11/1/07

Articles in TynBul 58.2 (Nov.2007)

The Prophetic Voice of Amos as a Paradigm for Christians in the Public Square
Gerald A. Klingbeil (Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, Silang, Philippines) and Martin G. Klingbeil (Helderberg College, Somerset West, South Africa)

Summary:

This study focuses upon the OT prophet Amos and his life, mission, and message in the context of Christians in the public square. After a brief introduction to the concept of the public square, the study introduces important biographical, geographical and historical facts that are relevant in order to understand Amos' prophetic voice in the public square. Amos' message is clearly an international message (Amos 1–2) and a message critical to religious traditions and structures that are disconnected from practical ethical living (Amos 5:21-27). The judgement motif is another relevant topic of Amos' public discourse (Amos 7–9) and while not a popular theme in current discourse needs to be taken into consideration if one would like to learn from Amos' prophetic voice. Finally, Amos exits his public square experience with a word of hope, reminding us that judgement and hope are highly interconnected themes which need to be presented concurrently.

 

The Compassionate God of Traditional Jewish and Christian Exegesis
Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer (University of Aberdeen)

Summary:

The comparison in the Zohar (Noah, 67b-68a) of Noah, Abraham and Moses serves as the starting point of this paper. Its aim is to investigate how traditional Jewish (e.g. the Targum, Midrashim, the Talmud, the medieval commentators) and Christian (e.g. the New Testament, the Church Fathers, Luther and Calvin) exegetes interpret the responses of these three individuals to divine foreknowledge (Gen. 6-7; 18:16-33; Exod. 32:10-14). Two main responses are suggested – intercession and/or proclamation of repentance. As shall become apparent, strikingly similar answers are given. First, foreknowledge is seen by nearly all scholars, regardless of religious affiliation and historical background, as a veiled hint at the possibility of influencing God, with the desired result of cancelling the prediction. Secondly, the majority of scholars read intercession and/or repentance into these texts to a greater extent than the texts themselves warrant. This uniformity suggests that the questions asked are shared by people across the borders of time and specific denominations. Even so, there are differences: Jewish scholars tend to emphasise the motif of intercession, existing or non-existing, on behalf of the guilty, while Christian ones are more prone to stress the idea of repentance.

 

A Discourse Analysis of Matthew's Nativity Narrative
William Varner (The Master's College, California)

Summary:

Discourse analysis (DA) as a discipline of studying written texts has been utilised in literary circles for over fifty years. Its emergence into biblical studies can be traced to the decade of the 1960s and it has been utilised mainly by scholars trained in descriptive linguistics. Although its terminology is still fluid, there is a common core methodology that warrants serious consideration that DA should be employed by NT scholars. Defining it simply as 'grammar above the level of the sentence', the author shows how DA's tools can be employed to indicate how Matthew structured his Nativity narrative to convey his overall message. Scholars should not allow the distinctive terminology of DA to keep them from utilising it as a tool to discern authorial intent in the biblical texts.

 

The Glorification of the Son of Man: An Analysis of John 13:31-32
Peter Ensor (Poynton, Cheshire)

Summary:

The article examines the textual, exegetical and historical questions surrounding John 13:31-32. Accepting the Nestle-Aland text as it stands, the article argues that Jesus is represented as saying, at least in part, that through his return to the Father by way of the cross his divine qualities would be revealed, that he would thereby fulfil the role of the 'one like a son of man' of Daniel 7:13-14, and that God's own divine qualities would also thereby be revealed. These motifs, it is argued, may be traced back to the historical Jesus and may even have been expressed in the context of the Last Supper, where John places them.

