T. Desmond Alexander
Lecturer in Semitic Studies, The Queen's University of Belfast
This article explores two related issues in Biblical Theology: (a) the relationship between the testaments, and (b) the New Testament belief that Jesus Christ fulfils Old Testament expectations concerning a divinely appointed royal saviour or messiah. These issues are discussed from the perspective of the books of Genesis to Kings which, as a continuous narrative, form the backbone of the Old Testament. While many contemporary writers view these books as providing an account of Israel's history (the reality of which is debated), a careful reading reveals that they are equally interested, if not more so, in the fulfilment of divine promises centred on a future king through whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. According to the New Testament, the realisation of these promises, foreshadowed in the Genesis-Kings narrative, comes through Jesus Christ.
EFFECTUAL CALL OR CAUSAL EFFECT? SUMMONS, SOVEREIGNTY AND SUPERVENIENT GRACE
Kevin J. Vanhoozer
Research Professor of Systematic Theology
Trinity International University, Deerfield, Illinois
Classical theism is in danger of being overthrown by the current revolution in theological paradigms. The doctrine of the effectual call affords a good case study of the broader God/world relation: if God's call and divine action in general are interventions, then grace appears ultimately to be a matter of efficient causality-an impersonal relation. Panentheists argue that God need not intervene in the world because the world is in God and, therefore, is open to his general call. On the panentheistic analogy, God is to the world as the mind is to the brain, and divine grace, like the mind, does not intervene but 'supervenes' on the world, God's body. It is not clear, however, whether God's personal agency can be preserved in this model. Rethinking the doctrine of the effectual call in terms of 'speech acts' suggests a new picture for the God/world relation, where the Spirit 'advenes' on the Word to bring about not an impersonal but a uniquely personal effect: understanding.
A NON-POLEMICAL READING OF 1 JOHN: SIN, CHRISTOLOGY AND THE LIMITS OF JOHANNINE CHRISTIANITY
Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Bexleyheath, Kent
This paper offers a new paradigm for understanding the treatment of sin and Christology in 1 John that does not require gnosticising or docetic-like opponents to account for its contours. Both the ethical debate about sin (1 Jn. 1:6-2:11; 3:4-17; 4:20; 5:16-18) and the confessional statements about Jesus (1 Jn. 2:22; 4:2-3,15; 5:1,5,6) can be explained without reference to what the group that has left the Johannine community (2:19) positively believes. The issues at stake focus on the messiahship of Jesus, and the need to reinforce the limits of the Johannine community, not only by right confession but also by right conduct. Failure to keep either part of the dual commandment to believe in Jesus and to love one another (3:23) amounts to apostasy and places oneself outside the boundaries of Johannine Christianity. Confirmation of this approach is found in John's Gospel.
THE THEOLOGY OF DEUTERONOMY 27
Paul A. Barker
Vicar, Holy Trinity Doncaster, Melbourne, and
Visiting Lecturer in Old Testament, Ridley College, Melbourne
The problems of unity in Deuteronomy 27 are usually treated diachronically resulting in an impoverished theological appreciation of the chapter. Rather than offering two equally possible options, blessing and curse, the ceremony on Mt Ebal as instructed here is biased towards curse. No blessings are recited, despite their announcement; the stones are set up on the mountain of curse and the theme of curse brackets the Pentateuch. Nonetheless there is an optimism about the chapter. However this is a result of Yahweh's grace, not Israel's obedience. The provision of an altar and sacrifices and the allusions to the Abrahamic covenant in particular show that Israel stands under Yahweh's grace.
BABEL AND DERRIDA: POSTMODERNISM, LANGUAGE AND BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION
Craig G. Bartholomew
Research Fellow, Cheltenham and Gloucester College of
Higher Education, Cheltenham
This article assesses the challenge postmodernism constitutes for biblical interpretation via an analysis of Derrida's reading of the Tower of Babel narrative. Derrida's setting of the text in play is found to be an unhelpful model for biblical interpretation, but his foregrounding of language in the narrative and the implications of philosophy of language for interpretation are useful. The contours of Derrida's Babelian philosophy of language are explored and its insights noted. It is argued that the ultimate issues in philosophy of language are theological and that Christian scholars need to articulate a Christian view of language.
