Saturday, 28 November 2009
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Es ist erschreckend, wie stark der historisch-verobjektivierende Distanzierungseffekt einer der Phänomene registrierenden ‘Theologie’ die alttestamentlicheWissenschaft isoliert und sie im Gefüge theologischer Forschungs- und Lehrinstitutionen zu einer unwirksamen historischen Disziplin prägt. Diese Bemerkung sei verstanden als ein weiterer Beitrag zu der von B.S. Childs und R.E. Clements ins Gespräch geworfenen Behauptung einer Krise der Biblischen Theologie [*].
[*]Kraus, Geschichteｳ, 559, cf. 557.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
What Childs seeks to do is to keep together what others drive asunder. The traditional exegesis of the church, whenever it has proposed a meta-sense of the text as a replacement of one of its more foundational senses, has ultimately done a disservice to the church's witness to the Gospel.
Modern, historical-critical exegesis, whenever it has proposed a foundational sense in replacement of the meta-sense a text has within Judaism and/or Christianity, has severed the text from its own "Nachleben," a self-defeating operation.
The Jewish people ... have ... been singled out for the most exalted mission ever entrusted to mankind: to be witnesses, in ourselves, to something beyond ourselves: to be God's "signal of transcendence" in a world in which his presence is often hidden (p. xxiv).Part of this Jewish witness is in the body of tradition it has handed down to us. Again, Sacks puts it thus:
The siddur is ... the book of Jewish faith. Scholars of Judaism, noting that it contains little systematic theology, have sometimes concluded that it is a religion of deeds not creeds, acts not beliefs. They were wrong because they were looking in the wrong place. They were looking for a library of works like Moses Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed. They should have looked instead at the siddur. The home of Jewish belief is the siddur.So, it would seem (to me at least, do correct!), that in order to grasp something of this theological reality, one has to immerse oneself, not only in an exegesis of the particular texts of the Bible, but in the whole of the tradition which it has spawned. Only then is our vision adjusted to be able to "perceive the mystery" (as the Eastern Orthodox theologican Andrew Louth put it) that is hidden within the fragmented parts.
This assumption only works, of course, if we believe that God has been guiding the Jewish people through their history. Again, Sacks not only has this assumption, he also draws hermeneutical implications from it. In regard to the composition of the siddur he says:
The siddur as it exists today is the result of some forty centuries of Jewish history. Yet the result is not mere bricolage, a patchwork of random additions. It is as if the composition of the prayer book has been shaped by an "invisible hand," a Divine inspiration that transcends the intentions of any particular author. Specifically, form mirrors substance. The shape of the prayers reveals the basic shape of the Jewish spirit as it has been molded by its encounter with God (p. xxii).
As far as I can see, the conclusion one must draw from this is the following: God wishes the world to know him, and to this end he has elected for himself a people who must witness to him. Scripture and siddur are the literary products of this people, borne out of an active relationship with this God, and their function is to point beyond themselves to their substance, which is God himself (as the prayers themselves plead: "make the words of Your Torah sweet in our mouths ... so that we ... may all know your name ... " (check out this post on the goal of God's self-revelation). Yet, getting to know this "substance," the God of the text, involves being part of the community, in it's life and practice, and not just being a Biblical scholar. The sum of the Bible is greater than its parts.
There are only two differences here between what Sack's is saying and what Hobbins is saying: the substance of the Scripture is the Gospel, and the elected witnesses are the church (mysteriously grafted into Israel, not replacing it ... though I still need to work on understanding the relation). Sack's "symphony" is Hobbin's "traditional exegesis of the church"/Nachleben; Sack's "substance" is Hobbins' "gospel" or "meta-sense."
Hobbins adds, however, an extra element that I don't see in Sacks or even in Judaism (though I remember from past conversations that I may be wrong here). For Hobbins, the plain sense of the text not only functions as a witness to the substance (it's "spiritual sense," if you will), it also functions as a critical norm over against church tradition. In other words, if the church does too much allegorizing it runs the risk of drowning out the voice of Scripture and subjecting it to foreign ideology. There has to be a constant tension, or dialectic: on the one hand, the plain sense of the text has to be understood in relation to our broader understanding of the substance; on the other hand, our understanding of the substance has to be mediated by the plain sense of the Scriptural witness. The community of faith (church or synagogue) is not allowed to make the text say what it wants it to say, and so must always be willing to critique itself in light of the text.
