Francis WATSON (University of Aberdeen)
It is widely believed that the Christian Bible is merely an anthology of the religious literature of ancient Israel and the early church, and that to speak of its 'unity' or 'coherence' is no longer possible. But biblical unity is still an issue where one seeks to understand the texts in their relation to God, and there are two main ways in which this issue is typically presented: biblical unity may be grounded in the process of divine inspiration which is believed to have generated these writings, or it may be grounded in a theory of providential ordering. The problem with both approaches is that they fail to reflect on the relation between scripture and the gospel, the proclamation of what God has done in and through Jesus and his Spirit which, for Christians, lies at the centre of the testimony of both Old and New Testaments. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul struggles to articulate an evangelical hermeneutic for scriptural interpretation, over against opponents who hold no less 'high' a doctrine of scripture than he does. This evangelical hermeneutic is not simply imposed on the texts from the outside, but identifies fundamental elements in the dynamics of these texts, notably the promise/law polarity. In broad outline, Paul's argument can serve as a model for our own attempts to rethink scriptural unity.
Yesterday, Today, Forever: Time, Times, Eternity in Biblical Perspective
Henri BLOCHER (Fac. Lib. de Théol. Evangélique, Vaux-sur-Seine)
The topic of time and eternity in relation to God is fraught with difficulties. Whatever hints there are from biblical language of Scripture's teaching, they need to be supplemented by a more global and theological use of Scripture. The philological-exegetical arguments for the 'classical' view, which entails the antithesis of time and eternity, go in each case a little beyond what the evidence clearly warrants. Sober considerations prompt us to look for an alternative to pure timelessness, but not to go to the opposite extreme. Scripture witnesses both to God's unchangeable possession of his unbounded life and to the authentic renewal of his grace every morning, a renewal that appears to hold a true meaning for God himself.
Shining the Lamp: The Rhetoric of 2 Samuel 5-24
David G. FIRTH (Wesley Institute for Ministry and the Arts, NSW)
2 Samuel 5:24 is here read as a literary unit that covers the whole of the reign of David over Israel and Judah. It is argued that there is an intentional rhetorical pattern that is evident in the literary structure of these chapters, and that the aim of the whole section is to suggest a positive assessment of the whole of David's reign. This assessment is directed towards the exiles, offering hope because of the continuing validity of the promises to David.
1 Corinthians 7 in the Light of the Jewish Greek and Aramaic Marriage and Divorce Papyri
David INSTONE-BREWER (Tyndale House, Cambridge)
The first half of this study explored 1 Corinthians 7 in the light of the Graeco-Roman Greek and Latin marriage and divorce papyri.1 These papyri showed that much of 1 Corinthians 7 has its basis in Graeco-Roman vocabulary and social structures. The believers at Corinth were facing the problem that divorce under Graeco-Roman law was legally complete when the dowry was returned and the couple separated. Comparisons with Jewish marriage and divorce papyri show that the lifestyle and morals that Paul wishes the Corinthians to adopt are based primarily on the Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament. This is illustrated from both Greek Jewish papyri, which show a Judaism thoroughly embedded in the Graeco-Roman world, and Aramaic papyri, which use concepts very closely aligned to Paul's. Ultimately Paul wishes to take them beyond the Jewish models to the teaching of his Lord, and at significant positions Paul is found to stand in contrast to all the contemporary marriage and divorce papyri.
The Theology of the Cross as Theology of the Trinity: A Critique of Jürgen Moltmann's Staurocentric Trinitarianism
Dennis W. JOWERS (New College, Edinburgh)
Jürgen Moltmann consistently portrays Christ's death and resurrection as a deadly dialectic between Father, Son, and Spirit which, in his view, constitutes the decisive revelation of the divine Trinity. The idea of the Trinity which Moltmann derives from these events, however, undermines central doctrines of Christianity: specifically, the permanence of God's triunity; his impassibility and immutability; and the distinction between Christ's two natures. By denying these doctrines, Moltmann defeats his efforts to restore the Trinity to the centre of Christian theology and to construct a theodicy adequate to the dispute between Christianity and protest atheism.
Terminological Patterns and the First Word of the Bible: tyçar(b)
Wilfried WARNING (Schulzentrum Marienhöhe, Darmstadt)
Close reading of the final text of the Pentateuch has brought to light three linguistic linkages based on the nouns 'rashit' (beginning), 'Omer', and 'aharit' (end). According to the text's extant Endgestalt the two nouns 'beginning' and 'Omer' overlap in their respective seventh positions, and the two antonyms 'beginning' and 'end' in the seventh and seventh-from-last/twelfth positions. The conjecture has thus been corroborated that the text has been carefully composed by its ancient author.
