Articles in TynBul 60.2 (Nov.2009)

A New Explanation of Christological Origins: A Review of the Work of Larry W. Hurtado.

Crispin H.T. Fletcher-Louis (Westminster Theological Centre)

Prof. Larry Hurtado's three-volume work on christological origins has advanced understanding in several key respects and his account is simpler than that of his predecessors. However, it remains an evolutionary, multi-stage model and it is historically problematic. He overstates the case for Jewish opposition to Christ-devotion, minimises the ethical particularity of earliest Christianity and the model suffers some serious internal tensions. His claim that religious experiences gave the decisive impetus to Christ-devotion does not reckon adequately with the implications of social-science study, is not supported by the primary texts and conflicts with the important evidence that visionary and mystical practices were frowned upon in some early Christian quarters. Hurtado presents his work as theologically disinterested. However, he endorses Lessing's radical separation of theology and history and this theologically loaded judgement seems to be reflected in the non-incarnational character of the Christology Hurtado describes.

The Importance of the Noahic Covenant to Biblical Theology.

Aaron Chalmers (Tabor Adelaide, South Australia)

This article seeks to draw attention to the importance of the Noahic covenant to biblical theology. This article suggests that rather than being of only marginal significance, the Noahic covenant is of decisive importance for understanding the broader metanarrative of Scripture. In particular, this covenant establishes the basis or foundation for the story (God's commitment to creation, and in particular, the preservation of life on earth), establishes the parameters of the story (God's activity reaches out to embrace not only humanity, but also the created animals and the earth), and provides an anticipation of the conclusion of the story of redemption (God's judgement on sin, salvation of the righteous, and renewal of creation).

The Markan Narrative's use of the Old Greek Text of Jeremiah to Explain Israel's Obduracy.

Larry Perkins (Northwest Baptist Seminary)

A close reading of the Septuagint (LXX) translation of Jeremiah in conjunction with a careful examination of Markan contexts where Jeremiah materials occur reveals that Jeremiah's prophetic message influences the Markan portrayal of Jesus' words and deeds, especially to explain Israel's obduracy. By examining specific contexts in Mark's narrative (chs. 8, 11, 13, 14) where potential intertextual linkages with the Greek version of Jeremiah's prophecy occur I demonstrate the potential contribution of the Greek version of Jeremiah's material to our understanding of Mark's purpose. His use of Jeremiah material seems to focus almost exclusively on aspects of opposition that Jesus experienced. The general theme of Israel's obduracy, illustrated by the temple cleansing incident, the parable of the tenant farmers, and the prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple seems to provide the thread that the Markan author finds useful to link with Jeremiah's message.

The Identity and Composition of   in the Gospel of John.

Cornelis Bennema (SAIACS, India)

This article examines the referent of the term in the Gospel of John. The debate is whether the term refers exclusively to the religious authorities, to a religious party, to the religious authorities and common people, or simply to the Jews in general. This article makes three contributions to the debate. First, Second Temple Judaism already knew of the term as a broad reference to the adherents of the Judaean religion transcending the earlier ethnic-geographic sense, and John had this particular religious group in mind. Second, is a composite group with the chief priests rather than the Pharisees as its leaders. Third, within , John portrays a shift in hostility from a religious-theological conflict with the Pharisees in the middle of Jesus' ministry, towards a religious-political conflict with the chief priests later in Jesus' ministry.

New Testament Theology Re-Loaded: Integrating Biblical Theology and Christian Origins.

Michael F. Bird (Highland Theological College)

This study examines the problem of balancing the historical and theological components of New Testament Theology. It presents a critique of both Biblical Theology and Christian Origins and finally argues for a 'Theology of the New Covenant' where theology emerges out of the interface of canon and community.

Reading First Peter in the Context of Early Christian Mission

Christoph Stenschke (Wiedenest & University of South Africa)

The present article assesses the relationship of the concept of the Spirit of prophecy in Judaism to Pauline pneumatology. Since the functions and effects of the Spirit of prophecy in Judaism are disputed, the scholarly debate is reviewed, followed by a comparison of the Jewish concept and the Pauline view of the Spirit, demonstrating points of commonality and difference.

Perseverance Within an Ordo Salutis

Ján Hen el (Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica)

Many readers of Ecclesiastes have contrived to discover orthodox meaning for the words of Qohelet. An examination of two such readings reveals the shortcomings of both and paves the way for an alternative understanding of the book. Close analysis of the epilogue reveals that, although partially favourable towards Qohelet himself, the epilogist is unequivocally critical of the sages as a group. It appears that the epilogist may thus have employed Qohelet's words in order to reveal the failure of the sages and warn their prospective students to adhere to the commands of God. The book of Ecclesiastes thus functions as a tract designed to discredit the wisdom movement, using the sage Qohelet's own words in order to do so.