 

The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham
James M. Hamilton Jr. (Southwestern Seminary, Houston)

Summary:

Might the blessing of Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 be a direct answer to the curses of Genesis 3:14-19? The curses of Genesis 3 introduce conflict between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, conflict between the man and the woman, with difficulty in childbearing, and conflict between the man and the ground, which is cursed for man's sin. God promises land, seed, and blessing to Abraham. The nations will be blessed through the seed of the woman, seed of Abraham, who crushes the serpent's head. The birth of this seed means that the conflict between the man and his wife is not final, nor will the difficulty in childbearing be fatal. And God promises land to Abraham and his seed, land that hints of a return to Eden.

 

The 'Breastplate of Righteousness' in Ephesians 6:14: Imputation or Virtue?
David H. Wenkel (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)

Summary:

This study examines the long-standing disagreement over the nature of the 'breastplate of righteousness' in Ephesians 6:14. One position argues that the righteousness is external, consisting of imputed righteousness. The other position argues that the righteousness is internal, consisting of Christian virtues. This study includes a brief survey of Paul's usage of spiritual armour in other Epistles and an examination of the Isaianic background of spiritual armour. After examining the metaphor of the 'armour of God' and the context in Ephesians, it is argued that the breastplate is ethical, consisting of virtues that reflect Christ.

 

God's Law, 'General Equity' and the Westminster Confession of Faith
Harold G. Cunningham (Queen's University, Belfast)

Summary:

According to the Westminster Confession of Faith, the only obligation now placed upon the Christian community towards the Old Testament judicial laws is one of 'general equity'. How to interpret these words has often been discussed, mainly because of the very stringent position adopted by the Reconstruction Movement. This article reviews the development of the term 'general equity' in terms of English Law and its subsequent use by theologians. Because of comments by Calvin and others a study is made of the idea in the writings of Aristotle. The practical application of 'general equity' is not without problems, but the conclusion is drawn that it can be implemented in the sense of 'being reasonable'.

 

Dissertation Summaries

Taught by God: Divine Instruction in Early Christianity
Stephen E. Witmer (University of Cambridge)

First paragraph:

This study investigates one aspect of early Christian self-understanding: the conviction of some early followers of Jesus that they had been, and were being, taught by God, in fulfilment of OT prophetic promises (most importantly, Isa. 54:13 and Jer. 31:33-34). The study breaks new ground, as it is the first monograph-length investigation of the idea of divine instruction in the NT, and yields fresh insights into early Christian eschatology, Christology, pneumatology, ecclesiology, and hermeneutics. While concentrating upon the idea of divine instruction in the Johannine corpus, a wider-than-normal approach is taken, with brief chapters devoted also to the Pauline writings and Matthew. This allows for an analysis of the way in which multiple early Christian communities understood the realisation of the OT prophetic promises of divine instruction; both the unity and diversity of NT developments of the idea are noteworthy.

 

Renewing the Mind: The Role of Cognition Language in Pauline Theology and Ethics
Lee S. Bond (University of Aberdeen)

First paragraph:

The main purpose of this thesis is to examine the role of cognition language within Paul's theological and ethical arguments. I begin my study with questions concerning Paul's concept of mind renewal and how this topic relates to both his theology and his ethics. Romans 12:2 is one of the most well known and often quoted verses in all of the New Testament: Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. K√§semann and others have noted that 12:2 is part of a bridging passage that links Paul's doctrinal statements of the previous eleven chapters with the ethical exhortations of chapters 12–16. As such, the verse stands at the centre of Paul's theology and ethics. Nevertheless, there is a problem with how the admonitions Paul delivers in Romans 12–16 follow from and/or are integral to the theological claims of Romans 1–11. I found the proposed solutions to this problem unsatisfactory. Thus, my study challenges the way scholars have traditionally understood the relationship between Paul's theology and ethics, while at the same time offering a new proposal. I argue that Paul uses cognition language to link his theological propositions to his ethical admonitions. Moreover, the apostle's ethical exhortations were directly based on the message and known character of Christ which Paul proclaimed. In short, the thesis explores Paul's understanding of the relationship between the work of Christ, the human mind, and the will.