polarities Evangelism and social justice, political power and the power of servanthood, the individual and the community, love and justice] — all show a need for dialogue between the competing traditions. The traditions in play are illustrated by the editorial content of four evangelical journals: Moody Monthly, Christianity Today, The Reformed Journal, and Sojourners.
Evangelicals are those who believe in (1) the need for personal relationship with God through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, and (2) the sole and binding authority of the Bible as God’s revelation, but they are at an impasse over the interpretation of major theological matters. The writings of Harold Lindsell, Francis Schaefer, Bernard Ramm, Carl Henry, Clark Pinnock, Dick France, James Packer and others present a range of contradictory theological formulations on such issues as the nature of Biblical inspiration, the place of women in the church and family, the church’s role in social ethics, and the Christian’s response to homosexuality.
The evangelical’s task is to seek prayerfully and humbly within the believing community a consensus theology, one arising out of Biblical, traditional, and contemporary data. Only in this way can the current impasse in regard to Biblical authority be overcome and the evangelical church prove itself to be a continuing authentic witness to the Christian faith in the days ahead.
The creedal stance of evangelicals is that Scripture’s purpose – its message of salvation – is accessible to all and is not limited to the clergy. This chapter addresses the need for a correct methodology (hermeneutic) so that private interpretations can be corrected and fresh stimulus gained for the ongoing theological task of the church.
To deal with issues involving inspiration is more than to make an apologetic appeal to the character of Scripture’s autographs which we no longer possess. It is. instead, to take seriously the issue of theological interpretation. If discussion of inspiration is to prove fruitful in evangelical circles it must move from dogmatic statement to matters of concrete theological judgment. With Scripture’s autographs no longer extant, “Inerrancy” has become a shibboleth, to be defended even at the expense of theological discourse which, however, must be pursued if Evangelicals are to move beyond the impasse.
The events of New Testament history are traced: (1) the birth of Christianity: (2) Paul’s letters; (3) The Gospel and Acts; (4) the books emerging from persecution (Hebrews, I Peter, Revelations); (5) the other letters.
Great ideas in the Bible are traced: 1. God; 2. As Creator; 3. As Judge; 4. As Redeemer; 5. As Father; 6. The view of man; 7. Eternal life; 8. Jesus as Son of God.
Book Review: New Interpreter’s Study Bible. Edited by Walter J. Harrelson. Abingdon, 2,360 pp. The Jewish Study Bible. Edited by Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler and Michael Fishbane. Jewish Publication Society/Oxford University Press, 2,208 pp. The Access Bible. Edited by Gail R. O’Day and David Petersen. Oxford University Press, 2,176 pp. NIV Spirit of the …
This book is an appeal by the author to his colleagues in the community of biblical scholars to change their focus from the paradigm of professional success in their discipline to a more human personal involvement with the Bible’s intent as well as its content.
I have been thinking about the ways in which the Bible is a critical alternative to the enmeshments in which we find ourselves in the church and in society. I have not, of course, escaped these enmeshments myself, but in any case I offer a series of 19 theses about the Bible in the church. …
(ENTIRE BOOK) Paul Ricoeur presents a hermeneutics of biblical interpretation from his position as a philosopher, aided by Lewis Mudge’s clarification of Ricoeur’s thought.
The author analyzes the evangelical’s need to develop a consensus theology, one arising out of Biblical, traditional and contemporary data.
The editor offers an account of the origin and development of this book.