As for historical criticism, it's main problem is ideological. Though it pretends to objectivity, in reality it has its own presuppositions concerning the nature of the "substance" of the text (I've also made similar comments in a post here on clarfiying the Bible's subject matter. Also, cf. my post of Medieval allegory and historical criticism). By jettisoning Christian tradition, it has adopted another one (modernism, for example).
Monday, 26 October 2009
Nirgends ... sehen wir es geschehen ... , daß die biblischen Zeugen ... , ... außer ... was sie uns ... direkt zu sagen haben, .... nun auch noch einmal um der Deutlichkeit willen so etwas wie ein Stück "Theologie" als Erläuterung eigens dazugeben, wie etwa: "Seht, das sind nun unsere Motive und Argumente gewesen, es so zu sagen, wie wir es taten, die und die Absicht haben wir dabei gehabt, als wir uns mit der Formgebung unserer Texte beschäftigten, dies und das war es, was wir vor allem möglichst kräftig agen wollte[n], um damit zugleich gegen bestimmte Mißverständnisse und Abweichungen und Irrtümer möglichst effektive anzugehen (1986: 18).
Und doch haben wir es in dem sermo de Deo des biblischen Zeugnisses mit "Theologie" zu tun. Bei der Exegese biblischer Texte spüren wir nämlich von Mal zu Mal, daß der Formgebung dieser Texte mit einer großen Mannigfaltigkeit von Tendenzen theologische Reflexion zugrunde liegt (p. 20).
Die Sache [nämlich theología] war der neutestamentlichen Gemeinde sehr wohl bekannt ... als die Frage nach der Gestaltung des christlichen Denkens, Redens, Handelns und Lebens im Licht seines Ursprungs, Gegenstands und Inhalts. Nicht nur die paulinischen und johanneischen, sondern alle Schriten des NTs sind offenkundig auch Dokumente mannigfaltiger, in diesem Sinn 'theologisher' Besinnung und Arbeit, die ihre Autoren damit auch ihren Lesern zugemutet haben. In den Tatsachenberichten wie in den Lehren der Apostel und der Evangelisten steckt ein nicht zu unterschätzendes Maß solcher Reflexion: sie haben sich - das bezeugen die erhaltenen Texte auf der ganzen Linie - die Frage nach dem Sinn und Recht ihres Sprechens, gemessen and dem ihnen vorgegebenen Objekt, gestellt, haben sie, Jeder in seiner Weise (immer im Blick auf die sie umgebende Gemeinde und in Auseinandersetzung mit allerlei besserer oder schlechterer Theologie, die auch in deren Mitte getrieben wurde) beantwortet, und, wie im besonderen die Pastoralbreife zeigen, auch an ihre Nachfolger weitergegeben ... ." (KD IV/3, pp. 1008; cited in Breukelman, p. 35).
Saturday, 24 October 2009
So sehen wir die Propheten der spätpersischen und hellenistischen Zeit mit der Suche nach einem Gesamtwillen Jahwes beschäftigt. Zu diesem Zweck beziehen sie die mannigfachen überlieferten Einzelworte bzw. -texte der vorausgehenden Propheten aufeinander, um das eine Wort hinter den vielen Wörtern aufzudecken und insbesondere das Verhältnis von göttlichem Gerichts- und Heilswillen zu klären. Sie machen dabei, wie oben an Joel 2 gezeigt, keineswegs an der Grenze der prophetischen Schriften Halt, sondern beziehen die großen Texte des Pentateuchs mit ein. Die kanonische Funktion der Prophetie ist weit älter als der faktische Abschluss des prophetischen Kanonteils.And again:
[Am Ende der prophetischen Überlieferung im Alten Testament] steht das Bemühen, die vielfältigen schriftlichen Zeugnisse von einem Reden Gottes durch Propheten zusammenzufassen, aufeinander zu beziehen und nach dem einen übergreifenden Willen Gottes zu fragen. Die Disziplin einer 'Theologie der Prophetie' ist keine moderne Erfindung, sondern längst schon in der späten Prophetie selbst angelegt. Die kanonische Funktion der Prophetie ist weit älter als der faktische Übergang der Prophetie in kanonische Dignität.J. Jeremias, Das Wesen der alttestamentlichen Prophetie, in: ThLZ 131 (2006) 3-14, hier 13f (Hervorhebung im Original).
