Tuesday, 30 October 2007

A Post on Childs on Brueggemann on the OT

I'm delighted to see that Stephen from Emerging from Babel has posted a detailed, clear and well thought out response to Childs' critique of Brueggemann's Theology of the Old Testament. Stephen quotes some very significant sections of Childs' essay and then attempts to illustrate how Childs' approach fails to come to terms with the genuine theological diversity present in the Old Testament, with its consequent failure to meet the pastoral needs of the contemporary church. His primary accusation is that Childs 'harmonizes' what should remain an unruly text, and he does this with the Book of Ecclesiastes as his case study.

This is a great post and well worth a visit, especially as it illustrates the classic critique of Childs that is found amongst a lot of scholars today. Needless to say, as a 'Childsian' I don't feel that his critique has really got to the heart of what Childs is about, and I have responded in his comments about this (particularly what it means to speak of 'Qohelet' in the first place, and the implications of this). Despite this, if you're interested in how do exegesis 'properly', especially if you context is 'ecclesial', then give him a read (and, of course, what I consider, in my humble opinion, to be my necessary corrective in the comments section ... ).

This has inspired me to wright my own response to this little dialogue between Brueggemann and Childs (Brueggemann responded to Childs' critique in the article), which I hope to post as soon as possible. My starting point will be the confusion caused by their use of the common term 'ecclesial context', which they actually understand very differently.

This article can be found in The Scottish Journal of Theology 53 no. 2 pp. 228 - 33 (2000), "Walter Brueggemann's Theology of the Old Testament. Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy." followed by "A Response to Professor Childs".

  • On a slightly different note, I'd just like to link to inabitatio dei's absolutely fascinating post on the ontological implications of the resurrection. I'm still trying to find time to read through it, but he says mouthwatering stuff like:

" The resurrection invites and requires theological-ontological discourse, but this discourse must constantly be referred back to the event which birthed it. The resurrection always sends us back to the ontological drawing board, demanding that we constantly revise our notions of being in its light."

Why do I dig stuff like that (I ask myself, wishing I could uncover the weird clock that makes me tick)?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up, Phil. I just add my thoughts on Eccl to the comments of Stephen's latest post. I can’t help but think that the central issue in this case is our presuppositions about OT texts and our method(s) of "hearing" these texts.

Phil Sumpter said...

You've made some great points, thanks. We seem to be in agreement, and I've responded to you there.