R.W.L. Moberly, The Theology of the Book of Genesis, Old Testament Theology (New York, CUP, 2009), xxiv + 252 pp.

R.W.L. Moberly, Professor of Theology and Biblical Interpretation at Durham University, has offered up the second book in the new series, ‘Old Testament Theology’ (the other being the volume on Jeremiah by Breuggemann). Many of those who would read this review know that Moberly is my thesis advisor, so I am naturally somewhat predisposed to appreciate his work, and this volume is no exception. Hopefully, however, this review will be helpful to others.

Moberly begins his work by discussing exactly what a “theology of Genesis” should be. He discusses traditional historical criticism and ideological criticism, but proposes his own canonical and confessional theology whereby Genesis is understood “within the context of continuing traditions of faith, life, and thought” (12). Thus, Moberly’s work is significantly different than many “theological” studies of the book of Genesis, and is, in fact quite different than one would expect of a book titled, The Theology of the Book of Genesis.

The content of the book is a series of nine studies of particular texts that have significance for Genesis as received Scripture today, as well as two methodological studies on reading Genesis 1-11 and Genesis 12-50. One of the strengths of this book is (more…)

I have been reading through Samuel lately and I came across a verse that struck me as both interesting and troubling. This post is the first of two posts that will deal with two difficulties of this text. The first difficulty is the issue of divine sovereignty and human free will or responsibility. The second issue is the difficult phrase “God desired to kill them” and the goodness of God. This post will deal with the first issue. 

 

The context of this passage (see 1 Sam. 2:12-25) is that Eli’s sons have been abusing their power as Priests to extort the people. Eli informs them that he has heard bad things about them and he warns them  (by implication) that they are sinning against God. The response to this warning is found in 1 Sam. 2:25b and is as follows:

 

ולא‭ ‬ישׁמעו‭ ‬לקול‭ ‬אביהם‭ ‬כי־חפץ‭ ‬יהוה‭ ‬להמיתם

 

My Translation:  But they did not heed the voice of their father for YHWH desired to kill them. (more…)

My education is beginning to turn towards this thing called “Theological Interpretation of Scripture” (TIS). So, as my reading and my studying turns in this direction, my blogging (as sparse as it may be) will begin to reflect this somewhat. For those who are, like me, new to this discipline, I found the following article very helpful:

S.A. Cummins, “The Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Recent Contributions by Stephen E. Fowl, Christopher R. Seitz and Francis Watson,” Currents in Biblical Research 2/2 (2004): 179-96.

Cummins reviews the works of Fowl, Seitz and Watson as representative of the Theological Interpretation movement. He looks at each of them in terms of 1) their reaction against historical-critical interpretation, 2) their Trinitarian framework, 3) their understanding of Scripture as a Two-Testament text, and 4) their understanding of Scripture and its importance for the Christian community.

Cummins begins by (more…)

The current temperature in Portland, OR = 107!!!

Way too hot!

I just completed my oral exam for my ThM. It was one half a defense of my thesis and one half an oral exam of the coursework that I’ve done here at Western. The good news is that I was given a “pass with distinction.” Whew! I am very happy about this. My time at Western has been very beneficial but I do look forward to being able to move on to new things (and new places).

Now if I can only get this visa process figured out I’ll be set. Thanks to all who have prayed for me and listened to me complain and struggle through this process. It has been a rewarding experience!

 

Another full course that is available online is a course on Biblical Theology by Dr. Gerard van Groningen. Though van Groningen is perhaps not a widely known name, he is a good scholar probably best known for his large work, The Messianic Revelation of the Old Testament, a work that I have interacted with a little, but plan on reading more of in the future. While van Groningen is much more “traditional” (you could probably read that as conservative or fundamentalist but I think traditional is a much less pejorative term) than myself, I benefited greatly from listening to this course for several reasons:

  1. van Groningen is a model Christian scholar. Listening to him lecture is like listening to an old man reflect on a life of faith, whether you agree with him or not, he is worth listening to with respect.
  2. He does attempt to do real pan-Biblical theology that traces through all of Scripture.
  3. His view of the central theme of Scripture as Kingdom, Covenant and Mediator is an interesting and helpful perspective.

 

Thus, I commend to you, his lectures on Biblical Theology available online and on iTunes.

Dr. Gerard van Groningen – OTS215 Biblical Theology (you will need to create a username and password)

Daniel J. Treier, Introducing Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Recovering a Christian Practice (Grand Rapids, MI: BakerAcademic, 2008).

 

Daniel Treier begins his manual on theological interpretation of Scripture by tracing a brief history. Beginning with the reaction against historical criticism and the seminal work of Barth he traces the influence of Barth through his focus on the ‘subject’ of the text, the fact that  “one must enter into or participate in its meaning” and reading “with more attention and love” (p. 16). He traces briefly traces this trend through such scholars as Brevard Childs, David Kelsey, Hans Frei, George Lindbeck, Stanley Hauerwas and Francis Watson (pp. 18-20). After discussing the attempt to recover theological interpretation in the evangelical (pp. 21-25) and Roman Catholic (pp. 25-33) traditions, Treier turns to a brief examination of the ‘Postmodern turn’ (pp. 33- 36). This section functions as both a brief history of and introduction to the issues surrounding this thing called theological interpretation of Scripture.

 

Now Treier turns to the first part of his introduction to theological hermeneutics by examining three common themes held among those who claim to do theological interpretation. The first of these is the attempt to recover ancient Christian practices (ch. 1: ‘Recovering the Past’). Treier notes that there is a resurgence of those trying to recover their Christian heritage by practicing in line with historical Christianity. He identifies three practices that are used in an attempt to recover this ancient Christian practice: 1) reading as piety (pp. 41-45); 2) reading about Christ (pp. 45-51); 3) reading for Christian practice, with a special emphasis on the fourfold sense of Scripture (pp. 51-55).

 

The second chapter deals with the concern of “Reading within the Rule(s).” This chapter is about the practice of interpretation within the context of (more…)