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
Biblische text sind als Texte der Bibel zu behandeln, das heißt: einer Einheit, die, wenn auch geworden, aus vielen und vielfältigen, ganzen und fragmentarischen Elementen zusammengewachsen, doch eine echte organische Einheit und nur als solche wahrhaft zu begreifen ist. Das bibelstiftende Bewußtsein, das aus der Fülle eines vermutlich weit größeren Schrifttums das aufnahm, was sich in die Einheit fügte, und in den Fassungen, die dieser Genüge taten, ist nicht erst mit der eigentlichen Zusammenstellung des Kanons, sondern schon lange voher, in allmählichem Zusammenschluß des Zusammengehörigen, wirksam gewesen. Die Kompositionsarbeit war bereits "biblisch", ehe die erste Vorstellung einer bibelartigen Struktur erwachte; sie ging auf eine jeweilige Zusammenschau der verschiedenen Teile aus, sie stiftete Bezüge zwischen Abschnitt und Abschnitt, zwischen Buch und Buh, sie ließ den tragenden Begriff durch Stelle um Stelle klären, ließ die heimliche Bedeutung eines Vorgangs, die sich in der einen Erzählung nur eben leicht auftat, in einer andern sich voll erschließen, ließ Bild durch Bild und Symbol durch Symbol erleuchten. Manches von dem, was man "Midrasch" nennt, ist schon in der Bibel selbst, in diesen Zeugnissen einer zur biblischen Einheit strebenden Auslese- und Koordinationsarbeit zu finden, deren stärkstes Werkzeug eine diskret folgerichtige Verwendung von Wiederholungen, Motivworten, Assonanzen war. Wir stehen hier erst am Anfang einer methodischen Erkenntnis. Es gilt den Blick für diese Entsprechungen und Verknüpfungen und überhaupt für die Einheitsfunktion in der Bibel zu schärfen. Dann ergeben sich uns ganz andre Gebilde als die der "Quellenschriften", auf die die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft der letzten Jahrhunderte den Bau der Schrift zurückzuführen sucht; es ergibt sich größere Verschiedenheit und größere Gemeinsamkeit und das in seiner Dynamik erkennbare Werden dieser aus jener. Damit soll nicht gesagt sein, daß man sich nicht mit den Thesen der modernen Wissenschaft vertraut machen solle. Man soll es tun; man soll nur auch wissen, was es ist, das man durch sie erfährt. Thesen kommen und gehen; die Texte bleiben. [*]
Monday, 19 October 2009
A generation ago, lip service was still paid to “keeping up” with scholarship in other languages, even if it was already a custom more honored in the breach than in the observance. For anyone inclined to the old-fashioned view (still widely held in the natural sciences) that serious scholarly inquiry is at least in principle a global enterprise, it can only be disheartening to observe how ofen footnotes in English remain remarkably untouched by directly pertinent recent publications in German, French, or Spanish—and vice versa. Rare is the scholar who bothers comprehensively with the key international publications (Bockmuehl, Seeing, 35)Bockmuehl finds some comfort in the fact that
at least an Anglophone dialogue continues despite the accelerating continental drift separating Europe and America in religious, cultural and geopolitical respects (36).
Saturday, 17 October 2009
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Although the need to provide a far more adequate theological interpretation of biblical law remains primarily the task of the theologian and ethicist, the modern Old Testament scholar can aid in making available pertinent information from his discipline. [*]According to Childs, then, the theologian needs the exegete, yet given the importance of "correct context," the exegete also needs the theologian. In the context of a discussion of the Christian appropriation of Biblical law, here is an example of what Childs thinks the exegete has to offer the theologian as part of the broader dialogue (he calls them "points that must be taken into consideration"):
- The historically conditioned nature of the Old Testament law, which includes the Decalogue, has emerged with an even greater clarity on the basis of close study of Ancient Near Eastern material.
- The Old Testament laws give evidence of having arisen in different historical periods and often performed different functions; there is, however, no clear patter of 'ethical progress' which can be established on the basis of Old Testament texts.
- Most modern New Testament scholars would seriously question whether Jesus ever intended to present 'a higher ethic'. Certainly his relation to the Old Testament was a different one entirely from that represented by the evolutionist.
