The Origins of Jesus-Devotion: A Response to Crispin Fletcher-Louis.Larry W. Hurtado (University of Edinburgh)
The critique of my work on Jesus-devotion by Dr. Fletcher-Louis (in a previous issue of this journal) combines an essentially correct brief summary of some broad contours of my views and a few interesting points for further discussion; but, unfortunately, the main criticisms are often directed against over-simplified or exaggerated portrayals of my views, and also involve at least one serious red herring. In this brief response, therefore, I try to correct and clarify some key matters in the hope of promoting a more productive discussion of the remarkable devotion to Jesus that characterised earliest Christianity.
Continuity, Discontinuity, and Hope: The Contribution of New Testament Eschatology to a Distinctively Christian Environmental Ethos.Jonathan Moo (Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St Edmund's College, Cambridge)
This article focuses on the interpretation of three textsRomans 8, 2 Peter 3, and Revelation 2122to develop the exegetical basis for a distinctively Christian perspective of the future that has important implications for how we understand our task in and for the created world. I propose that the diverse ways in which the NT portrays the future of the earth, taken together, provide an indispensable resource for the development of a Christian environmental ethos. I argue that this resource is not rendered more valuable by well-intentioned attempts to collapse the different emphases that emerge from, say 2 Peter 3 and Romans 8, into one version or the other. Nonetheless, I also argue that the contradiction that is often felt to exist between these different portraits of creation's future is not so acute that we cannot identify vital strands of continuity between them; and, most importantly, that the ecological ethos that emerges from serious reflection on the implications of these visions is as radical as it is consistent with the OT prophets in their stern calls for righteousness and justice to be realised on earth.
On Generating Categories in Theological Ethics: Barth, Genesis and the Ständelehre.Brian Brock (University of Aberdeen)
Though the doctrine of creation is often invoked in Christian ethics, its relation to the book of Genesis remains obscure. The dominance of an ethics of principles among Christian ethicists and exegetes provides one reason for this obscurity in methodologically oversimplifying Scripture in order to make it more accessible for a specific type of modernist ethical methodology. The main emphasis of the article is to investigate the linkages Karl Barth drew between the book of Genesis and the doctrines of Christology and creation in his Church Dogmatics vol. III. While Barth makes important methodological advances on a Christian ethic of principles, his treatment of the doctrine of creation is found to underplay the distinctive thought structures of Genesis 14. A brief final section suggests that Luther's doctrine of the three estates comprehends Barth's best methodological insights, and in addition, was explicitly formulated as a reading of the biblical text of Genesis. Drawing on the work of Hans Ulrich, I conclude that an updated version of the Ständelehre addresses the systematic problems noted in a Christian ethic of principles and Barth's doctrine of creation, so yielding a more biblically faithful framework within which a Christian ethic of creation can be developed.
Did God Create Chaos? Unresolved Tension in Genesis 1:1-2.Robin Routledge (Mattersey Hall)
OT writers appear to use imagery found in other Ancient Near Eastern texts and portray creation as God's victory over, and transformation of, 'chaos'. This is sometimes associated with the expression tohu wabohu, translated 'formless and empty', in Genesis 1:2 (NIV). Recent interpretations of Genesis 1:1-2 imply that this chaos existed before God began his creative work. A more traditional view is that Genesis 1:1 implies that the cosmos was created out of nothing. This paper argues that Genesis 1 does point to God as the originator of all things, and also to creation as an ordering of chaos, with little attempt to resolve that tension. More important is the theological significance of holding these ideas side by side. One points to the transcendence, power and pre-existence of God. The other understands creation as a process, in which chaos, not unbeing, is the opposite of creation. This allows the possibility that chaos may return as a result of human sin (e.g. in the flood), and that new life and hope may be brought to desperate situations such as the exile (also portrayed as a return to chaose.g. in Jeremiah 4:23).
Complete v. Incomplete Conquest: A Re-Examination of Three Passages in Joshua.T. A. Clarke (Westminster Theological College, Australia)
Most commentaries and articles regarding the book of Joshua take as a starting point an apparent contradiction between a complete and an incomplete conquest. Surprisingly, as Kitchen observes, there has not been a 'careful and close' reading of the passages taken as evidence of a complete conquest (i.e. Josh. 10:40-43; 11:16-23; 21:43-45). This article seeks to fill that gap in the literature. A close reading of these passages suggests that the author carefully describes the extent of the conquest. It seems the apparent contradiction regarding these passages has been overstated.
'Theological Interpretation' and its Contradistinctions.John C. Poirier (Kingswell Theological Seminary, Ohio)
The label 'theological interpretation' has been used recently as a technical term to denote a certain approach to Scripture. This development is most unfortunate, not least because it implies that other approaches, especially historical criticism, cannot be equally theological in focus. The use of this term in such an artificially narrowed way creates the false impression that anyone wanting to do exegesis in the service of the Church must do so according to the particular practices of the 'theological interpretation' movement. The implied argument is hardly an argument at all, and it promotes a number of poor hermeneutical habits.
Forgotten Guardians and Matthew 18:10.Erkki Koskenniemi (Åbo Akademi University, Finland)
'See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven' (Matt. 18:10 NIV). Modern commentators have not reached a consensus on the context of this verse, nor on the angels mentioned. First, whether those who are guarded are children or ordinary Christians is undecided. Secondly, some scholars deny that single Christians have an individual guardian angel. However, because early Jewish and Christian sources have by no means been thoroughly researched, evidence found thus far can probably help clarify the kind of angels Jesus was referring to. Surprisingly, angels whose mission was to avenge the evil made to children have been widely overlooked by scholars.
Editio Critica Maior: An Introduction and Assessment.Peter M. Head (Tyndale House and University of Cambridge)
A review article on: Novum Testamentum Graecum: Editio Critica Maior Vol. IV Catholic Letters (ed. by Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Gerd Mink, Holger Strutwolf, and Klaus Wachtel); Instl. 1: James, Pt. 1. Text, Pt. 2. Supplementary Material (Stuttgart 1997; 2nd rev. impr., Stuttgart 1998); Instl. 2: The Letters of Peter, Pt. 1. Text, Pt. 2. Supplementary Material (Stuttgart 2000); Instl. 3: The First Letter of John, Pt. 1. Text, Pt. 2. Supplementary Material (Stuttgart 2003); Instl. 4: The Second and Third Letter of John. The Letter of Jude, Pt. 1. Text, Pt. 2. Supplementary Material (Stuttgart 2005).
Translation Technique and Theology in the Septuagint of Amos.W. Edward Glenny (Northwestern College, St. Paul, Minnesota)
The goal of this dissertation is to describe and analyse as exhaustively as possible the translation technique and exegetical practice of the translator of the Septuagint of Amos. Two other works were especially influential on this study. Jennifer Dines had already done exegetical spadework in LXX-Amos, which was built upon in this work, and James Palmer's study of translation technique in LXX-Zechariah provided a methodology that could be applied to another of the LXX-Twelve to compare the translation technique in LXX-Amos with Palmer's conclusions concerning LXX-Zechariah.The contributions of the present dissertation were possible because it builds on these previous works.
From Fratricide to Forgiveness: The Ethics of Anger in Genesis.Matthew R. Schlimm (University of Dubuque Theological Seminary)
In the first book of the Bible, every patriarch and many of the matriarchs have significant encounters with anger. However, scholarship has largely ignored how Genesis treats this emotion, particularly how Genesis functions as Torah by providing ethical instruction about handling this emotion's perplexities. This dissertation aims to fill this gap in scholarship, showing both how anger functions as a literary motif in Genesis and how this book offers moral guidance for engaging this emotion.