Pekka Pitkänen (University of Gloucestershire)
In this article, we look into the possibility of assimilation of Canaanites into a group of Israelites whose origins lie in Egypt. We examine the topic from a comparative perspective of studies of ethnicity. First, we make a review of the current status of the scholarship about the origins of Israel. We then review how studies of ethnicity have been applied to Old Testament studies. After this, we look at definitions and basic features of ethnicity from the standpoint of ethnic studies. We then apply these insights to determine basic features of ethnicity and ethnic boundaries in early Israel. Subsequently, we look into evidence which suggests that assimilation from local peoples to an Exodus group may well have taken place in early Israel.
Robin Routledge (Rotherham, South Yorkshire)
The recent narrative turn has brought new and helpful insights to biblical studies. This article investigates whether it is legitimate and helpful to look for a possible narrative structure underlying the (generally non-narrative) Book of Isaiah. Starting with the structural model based on the work of A. J. Greimas, it concludes that if this narrative model can be applied to the Book of Isaiah it yields some useful outcomes. It points to the structural unity of the book and helps identify the main theme – in terms of the relationship between God, Israel and the nations, and the role of the Servant of the Lord.
Patrick Gray (Rhodes College, Memphis)
Much of the commentary tradition on Acts 17:16-34 too quickly glosses over the inclusion of Paul's sermon in a larger narrative context, focusing instead on the religionsgeschichtliche background of the speech or its compatibility with Pauline thought as expressed in the epistles. This essay brackets many of the questions that have occupied the history of the interpretation so as to highlight questions of literary and theological function. Close attention to Luke's compositional technique reveals the ways in which the Areopoagus narrative is not aimed at a monolithic Gentile audience but rather engages multiple implied readers while recapitulating many of the leading Lukan motifs in the mission to the Jews. The portrayal of Paul and of the responses of the Athenians to his message is suggestive of how Luke answers for his readers the question posed by Tertullian a century later, 'What hath Athens to do with Jerusalem?'
Sorin Sabou (Baptist Theological Institute, Bucharest)
The meaning and especially the reference of the oJmoivwma in Romans 6:5 is a subject of debate in Pauline studies. This note, keeping in view the two main lines of interpretation ('corresponding reality' and 'form'), argues for a specific different meaning, namely, that of 'representation' referring to a discourse which here in Romans is the proclamation of the death and resurrection of Christ. It does so by giving an important place to the role of the gospel at the start and in the time of 'newness of life'.
Timothy Wiarda (Singapore Bible College)
Analysis of plot structure and Paul's self-characterisation contributes to the ongoing debate concerning the function of the narrative material in Galatians 1 and 2. While such analysis confirms the traditional view that this material aims to establish the credentials of Paul and his gospel, it shows that these chapters also serve a strong paradigmatic purpose. It more sharply defines both the traditional view (by clarifying each episode's distinct contribution to Paul's defence of his gospel and authority) and the example view (by identifying the precise aspects of Paul's life that he presents for imitation).
Denny Burk (Criswell College)
Many commentators and grammarians see 'form of God' and 'equality with God' as semantic equivalents. This semantic equivalence is based in part on the erroneous assumption of a grammatical link between 'form of God' and 'equality with God'. This supposed grammatical link consists of an anaphoric use of the articular infinitive, the being equal with God (to; ei\nai i[sa qew'/). This essay contends that this link has little grammatical basis and should be discarded. The exegetical result is that it is grammatically possible to regard 'form of God' and 'equality with God' not as synonymous phrases, but as phrases with distinct meanings.
Gene Smillie (Christian & Missionary Alliance, Madrid)
This treatment of whether the author refers to Jesus, or more generally to God, as 'the one who is speaking' (oJ lalw'n), in Hebrews 12:25 takes into account the possible relationship of the nearly identical participles lalou'nti in verse 24b and to;n lalou'nta in verse 25a. The antecedent of lalou'nti in verse 24 is problematic; many translations refer to 'the blood that speaks better than the blood of Abel', but this interpolation may be misleading. The author's argument in the near context suggests that the one now speaking from heaven is the same God who spoke from Sinai on earth. The added implication that he speaks through the author's own written words is significant for understanding the hermeneutic of Hebrews.
Greg A. Couser (Cedarville University)
Precisely what is Paul referring to in 2 Timothy 1:8 by to; martuvrion tou` kurivou hJmw`n? The lexical possibilities for to; martuvrion and the grammar of the phrase allow at least three possibilities. Three lines of investigation will be pursued: (1) a contextual and paradigmatic investigation to get at the meaning of to; martuvrion; (2) a more general investigation of the references to Christ in the Pastorals to see if there is any particular stress placed on the actual words and acts of Jesus; and (3) an enquiry into the structure of the immediate context of 2 Timothy 1:8 with a view to its implications for the meaning of the phrase in question. What we will suggest is that the above lines of enquiry at least suggest a plenary sense for the genitive construction. However, in the final analysis, it seems best to see the phrase simply as a reference to the testimony the Lord bore in his word and life to the saving plan of God.
Dissertation SummariesRefined by Fire: Paraenetic Literary Strategies in 1 Peter
J. de Waal Dryden (L'Abri Fellowship, England)
This thesis seeks to address the long-standing question of the overarching agenda of the author of 1 Peter. The search for a unifying purpose behind the epistle has proved a surprisingly difficult problem in the history of Petrine research. Traditionally many biblical interpreters have argued that the author's agenda is consolation, training the eyes of these suffering Christians heavenward to embrace a hope of glory that outweighs the pain of their present circumstances. More recently others have argued the author's aim is to shore up the corporate identity of these churches to combat temptations to cultural isolation and/or assimilation. While both these proposals recognize real authorial concerns, neither is sufficient to explain the agenda of the epistle as a whole. Consolation is, in reality, only a minor theme in the epistle; and the concern for corporate identity, while real, is only one component in the author's overall agenda.