Dissertation Summaries

The Spirit and Sonship: Developing Colin Gunton's theology of Particularity

David A. Höhne (Moore Theological College, Australia)

One of the most enduring themes in the theology of the late Professor Colin Gunton was the importance of the particular­what makes something or someone one thing and not another. Gunton interpreted contemporary thought and practice as either homogenising individuals and things within a social group or going to the other extreme of isolating them from each other. Instead, Gunton proposed that particularity be understood as the eschatological perfecting work of the Spirit in the context of mutually constitutive relationships. That is, persons and things are who and what they are by virtue of their relations with God in the first instance and everyone and everything else in the second. Furthermore, the Spirit previews in the human career of the man Jesus Christ the particularising of everyone and everything in the economy of salvation. This dissertation follows Professor John Webster's general critique of Gunton's work in order to explore, appraise and develop his theology of particularity.

The Relationship Between Powers of Evil and Idols in 1 Corinthians 8:4-5 and 10:18-22 in the Context of the Pauline Corpus and Early Judaism

Rohintan Mody (Christ Church, Virginia Water, Surrey)

This thesis about the relationship between powers of evil and idols in 1 Corinthians 8:4-5 and 10:18-22 proposes a 'co-optative view' that in these passages evil powers are personal supernatural evil beings. For Paul, idols are the spiritually unreal cult images of the pagan gods and, in some cases, are also the gods as conceived by pagans, who are merely imaginary and fictitious (i.e. Zeus, Sarapis, etc. do not exist).

The Holy Spirit and Ethics in Paul: Transformation and Empowering for Religious-Ethical Life

Volker Rabens (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

This dissertation answers the question how, according to the apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit enables religious-ethical life. How does the Spirit transform and empower believers so that they are able to live according to the values set forth by Paul's gospel? In order to answer this question, we look in the first part of the dissertation at an established approach to the ethical work of the Spirit in Paul. We have named this the 'infusion-transformation approach' because it assumes that the Spirit transforms believers substance-ontologically due to its nature as a physical substance. Moral life should be the natural outflow of the transformed nature of the believers which results from this infusion.

Michal, Contradicting Values: Understanding the Moral Dilemma Faced by Saul's Daughter

Jonathan Y. Rowe (Seminario Evangélico Unido de Teología)

Value conflicts owing to cultural differences are an increasingly pressing issue in many societies. Because Old Testament texts hail from a very different milieu to our own they may provide new perspectives upon contemporary conflicts. Michal, Contradicting Values is an interdisciplinary investigation of the value clash in 1 Samuel 19:10-18a that employs insights from Old Testament studies, ethics and anthropology.

Daniel's Son of Man in Mark: A Redefinition of the Earthly Temple and the Formation of a New Temple Community.

Robert S. Snow (Ambrose University College, Calgary)

This study attempts to build upon Professor Morna Hooker's work, The Son of Man in Mark, in which she concludes that 'the authority, necessity for suffering, and confidence in final vindication, which are all expressed in the Marcan [Son of Man] sayings, can all be traced to Dan. 7.' Starting with an analysis of the Son of Man [SM] in Daniel 7, the dissertation focuses on the priestly aspects of the SM and his presentation in the heavenly temple. In light of this particular OT background, Mark's Son of Man redefines the sacred space of the temple around himself. Initially, the SM does so by manifesting the divine presence. However, the temple leaders eventually cause the SM to suffer and die, through which redemption for Jesus' faithful followers is provided and a new temple community is formed. The SM's manifestation of the divine presence and redemptive suffering death finds vindication at the appearance of the exalted priestly SM who comes in the context of a celestial temple.

The Idea of Sin-Impurity: The Dead Sea Scrolls in the Light of Leviticus

Mila Ginsburskaya (University of Birmingham)

My doctoral dissertation explores the connection between sin and impurity in the Old Testament and early Judaism. Although in the last twenty years this topic has provoked an increasing amount of academic interest, there is no agreement among scholars about the definition of the concept of sin-impurity and the scope of its application. In my work I delineate criteria for identifying sin-impurity in Leviticus, re-evaluating and integrating the work of those scholars, who have written specifically about the defiling force of sin (e.g., Klawans and Frymer-Kensky), and those, whose discussion is centred on sacrificial atonement (e.g., Milgrom, Sklar, Gane). With insights gained from the analysis of the biblical texts (particularly Leviticus) I then examine the Dead Sea Scrolls and explore how the redefined perception of sin-impurity in biblical texts can reshape our understanding of that concept at Qumran.