The literary phenomenon of “deconstruction” is regarded by many as an irresponsible fad that has now become passé. Fortunately, most of the wild, irresponsible readings of texts that went under the banner of “deconstruction” are passé. Yet in the same way that the historical performance movement has so deeply influenced classical music that it has …
Jesus’ birth usually gets far more attention than its role in the New Testament warrants. Christmas looms large in our culture, outshining even Easter in the popular mind. Yet without Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 we would know nothing about it. Paul’s gospel includes Jesus’ Davidic descent (Rom. 1:3), but apart from that could exist …
Book Reviews: Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas. By Elaine Pagels. Random House, 241 pp. Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. By Bart D. Ehrman. Oxford University Press, 294 pp. Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament. By Bart D. Ehrman. Oxford …
No one who has been hindered from participating in the joy and fulfillment of sexual union by a constricting view of sexuality handed down in the name of religion will object to the work of those who have liberated sex. So also with the Bible.. But in both cases a further step is in order …
Hans Frei, who died last September at the age of 66 after a very brief illness, was never famous outside the guild of theologians. He was a perfectionist who wrote slowly and published reluctantly. In over 30 years of teaching at Yale he devoted himself unstintingly to his students, often at the expense of …
What did the biblical writers know and when did they know it? That question formed the title of a recent book by William G. Dever. At issue is the historical veracity of the so-called historical books of the Hebrew Bible, particularly the early parts of the narrative that begins in the Book of Genesis with …
Introduction: Historical Jesus Studies as a “School of Honesty” In 1906 Albert Schweitzer commented:”The critical study of the life of Jesus has been for theology a school of honesty.”(The Quest for the Historical Jesus) That is a most revealing observation, and it comes from someone who had just reviewed the efforts by historical Jesus scholars …
The Lord has more light and truth yet to break forth out of his holy Word. John Robinson To begin our discussion of Scripture with the question of how we use the Bible in theology may in itself be misleading. It might imply that Scripture is something I control and which I can manipulate according …
Ninth in a Series: New Turns in Religious Thought The otherwise even flow of my life as a scholar-for-the-church has so far hit two snags. Both have irreversibly changed my course. I was hooked by the first snag in 1962. Having completed work on my Ph.D. except for the dissertation, I was at last established …
E.J. Carnell defined Protestant orthodoxy as "that branch of Christendom which limits the ground of religious authority to the Bible."(1) This major theological pre-understanding underlies my own approach to and use of the Bible. It means that the Bible is the one and only normative pole of theological information and that the claims of tradition …
Introduction The message of the Bible has been distorted through human intervention during the long period of its transmission and translations. This issue of the presence of errors is proved by the historical, theological, linguistic, and critical analyses of different versions. In the modern age, several of the translations are being done without proper analyses …
Having been asked for a personal statement on how I use the Bible in theologizing, I shall attempt one – though not without anxiety. Not that asking a theologian for such a statement strikes me as in any way improper. On the contrary, it is a supremely fitting thing to do, for one’s answer to …
Biblical scholarship of the last half of the 19th century has made it possible to arrange the texts in approximate chronological order as well as develop broad chronological outlines. This book is not written by a technical scholar and not written for technical scholars but for the general public.
What is lacking in the various religious movements of our times is a clear understanding of the life-giving personal and social relevance of the kingdom of God. This gives hope; it calls for repentance and offers renewal; it demands obedience to the will of God; it summons us to love one another. Nothing is more needed in our time or in any other.
Christianity began its world-career as a hope of Jesus’ messianic return; it very soon became a permanent and organized church. The books of the New Testament show us those first eschatological expectations gradually accommodating themselves to conditions of permanent existence.
The purpose of this book is to set forth the teaching of the Bible in such a way as to illustrate the consistency and organic unity of biblical thought: the harmony which underlies the all-too-obvious differences between the two Testaments, the threads of interrelationship which tie together their separate parts in a complex and fascinating …
As a philosopher Ricoeur attempts to develop a hermeneutical phenomenology of biblical interpretation that takes seriously the metaphorically symbolic language of the Bible while asking if it is true, how we can tell, and how we can receive it.