'BE IMITATORS OF ME': PAUL'S MODEL OF LEADERSHIP
Andrew D. Clarke
Lecturer in New Testament, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen
In a number of letters, Paul urges his readers to imitate certain examples. The principal models are those of himself, Christ and God, but he also directs the attention of his readers to the behaviour of other individuals, and occasionally reminds them of the example of other churches. In addition to these injunctions to be imitators, there are also exhortations that his readers become 'models' for others to imitate. It would seem that both to imitate appropriate examples and to be an example to others are commendable characteristics of the Christian life. In recent years, questions have been asked regarding the motivation behind Paul's use of these injunctions. This article seeks to reconsider the relevant Pauline texts and evaluate the author's use of the mimesis motif.
THE LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
Assistant Professor of New Testament,
University of Lund, Lund
Critical evaluation of the language of the New Testament has been marked in the last two hundred years by conflicting view-points, which can still be heard frequently today. In particular, two positions can be identified: (1) The language of the New Testament is situated within the context of the historical development of written Greek, stretching over the period from Alexander the Great to the first century A.D. Here one might mention contributions by A. Deissmann, J.H. Moulton, A. Wifstrand, as well as my own and that of G.H.R. Horsley. (2) The language of the New Testament is unique and must be viewed as an independent phenomenon, outside of and concurrent with the normal development of the Greek language. Some advocates of this view speak of semiticising Greek (e.g., J. Wellhausen ), while others speak of a special form of Christian Greek, an ad hoc language inspired by the Holy Spirit (e.g., N. Turner ).
THE LXX OF 1 CHRONICLES 5:1-2 AS AN EXPOSITION OF GENESIS 48-49
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Tyndale House
In the middle of the genealogical survey of history in the opening nine chapters of 1 Chronicles we encounter details of the descendants of Reuben (5:1-10). At the very beginning of his genealogy Reuben is described as the firstborn of Jacob. However, before his genealogy proper commences, there is a brief note explaining in what sense he may still be called 'firstborn', despite his misconduct recorded in Genesis 35:22.
MESSIANIC EXPECTATIONS IN THE EARLY-POST-EXILIC PERIOD
Wolter H. Rose
University Lecturer in Semitic Languages, Theological University of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, Kampen
This thesis examines (1) the identity of the coming ruler who is given the name Zemah (tzmch, usually translated 'the Branch'), the main character in the tzmch oracles (Zc. 3:8 and 6:9-15) in the visions in Zechariah 1-6, and (2) the nature of the expectations set on this figure. It is argued that a wrong translation of the word jmx is one of the factors that has led to flawed interpretation of these oracles. The real meaning of jmx, 'vegetation, greenery, growth', implies that the background for the interpretation of the tzmch oracles in Zechariah should not be found in the plant imagery of Isaiah 11:1 (where different terminology and different imagery is used). The use of the tzmch imagery in Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12-13 is analogous to that found in Jeremiah 23:5, where in a time of collapse of the monarchy the same jmx imagery is used to evoke the idea of an intervention by YHWH as the only means for guaranteeing the restoration of the monarchy. In this scenario, 'David' will not contribute, but only receive. The adjective tzdiq in Jeremiah 23:5 does not raise the issue of legitimacy, as has often been claimed, but has the usual meaning 'righteous', an interpretation that can be supported from the context of the passage. The claim that there are many examples of North-West Semitic tzdq meaning 'legitimate' is tested and found seriously wanting.
THE STATUS AND FUNCTIONS OF JEWISH SCRIBES IN THE SECOND-TEMPLE PERIOD
University of Oxford
The thesis conducts a historical investigation into the status and functions of Jewish scribes during the Second-Temple period. The author employs a new approach for the selection and interpretation of the problematic evidence. Chapter One provides an overview of the various strands of previous scholarship on scribes and its major shortcomings. In general terms, the latter are identified as a lack of distinction between evidence from different periods, the creation of an artificial category of Schriftgelehrter/Torah scholar, and a strong bias towards only one of the major sources. The imposition of an artificial category on the ancient sources has led to a conflation of evidence for scribes, sages, rabbis, sophists, and other teachers and experts in the scriptures. The tendency to accept only one major source as historically reliable results at least partly from several apparent contradictions between sources with regard to the functions and status of scribes. On account of differences in the portrayal of scribes in the New Testament, Josephus' writings, and rabbinic literature and their functions in non-Jewish contemporary society, many scholars have tended to accept only one major source as historically reliable while others are neglected or ignored. The contradictions are rarely explained and, in most cases, not even mentioned.