Transformative Discourse in Mark's Gospel with Special Reference to Mark 5:1-20

Stuart T. Rochester (St John's College, Durham)

The study investigates Mark's Gospel as a witness to early Christian theological anthropology. It reads the text as an example of 'transformative discourse' in which the rhetoric of the Gospel works in synergy with its anthropology (the view of humanity that is assumed and promoted by it). The theological anthropology is implicit, but recoverable, and dynamic in that it is oriented toward change. Mark communicates with his audience in ways that challenge them and lead them toward transformation. The story of the man with a legion of demons (5:1-20) functions within this discourse primarily as a most dramatic example (symbolic and perhaps paradigmatic) of the kinds of transformation available to people through positive encounters with Jesus.

The Characterization of the Assyrians in Isaiah: Synchronic and Diachronic Perspectives

Mary Katherine Y. H. Hom (Cambridge)

The Characterization of the Assyrians in Isaiah: Synchronic and Diachronic Perspectives is a literary analysis of every text in Isaiah in which the Assyrians explicitly or implicitly feature. In addition, a few texts regarded by dominant voices in scholarship as referring to the Assyrians are discussed. The general approach of the dissertation is to assume a literary synchronic reading in order to appreciate the narrative artistry and meaning conveyed by the final form of the text and to establish a standard from which diachronic inquiry may proceed.

Isaiah 24:27: Studies in a Cosmic Polemic

William D. Barker (Carthage, Illinois)

Developments in translation theory have externalised processes used intuitively by translators for centuries. The literature on Bible translation in particular over the last half century is dominated by Eugene A. Nida and his protégés in the United Bible Societies (UBS) and Wycliffe Bible Translators whose work is informed by a wealth of inter-cultural experience.
This thesis is a critique of the Dynamic Equivalence (DE) theory of translation propounded by Nida, exemplified in the Good News Bible (GNB), and promoted in non-Western languages by the UBS.


Articles in TynBul 60.1 (May.2009)

Divine Illocutions in Psalm 137: A Critique of Nicholas Wolterstorff's 'Second Hermeneutic'

Kit Barker (Wesley Institute, Sydney Australia)

Recent years have witnessed renewed interest in understanding Scripture as divine communication, a move which reconnects the academy with ecclesiological concerns. Those involved in theological hermeneutics have drawn upon advances in a wide range of disciplines in order to develop and defend their methodologies. From the fields of communication theory and pragmatics, speech act theory has been proffered by some as providing insightful analysis of the anatomy of communication and, in particular, authorial intention. Nicholas Wolterstorff's, Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim that God Speaks is representative of such works. Drawing heavily upon speech act theory, Wolterstorff defends a model of interpretation that prioritises authorial intention. Furthermore, Wolterstorff's conviction that Scripture is both human and divine discourse leads him to a two-stage hermeneutic. This paper will offer an explanation and critique of Wolterstorff's move from the first to the second hermeneutic in his interpretation of Psalm 137. It will conclude that while Wolterstorff's method does account for the divine intention in part, it ultimately suffers from both a limited connection to speech act theory and a failure to appreciate the nature of communication at higher (especially generic) levels. In addressing these methodological deficiencies, the paper will present Psalm 137 as an authoritative canonical text by clarifying how it continues to function as divine discourse.

Jeremiah, Judgement and Creation

Hetty Lalleman (Spurgeon's College, London)
Building on a German publication by Helga Weippert, it is argued that the idea of creation can already be found in Jeremiah, not just in Isaiah 40–55. Jeremiah 4–5 has parallels in Genesis 1–2 as well as in Jeremiah 33, and there is insufficient ground to assume that Jeremiah 33 represents a post-Jeremiah development, as Weippert suggests. Jeremiah uses not only the covenant as a framework for his proclamation of judgement and doom but also creation.

The Magnificat: Cento, Psalm or Imitatio?

Robert Simons (Universidad FLET, Bogotá, Colombia)
Scholars have long noted the prominence of LXX words and themes in the Magnificat (Luke 1.46-55). Various attempts have been made to explain this prominence. Some have suggested that the Magnificat is a sort of cento, others that it is modelled upon the OT Psalms. This study will propose that it is an example of what was known in the Graeco-Roman rhetorical tradition as speech in character ( ) employing the technique of imitatio, and will show that many details in the text of the hymn seem to support this hypothesis.