- Jewish interpretation of the Mosaic law cannot be dismissed by Christians as 'rigid' or 'legalistic' but it must be understood, first of all, on its own terms before engaging in a theological debate with Christian theology.
Again, several points should be made which affect the constructive task of developing an adequate theology of biblical law:
- The idealistic categories which admit divine inspiration only to what is regarded as 'eternally valid' or 'perfect' for all contexts must be firmly rejected in handling the Bible.The theological data of Old Testament law cannot be restricted by an a priori schema of values, symbols, ontology or the like.
- A theology of biblical law must relate specifically to the structuring of the concrete historical life of the people of God, who in ancient Israel, in the first-century church, and today continue to participate both in the kingdom of God and in the world.
- All forms of law, Old and New Testament alike, must be ultimately judged in the light of the living God himself who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ through a life of complete faithfulness under the law.
I look forward to reading the recently published I am the Lord your God: Christian Reflections on the Ten Commandments, to see in what sense these theologians have responded to Childs' proposals.[*] Childs, Exodus, 496.
Saturday, 10 October 2009
a single method of interpretation which takes seriously both the different dimensions constituting the text as well as distinct contexts in which the text functions (1997:61).
1.The Old Testament's witness must be heard in its own voice (as I pointed out in this thread), which means it must be interpreted within its historical, literary, and canonical context. The genre of story, for example, excludes the possibility of having Jesus Christ read back into it, as in this context promise and fulfilment cannot be fused.
2.This literal/historical reading can be extended by placing it within the context of the two part canon. Structural similarities and dissimilarities between both testaments are analysed in which the aim is to pursue a relationship of content. For example, in terms of an understanding of God, it inquires as to which features the two testaments hold in common respecting the mode, intention, and goal of God's manifestations. This theological relationship is pursued both on the level of the textual witness and on that of the discrete matter (res) of the two collections.
3.The pursuit of the theological relationships between the two testaments provides an avenue towards comprehending the greater theological unity of the Christian Bible. The reality which undergirds the two testaments should not be held apart and left fragmented, but be critically reunited. When this reality is confronted, however, the reverse move takes place, as the interpreter is compelled to understand the biblical text from the context of this fuller horizon. In reference to the Old Testament's witness to Christ, this means moving beyond the unique voice of the prophets' testimony to a coming royal figure. Rather,
in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the history of Israel, the texts of both testaments in their fragmentary testimony to God's utterly mysterious purpose of new creation and redemption take on fresh life. Thus, when the interpreter moves from the reality of God manifest in action back to the Scriptures themselves for further illumination, he or she is constrained to listen for a new song break forth from the same ancient, sacred texts. As a result, in spite of generations of scholarly denial, few Christians can read Isaiah 53 without sensing the amazing morphological fit with the passion of Jesus Christ.”In sum, Childs is proposing
“a text-oriented hearing of Scripture by a Christian community of faith which allows biblical texts to resonate from the force of divine reality gained through an encounter with the entire Christian Bible.”
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Some once read the number of Abraham's servants - 318 (Gen. 14:14) - in such a way that it pointed to Christ. On the arbitrariness of this, we might think, most theological interpreters today could agree. What, then, about Rahab's scarlet cord? Does it point to the blood of Christ, as Clement of Rome suggested, and if so, how? Many critical scholars might assert that there is no connection at all between the two, for the Old Testament writer could not have had the later event in mind. By contrast, many precritical interpreters would find such an association clearly willed by the divine Author. Is the color of the cord really ingredient to the story in such a a way that we should connect it to Christ? If a mental association based on scarlet is arbitrary, merely symbolic in itself, does that mean that we cannot read the text in a way the prefigures Christ? Or might it point us toward a deeper narrative connection, coherence that is more inherent within the story? In that case, we might consider how the divinely appointed object served as the sign and means of God's deliverance, typifying how God rescues people and brings them into promised blessing (pp. 50-51).
Monday, 5 October 2009
We thus have different ways of understanding the way in which Jesus is related to the Old Testament. On the one hand, we can take the now well-know heilsgeschichtliche approach, and talk about him fulfilling Israel's narrative. On the other hand, one can take a more "vertical" (rather than "horizontal") approach, and talk about Jesus as the ontological reality which the Scriptures point to at each stage of the way (see my post The need for ontological categories in Biblical exegesis). This kind of move leads to that type of move from "text to subject-matter" known as "allegory" (see my post, What is Christian allegory?).