Whenever there’s a really intense fight among American Protestants, sooner or later it seems to turn into an argument over the truth of scripture. At one extreme, some dismiss any appeal to the Bible out of hand and consider “authority” a dirty word. Others confidently assert that only their literalistic interpretations really count as believing …
In 1963 a respected biblical scholar wrote in a popular commentary on Daniel and Revelation, “Should anyone today make minute predictions about events in world history between now and the year AD. 2400, he would not be likely to have an audience. He would merely be labeled a fanatic” (Thomas S. Kepler, Dream of the …
Book Review: The Elusive Messiah: A Philosophical Overview of the Quest for the Historical Jesus By Raymond Martin. (Westview) Elusive Messiah indeed! At the end of the 19th century Jesus was Adolph von Harnack’s teacher of “the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of mankind”; in the early years of the 20th century Albert Schweitzer’s …
A cartoon in the New Yorker shows a man making inquiry at the information counter of a large bookstore. The clerk, tapping on his keyboard and peering intently into the computer screen, and peering intently into the computer screen, replies, "The Bible? . . . That would be under self-help." As the cartoon suggests, in …
List of Abbreviations: BZ, n.F. Biblische Zeitschrift, neuc Folge ChrW Die Christliche Welt EvTh Evan.gelische Theologie ExpT The Expository Times GuT” Rudolf Bultmann, Glauben und Verstehen, Vol. I, 1933. (Vol. II, 1932, is cited from the Engl tr., Essays Philosophical and Theological, 1955.) JBL Journal of Biblical Literature JTS, n.s. Journal of Theologital Studies, new series KD Karl Barth, Kirchliche Dogmatik, 1932 ff. …
When it came out in England earlier this year, The Myth of God Incarnate (SCM Press) raised orthodox hackles and stirred up more public furor than theological works normally do in Great Britain (see Trevor Beeson’s “Debating the Incarnation,” August 3-September 7 Christian Century). Now that Westminster has brought out the book in the United …
This part deals with the theological meaning of historical events as seen in the Old and New Testaments. These events are grouped as follows:
i. Paradise Lost
ii. The Covenant of Faith
iii. The Covenant of Law
iv. The Promised Land
v. The Founding of the Kingdom
vi. David—The Messiah King
vii. Solomon in All His Glory
viii. A House Divided
ix. Elijah—The Troubler of Israel
x. Elisha and the Great Revolt
xi. Amos and Hosea—Heralds of Judgment
xii. Isaiah—Prophet of Faith
xiii. Jeremiah and the New Covenant
xiv. Ezekiel and the Exile
xv. Second Isaiah and the Return from Exile
xvi. After the Return—New Troubles and New Hopes
xvii. The Age of the Maccabees
xviii. Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom
xix. Jesus—Himself the King
xx. The Crucified Messiah
xxi. The Risen Lord
xxii. The Birth of the New Israel
xxiii. The Church at Jerusalem
xxiv. St. Paul—The Missionary
xxv. St. Paul—The Pastor
The End of the Story
The Second Part deals with the abiding assertions or teachings about the nature of God and His relation to man to which Biblical history gives rise. This part includes the following sections:
i. God the Creator
ii. God the All-Powerful
iii. God the All-Knowing
iv. God the Inescapable
v. God the Righteous Judge
vi. The God of Love
vii. God as Man’s Helper
viii. Man as God’s Creature
ix. Man as a Sinful Creature
x. The Unity of Man’s Nature
xi. Man’s Capacity for Redemption
xii. Man’s Need of a Redeemer
xiii. Jesus the Fulfillment of Man’s Need
xiv. Christ our Brother
xv. Life through His Death
xvi Victory through His Resurrection
xvii. The Kingship of Christ
xviii. The Deity of Christ
xix. Salvation by Faith
xx. The Gift of the Holy Spirit
xxi. The Holy Trinity
xxii.. The Church
xxiii. The Ministry
xxiv. The Sacraments
xxv. Life after Death
xxvi. The Goal—Fellowship with God
This part deals with the forms of piety and of personal and corporate existence which Biblical history and acceptance of Biblical doctrine necessarily imply. It includes the following sections:
i. Life under Judgment
ii .Newness of Life
iii. Life in Christ
v. Hearing the Word
vii. Working for God
viii. The Moral Struggle
xxii. Family Life
xxiii. The State
xxiv .Corporate Responsibility
xxv. Social Justice
xxvi. International Relations
Responding to Mudge’s attempt to provide a coherent overview of his writings, Ricouer offers clarifications that trace the paths of his thinking.
The words of the bible were written by men of deep spiritual insight, and through their words God still speaks to us with a timeless message. If this message is to be most fruitfully grasped, whether for cultural enrichment or the deepening of personal faith, we need to understand the Bible’s structure and content.