Hating Wealth and Wives? An Examination of Discipleship Ethics in the Third Gospel

Christopher M. Hays (Wolfson College, Oxford)
The Gospel of Luke often couples instructions on the proper use of wealth with teachings on family relations, sometimes addressing these topics in a tone that smacks of antipathy. The present essay contends that the twin 'hostilities' towards wealth and family in the Gospel of Luke derive from theological roots, specifically, from Luke's endorsement of the imitation of Christ and his teaching on eschatological judgement. To support this thesis, and to delineate certain contours of Lukan ethics, this investigation offers examinations of Luke 9:57-62; 14:25-35; and 17:20-35.

Jesus' Resurrection and Collective Hallucinations

Jake H. O'Connell (Westfield, Massachusetts, US)
This study is divided into two parts. Part I examines modern accounts of collective religious visions. Five factors make it very likely that such visions are collective hallucinations. Part II examines whether the same is true of Jesus' resurrection appearances. The evidence indicates that if the resurrection appearances were collective hallucinations, hallucinations of glorious appearances of Jesus would have occurred alongside hallucinations of non-glorious appearances. Since the Gospels relate only non-glorious appearances of Jesus, hallucinations can only be maintained as an explanation if the original tradition of glorious/non-glorious appearances was changed to a tradition of purely non-glorious appearances. However, there are strong reasons to believe that the early church would have preserved, not eliminated, traditions of glorious appearances, had such existed. The lack of glorious appearances in the Gospels is therefore an indicator that the appearances were originally non-glorious and thus not hallucinations. Thus, collective hallucinations provide an inadequate explanation for the resurrection appearances.

Reading First Peter in the Context of Early Christian Mission

Christoph Stenschke (Wiedenest & University of South Africa)
This paper argues that 1 Peter should be read against the background of early Christian mission. The readers of 1 Peter have a predominantly Gentile background. The letter assures these Gentile Christians that they now share the status and spiritual privileges of Israel. However, this cherished status also includes an existence as exiles and strangers in the world they live in. This experience was hitherto unknown to them. As God's people they have a new task: to share their faith in Christ by conduct and by word. Their experience of slander and persecutions cannot and need not bring their calling into question but is part and parcel of being God's people in the world.

Perseverance Within an Ordo Salutis

Ján Hen el (Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica)
Even the most exhaustive definitions of distinct elements of salvation cannot provide a comprehensive picture unless they are set in relationship to each other. In the following, we shall seek to put these distinct elements in an order. We shall do that with the initiating elements of the spiritual life, which will then enable us to link them with the progress of the believer's life. That in turn will prepare the ground to redefine the doctrine of the perseverance of believers within such a revised order.

Dissertation Summaries

The Abomination of Desolation in Matthew 24:15

Michael P. Theophilos (Melbourne, Australia)
The primary research undertaken in this study concerns the meaning of in Matthew 24:15. The significance of this study is to propose a revised model for understanding the enigmatic Matthean phrase through a contextual exegetical approach which gives due weight to Old Testament intertextual prophetic echoes. Because of the primary association of the phrase with Antiochus Epiphanes in the Daniel narrative, commentators have almost exclusively argued for a 'pagan' (contra Jewish) referent in relation to Matthew 24:15 (and synoptic parallels). Alternatively, we argue that within the Matthean narrative, the (abomination) refers to Israel's covenantal infidelity, particularly her rejection of Jesus as Messianic King, and the (desolation), is the natural consequence of her disobedience, in this case Yahweh's punishment of Jerusalem through Roman intervention. In this sense, Matthew has been deliberately structured to reflect a Deuteronomistic framework, in that chapters 5–7 and 23 function as blessings and curses respectively. That Matthew's presentation of Jesus' lament over Jerusalem (23:39) seeks to emphasize Israel's culpability in rejecting her Messianic King, provides the appropriate framework for understanding the Matthean apocalypse (ch. 24), which primarily refers to the destruction of Jerusalem through the advent of the Son of Man. The idea that Jerusalem's destruction was engendered by Israel's infidelity is a common motif in first and second century AD Jewish pseudepigraphical material such as The Apocalypse of Abraham, The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch, The Greek Apocalypse of Baruch, 4 Ezra (2 Esdras 3:3-14), The Book of Biblical Antiquities and Josephus.