Friday, 2 October 2009
Die drei Psalmen 22-23-24 sind darüber hinaus durch das Wort צדק verbunden (22,23; 23, 3; 24,5). In ihnen bekommt das Wort eine andere Betonung als in den Psalmen 15-18 (vgl. 15,2; 17,1.15; 18,21.25). War dort von menschlicher Leistung die Rede (die Gerechtigkeit war die Bedingung, in s Heiligtum Einlaß zu bekommen bzw. von Gott erhört zu werden), so ist hier die Gerechtigkeit vorwiegend eine Gabe Gottes. In 22,32 wird die צדקתו, die Gerechtigkeit Gottes verkündet, die sich durch die Rettungstat als solche erwiesen hat. In 23,3 ist von einer Führung Gottes durch die "Pfade der Gerechtigkeit" die Rede. Sie ist als eine Andeutung auf die Tora zu verstehen (vgl. 19,10). In 24,5 ist nun die צדקה die Gabe, die der (gerechte) Tempelbesucher von dem "Gott seines Heils" bekommt (p. 283).
In addition to this, the three Psalms 22-23-24 are connected by the word צדק (Pss 22:23; 23: 3; 24:5). In these Psalms, the word receives a different emphasis to the the one in Psalms 15-18 (cf. Pss 15:2; 17:1,15; 18:21,25). Whereas there the emphasis is on human accomplishment (righteousness is the condition for either entering the sanctuary or being heard by God), here the righteousness of God is primarily a gift of God. The righteousness of God (צדקתו) is proclaimed in Ps 22:32 as something which has been proved itself by an act of salvation. In Ps 23:3 there is talk of being led by God within the "paths of righteousness." This is to be understood as an allusion to the Torah (cf. Ps 19:10). In Ps 24:5 צדקה is now a gift, which the (righteous) visitor to the temple receives from "the God of his salvation" (p. 283).
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Hier ist aber eine wichtige Akzentenverschiebung zu bemerken. Zwischen der Beobachtung der Tora (19,12) und dem Gefallen JHWHs (19,15) steht in 19,13f. das Eingeständnis der eigenen Schuld, was in Ps 15 fehlt. Der Gedanke, daß der Gottesfürchtige schulding ist, ist Ps 15 fremd. Derjenige, der sich schuldig macht, gehört zu einer anderen Gruppe, er verdient nur "Verachtung" (בזה 15,4). Ps 19,13f. ist vom Bewußtsein der eigenen Schuld und der eigenen Unfähigkeit, schuldlos zu leben, geprägt. Der Frevel ist nicht nur bei den "anderen", sondern er ist beim Beter selbst, wie es auch die Geschichte Davids zeigt. Nur wenn JHWH vergibt, nicht aus eigener Kraft kann der Beter schuldlos sein (19, 14 "dann bin ich vollkommen").
Das Gesetz wird nicht aufgehoben, es wird aber durch die Verzeihung ergänzt. Neben das Prinzip der Gerechtigkeit wird deutlich das Prinzip der Gnade gestellt. (pp. 263-264).
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
P. Tillich speaks freely of the reality of the New Being which conquers existential estrangement and makes faith possible. Jesus as the Christ is the symbolic expression of this New Being, and the biblical portrait of this symbol mediates a knowledge of God. Participation, not historical argument, guarantees the event on which faith is grounded as a sign of the continuing transforming power of this reality once encountered by Jesus' disciples. That the Old Testament plays a minor role here is apparently taken for granted.