New Testament study is not a closed system but a living and vigorous discipline, and its progress during the first quarter of the 20th century has been such that some revision is now necessary if the book is to continue to give its readers a sound historical view of the New Testament.
The author gives a general rationale for this book.
Johnston spells out the issues — inspiration, women’s role in the church and family, social ethics, and homosexuality — and presents his plan for addressing them.
Once upon a time biblical studies was focused almost exclusively on historical questions. Scholars’ primary concern was with the history of the texts and with the history of the cultures which produced the texts. Since the 1970s, however, the field has witnessed a proliferation of different approaches to the Bible. These can be roughly grouped …
I have never thought of the progressive church as a response to the religious right or to the conservative or the creedal or orthodox church. From my earliest seminary days, I have always assumed that the progressive church was a response to God’s truth as revealed in Jesus and other enlightened teachers and prophets. It …
The attempt to find new approaches to any field is usually caused by a sense of malaise, of dissatisfaction with the old ways. But woe to the person who tries something new that is not yet in fashion! Several years ago I made my first foray into the use of psychoanalytic models for interpretation of …
New Testament scholar N. T Wright, who has taught at Cambridge, Oxford and Montreal, recently became the canon theologian at Westminster Abbey in London. He is both a vigorous investigator of the historical Jesus and an effective communicator of the gospel. His scholarly works include a two-volume project on the origins of Christianity: The New …
The Protestant reformers of the 16th century proclaimed that God’s word in scripture must serve as the final judge of all human tradition and experience. Left to our own devices we are capable of infinite self-deception, confusion and evil. We therefore must turn to scripture and submit ourselves to it, the Reformers insisted, in order …
Mis – sour – i (mi zoor’ e) n. [<Algonquian, lit., people of the big canoes]. 1. pl.-ris, ri any member of a tribe of Indians … from Missouri [Colloq.] not easily convinced; skeptical until shown definite proof… -Excerpted from Webster’s New World Dictionary (1970 edition) As in medicine, theology names a whole field by one …
Theologian Charles Wood, in The Formation of Christian Understanding (Westminster, 1981) , offers a provocative insight regarding the Bible’s multiple perspectives. Far from presenting a mere problem of interpretation, he contends, the differing and even contradictory texts can lead us to a more vigorous, robust kind of faith. "These disparate elements are not to be …
One who reads the Bible and takes it seriously may very well be surprised by what he or she finds in it. This is as true of the evangelical Christian who claims to heed the Bible as it is of the person who for some reason may think of it as an antiquated and irrelevant …
(ENTIRE BOOK) There is a way of reading the bible which opens the door to vital faith without shutting the door to critical thought.
Early this past summer “evangelical” magazines carried a striking advertisement for a new book by the editor of Christianity Today, the major organ of the postfundamentalist “evangelical” coalition. In boldface type it quoted the author’s assertion that “a battle is raging today. More and more evangelicals are propagating the view that the Bible has errors …
The need for canonical criticism has been addressed elsewhere (for example, in Horizons in Biblical Theology 2 , pp. 173-197). It has emerged in part as a way for the guild of biblical scholarship to respond to a number of stimuli: (1) the increasing charges by many theologians, lay and professional, that biblical criticism has …
Book Review: Isaiah By Brevard S. Childs. Westminster John Knox, 555 pp. Since the publication of his Biblical Theology in Crisis in 1970, Brevard Childs (recently retired from Yale Divinity School) has pursued a single-minded interpretive agenda with passion and imagination: that the legitimate interpretation of the Bible is as the scripture of the church. …
(ENTIRE BOOK) Citing the disconnection if not alienation that exists between the community of biblical scholars and the community of faith, the author calls for a serious reassessment of the driving forces in biblical scholarship, and suggests a new paradigm that holds promise of making the Bible more widely available and humanly applicable.
(ENTIRE BOOK) This book gives an overview of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, showing the consistency and organic unity of biblical thought – a harmony underlying the obvious differences between the two testaments. It is arranged by topics for easy reading.