The Role of Eyewitnesses in the Formation of the Gospel Tradition
Peter M. HEAD (Tyndale House, Cambridge)
The place of eyewitness reports within the formation of the gospel tradition remains controversial in contemporary gospel scholarship. This review article explains and engages critically with an important recent attempt to examine this subject, Samuel Byrskog's, Story as History – History as Story. The introduction highlights the importance of the subject, and the lack of thorough treatments. We turn firstly to consider Byrskog's first book, Jesus the Only Teacher, and then turn to a detailed exposition of the arguments, strengths and weaknesses of his new book.
Dissertation SummariesThe Power of Saving Wisdom
Cornelis BENNEMA (London Bible College)
Salvation is one of the most fundamental concepts of the Christian faith. Questions such as 'What is salvation?', 'How does one enter into salvation?' and 'How does one stay in salvation?' must be answered adequately in order to understand the Christian faith. To these important questions a further one is added, namely, 'What is the role of the Spirit in all this?' This thesis examines the Fourth Gospel to address these questions and looks especially at the concept of W/wisdom (wisdom being that what personified Wisdom possesses or gives) because this concept is found to be significant in explaining the relationship between Spirit and salvation.
Family Matters in Thessalonica
Trevor J. BURKE (Pacific Theological College, Fiji)
Recent insights of classical historians concerning the family in antiquity have generated interest in the relationship between the ancient family as a social institution and the notion of early Christian communities as 'families' or fictive kinship groups. This thesis combines these twin aspectsthe family as social reality and metaphorin order to explore the relations between Paul and the Thessalonians and the Thessalonians' relations to one another. An in-depth investigation of 1 Thessalonians is justified since it is here that we find a heavy preponderance of fictive-kinship terms (e.g. father, child, nursing-mother, brother. etc.).
After the New Perspective: Works, Justification and Boasting in Early Judaism and Romans 1-5
Simon GATHERCOLE (University of Aberdeen)
Whatever justification could there be for another thesis on Paul's relationship to Judaism? One aspect of this relationship which has slipped through the net and failed to receive adequate treatment in recent scholarship is that of 'boasting'. Apart from a handful of short articles (e.g. by C.H. Dodd 1933, R. Bultmann 1965, and C.K. Barrett 1986) there has been no full-scale treatment of this theme in Romans, despite commentators' frequent acknowledgement of its importance. The only major discussion, J.S. Bosch's Gloriarse según san Pablo, was written in 1970, and so takes no account of the recent paradigm shift in Pauline studies. Its second disadvantage is being written in Spanish, and so not having found a wide readership.
The Relevance of Creation and Righteousness to Intervention for the Poor and Needy in the Old Testament
Richard NEVILLE (Briercrest Bible College, Saskatchewan)
This study originated with an interest in explaining the fact that intervention for the vulnerable elements of society in the Old Testament is frequently associated with the rootstzedik and shephat. It eventually led to a broader interest in the basis of intervention for the poor and needy in the OT. Both the spatial and temporal constraints of the dissertation meant it was necessary to narrow the area of study considerably. The original interest in the relevance of the roots tzedik and shephat to intervention for the poor and needy was retained. To this was added a study of the relevance of human creation to the ethic of intervention for the vulnerable in the OT.
Mesopotamian Religious Syncretism
Simon SHERWIN (St. Edmund's College, Cambridge)
This thesis attempts to examine the question of syncretism, more particularly the merging of deities and their functions, in the light of the political and historical situation in Mesopotamia in the 3rd and 2nd millennia bc. This is a text-based project and both Sumerian and Akkadian sources have been used, including god lists, hymns and prayers, narrative texts and historical documents. These come from a variety of geographical locations, including Ugarit, Ebla, Emar and Mari as well as sites within Mesopotamia proper.
The Wisdom of the Wise: The Presence and Function of Scripture in 1 Cor. 1:18--3:23
H.H. Drake WILLIAMS (Biblical Theol. Sem., Pennsylvania)
Paul's Jewish background and his use of Scripture have been enduring interests within New Testament scholarship. This thesis contributes to the greater discussion of these issues by examining the presence and function of Old Testament Scripture in 1 Corinthians 1:18--3:23. The first chapter suggests why this is a passage that needed further examination in relation to these two issues. Whereas others have addressed 1 Corinthians 1:18--3:23 in the light of Paul's Graeco-Roman opponents and others have considered various types of false teaching in Corinth that consequently shaped Paul's writing, the examination of Scripture in this passage deserved further attention. Others who had addressed Scripture in 1 Corinthians 1:18--3:23 had focused primarily on the citations within the passage and the form in which they were presented. More attention needed to be paid to the presence of implicit references in the forms of allusions and echoes.