Saturday, 26 September 2009
the movement to allegory is not at all a movement away from history, but we might say a movement into history, into the significance of the sacred events that are the object of our faith. The literal sense is the object of faith: this is what we are to believe, to believe in, in a God who meets us in history, becomes man in Jesus of Nazareth. The allegorical sense represents our attempt to understand the mystery we discern here. It is a move from fides to intelligentia (p. 116)
Friday, 25 September 2009
The tendency of the historical-critical method has been to concentrate on originality and regard what is not original as secondary: but if we see here a process of inspired utterance and reflection on - comment on - inspired utterance within the tradition, itself regarded as inspired, then we have a more complicated, but, I suggest, truer picture. The formation of the Hebrew Scriptures is an object lesson in the kind of complementarity of Scripture and tradition - or inspired utterance and tradition - that I have outlined. The art of understanding is more complicated, and richer, than an attempt to isolate the earliest fragments and to seek to understand them in a conjectured 'original' context: we hear the voice and the echoes and re-echoes, and it is as we hear that harmony that we come to understanding. As I see it, it is this perception that underlies the notion of 'canon criticism' [sic], associated particularly perhaps with the name of Brevard Childs. (Louth, Discerning the Mystery, 108-109).
Friday, 18 September 2009
Editors are often misunderstood and their work despised. It seems intrusive and short of the original literary mark. They may seem pedantic, mediocre, and mean. The misunderstanding generally depends on taking the token for the substance and in supposing that the mark that they made is all that they meant. The mark is meant for the reader, however, and the reader is supposed to know that any text has a beginning, from which it may be read, and an end to which the reading tends. The signs of editing are signals to read on, pay attention, and look for more. Editors generally did not set out to spoil the text they transmitted and preserved, but they regularly made it more complex, meaningful, and difficult to understand. If there is misunderstanding it is the reader who picks and chooses and shuns the task, rather than the editors who understood what they read, who may be at fault.
Monday, 14 September 2009
I remain critical of those interpreters who attempt to force exegesis into narrowly defined structuralist categories, or who restrict its only legitimate role to synchronic analysis. The relation of the synchronic and diachronic dimensions is an extremely subtle one in the Bible and both aspects must be retained (cf. Childs, Biblical Theology, 98ff.; 211ff.). Basically, my resistance to much of postmodern literary analysis derives from theological reasons. Although I have learned much from modern literary techniques, I differ in my theological understanding of the nature and function of scripture. I regard the biblical text as a literary vehicle, but its meaning is not self-contained. Its function as scripture is to point to the substance (res) of its witness, to the content of its message, namely, to the ways of God in the world. For this reason I remain highly critical of many modern literary proposals, which are theologically inert at best, and avowedly agnostic at worst.Childs, Isaiah, 4.
Saturday, 12 September 2009
Smith is not content with a simple law-versus-grace distinction, nor will he say that Hosea brings something forward that Amos simply did not know. Amos is a true prophet and his account of God is true; God is as Amos says he is. What Smith is struggling with is a penetrating account of the theological reality of God, spoken of in one way by one prophet and spoken of in another way by a successor, but both men speaking truly. It is the subject matter of prophecy—the God to which the prophets refer—that concerns Smith. Even though the prophets may be distinctive figures to be ranged on a historical grid, they are affiliated at a level deeper than even their own grasp of the matter. Smith is convicted of this, and it is this specific theological gravity that keeps his reading drawn within the orbit of older concerns for affiliation, now in a new model that would threaten this aspect in other hands.
… The question is … : Why does Hosea form the lens through which our understanding of God—in relationship to Israel, the nations, time, and creation—is focussed? Why does his particular, comprehensive witness serve best in introducing first Joel and the Amos? Smith finds persuasive the arguments of historical criticism for the priority of Amos before Hosea. But in the end, it is the theologically expansive witness of Hosea that serves to illuminate the more partial account of Amos, in Smith's conception. In this manner, though he works with a fresh model of historical sequence, Smith has intuitively retained the insights that the canonical form itself sought to enforce (131-132, third emphasis original).This brings us to the key ingredient of the canonical approach as understood by Childs (see my article “Childs as Critical and Faithful Exegete,” though be careful with what I wrote in section 2! I'm rethinking that bit) : the witness of Scripture to a single divine reality. Seitz puts it thus:
My basic argument here is that the canonical form, when it is appreciated, even on the other side of historical accounts of priority, anteriority, and posteriority, serves to guard these kinds of crucial theological insights. The prophets are related, not in some easily reconstructed historical or sociological sense, but in the nature of their activity as spokesmen for God. … It is God himself who sees to the affiliation proper to his character, mediated through his servants the prophets (134, emphasis mine).