The human race is a work in progress. Man’s perception of his world changes with each generation. What one generation knew to be right, another discovers to be wrong. For a thousand years the Bible was a work in progress. The world as perceived by Jeremiah is not the world as perceived by Ezra. The …
The series has already gained widespread home use through both rentals and sales (at a modest $19.95) at video stores, Christian bookshops, and discount stores like K-Mart, along with direct mail order. In fact, almost 45,000 units were "pre-sold" for The Nativity, one of the latest titles, before its release. And according to co-creator Joseph …
Easter: that day which follows the harrowing of hell of Great and Holy Saturday; Easter, which turns a terrible Friday into Good Friday. It is almost too brilliant for me to contemplate; it is like looking directly into the sun; I am burned and blinded by life. Easter completes the circle of blessing, and the …
Tom Wright and I see the birth stories quite differently. I do not think they are historically factual, but I think they are profoundly true in another and more important sense. For reasons I will soon explain, I do not think the virginal conception is historical, and I do not think there was a special …
Two preachers articulate contrasting views of authority in a well-known woodcut from the sixteenth century. The Roman Catholic is arrogantly wagging his finger at the congregation and saying, "Sic dicit Papa." The Protestant, his finger humbly pointed at the page of Scripture, declares, "Haec dicit dominus de." The artist, needless to say, was Protestant! Like …
Throughout my career as a biblical scholar I have used the Revised Standard Version of the Bible in my classes. Though I noted its rare deficiencies, I little expected its sequel to be such a thoroughgoing improvement. Indeed, as I examined the New Testament section of the New Revised Standard Version line by line I …
We children of the Enlightenment do not regularly linger over such elusive experiences as dreams. We seek to ‘enlighten” what is before us and to overcome the inscrutable and the eerie in order to make the world a better, more manageable place. We do well in our management while we are awake, and we keep …
(ENTIRE BOOK) Professor Lampe states that the resurrection of Christ certainly was not a resurrection of the physical body and that the “empty tomb” story is as much a hinderance as a help to believing Christians. Professor MacKinnon examines the Easter Narrative in light of the the passion narrative.
I am honored to have been asked to lead the Bible study at this gathering, although it is not without some trepidation I accepted. I am well aware there are many here who could do this equally well or better than I. l: also know there are some who would say that asking Romney to …
(ENTIRE BOOK) The situations out of which each of the books of the New Testament grew, and how each book met that situation.
The more I have tried to comprehend the nature of the Wesleyan tradition and to develop a theological method informed by its distinctive vision of Christianity, the more I have had difficulty understanding my own tradition and myself within the outlines of what most people seem to mean by evangelicalism. On one level this is …
To ask how the Bible functions in theology is like asking how the ground floor functions in a house: there are several possible right answers, and any one of them looks a little silly when spelled out. The self-evident answer is holistically that it is the ground floor. In terms of traffic patterns, you can …
(ENTIRE BOOK) A review of the place of the Bible in our culture, examining the crucial question of what is meant by its being the inspired Word of God. Excellent summary of the geographical, social and religious setting within which the Bible emerged, the stages of its development, the literary types in the Old and New Testaments, and the main themes.
(ENTIRE BOOK) There is a dilemma in understanding the meaning of the Kingdom of God. Various approaches to kingdom study are presented. Among these are included: 1. Dr. Harkness’ own understanding of the kingdom. 2. the Scriptural views of understanding of the kingdom. 3. a theological analysis of the message. 4. The message itself.
Evangelicals are increasingly recognizing the need to ask methodological questions as they do theology. This is not a capitulation to modernity as a few continue to charge. Rather our growing hermeneutical concern is evidence of evangelicalism’s continuing commitment to the lordship of Christ and the authority of-Scripture. How can we better understand and explicate our …
Hell is talked about cautiously, if at all, in mainline churches. Yet the notion of a divinely ordained place of punishment for the wicked after death is deeply embedded in the Christian imagination. How should we think and talk about hell? Why don’t we talk about it? We asked eight theologians to comment. The doctrine …
A friend who wrote his master’s thesis on Paul Tillich was examined for ordination by a group of conservative Lutherans. For more than two hours he seemed to dance around such questions as the virgin birth and Jesus’ miracles. Finally one exasperated building contractor blurted out: “Mr. Johnson, did Jesus walk on water or did …