Friday, 11 September 2009
In relation to the Book of the Twelve (the Twelve Minor Prophets), the example given in my last post was the necessity of distinguishing the different types of juxtaposition found within the Twelve and between the Three (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel). "Proportionality" also needs to be maintained when correlating the general with the particular. Thus, regarding Jonah, Seitz says:
[b]oth the specificity and historicity of Jonah's world of reference, and the larger design within which one is to comprehend that, are guarded in a canonical reading, allowing Jonah to speak from within the witness of the Twelve (148, emphasis mine).Here is a more detailed quote on Obadiah:
Working simply on the basis of Obadiah as in independent work, Childs and others point to the careful way in which Edom retains a distinctive historical specificity, but at the same time has been brought into explicit association with a larger theme—the day of YHWH—in respect of all national powers.1 Neither side of this association has been blurred in the final form of the book. The Day of YHWH theme, whatever else it may be in Obadiah, and in association with Edom, in prominent in the book of the Twelve as a whole. Indeed, for many it is the chief theme under which any number of different editorial moves have been organized in the final form of the collection. Without endorsing this view, it remains a valuable if partial insight. What may be said about the profile of Edom and the nations within Obadiah as a single witness holds true as well for the theme of the Day of YHWH in Obadiah, on the one hand, and in the surrounding witnesses of the Twelve, and the other. That is, the integrity of both realities must be guarded and not merged. (137, emphasis mine; Seitz references Collins, Mantle of Elijah, 70.).To play on a term from Karl Barth, we need a Zusammensehen and not a Zusammenklappen (Barth, Einführung).
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
The question now is not one of whether historical particularity is a feature of Israel's prophetic witness in general or of the Minor Prophets in particular; it most surely is, and the superscriptions appear calibrated to make this aspect clear formally. What is at issue is how one handles this dimension of the witness in a proportional way and in accordance with the formal character of the witness (92, emphasis mine).
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
I will be able to keep my eyes on you here," he said. "I could not have influenced your father. But you I can influence. Why should I give you to Gordon when I can keep you here? I have lost too many students. Too many ... I will take a chance on you, Reuven. I have given you my smicha and will keep my eyes on you to watch how you teach. We will have many fights. But they will be for the sake of Torah (1997: 340).I love that.
Friday, 28 August 2009
Review of G. Michael O’Neal. Interpreting Habakkuk as Scripture: An Application of the Canonical Approach of Brevard S. Childs
This is a review of a book that I just have to read, posted by Heath Thomas to a private blog of which I am a member (with his kind permission, of course!). I will have to read it, not only because it is about Brevard Childs - the subject matter of 50% of my doctorate - but also because it attempts to do exactly what I am attempting to do. Reading Heath's review calms me somewhat, as it seems that he has noted weakness that I think are axiomatic. For example, unless one grasps that Childs' approach is not a method one will not have understood Childs. I also think that one cannot grasp Childs without 1) having read his entire corpus (or at least most of it, the most important book being his massively underread Biblical Theology) and 2) without reading Karl Barth. So, without further ado ...
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Save, O Lord! The King will answer us when we call him.
Save O Lord, the King; may he answer us when we call him.
Monday, 17 August 2009
- The majority of poetic lines in the Psalm involve ellipsis, in which a key word from one colon is elided in the second. For example, in verse 2 we have: "for he has founded it upon the seas // and established it upon the rivers." For he is elided in the second colon.
- This "pattern of ellipsis" can be found in vv. 1, 2, 4b, 5, and 6.
- The words which are elided are the following, in order:
- 24:1 לַיהוה
- 24:2: כִּי־הוּא
- 24:4b: אשׁר (note the deletion of vowels)
- 24:5: יִשָּׂא
- זֶה דּוֹר 24:6
- I've never come across the concept of hidden messages in the Psalms.
- I've never heard that one can isolate elided nouns and make new sentences out of them.
- Why does Seremak think it OK to change the vocalisation of one word, changing the relative pronoun to the noun אֶשֶׁר (happiness)?
- It ignores vv. 7-10, which surely must contribute to the secret message of the whole.
- It assumes that the word "generation" in the psalm is in the absolute state, thus separable from "his seekers."
- אֶ֫שֶׁר is always in the plural in the context of an exclamation (e.g. Ps 1:1) and does not collocate with "receive" (though it can appear with the relative pronoun, cf. Ps 65:5).
- The so-called hidden message seems to be rather lame given 1) the richness of the Psalm and 2) the effort one has to make in order to extract it.