Articles in TynBul 57.2 (Nov.2006)

Psalm 4: Ambiguity and Resolution
John Goldingay (Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena)


Translations of Psalm 4 differ at a number of points and thus point towards different understandings of it. In isolation, the opening verses do indeed raise a number of textual questions, and contain a number of interpretative ambiguities, which leave the reader in some uncertainty; but the last part of the psalm clarifies matters and makes it possible from the end to make coherent sense of the whole. Understanding the psalm thus turns out to resemble understanding a sentence, which cannot be grasped until we have reached the end of it.

A Rhetorical Analysis of Jeremiah 7:1-15
Michael Avioz (Bar-Ilan University, Israel)


This article is a rhetorical study of Jeremiah 7:1-15. It attempts to show that a rhetorical analysis of Jeremiah helps the reader to understand the different parts of the speech correctly, to discover what was mentioned and what was not mentioned in it, and to identify the target audience and the methods of persuasion used by the prophet. This is not merely a literary analysis of Jeremiah's speech, but primarily a critical examination of how Jeremiah planned to deliver his words to the audience. My analysis concludes that Jeremiah's speech is planned and well organised, and that all its parts logically interconnect. Jeremiah uses many traditions from the past, and on the basis of these traditions, presents new arguments.

God's Hidden Compassion
Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer (University of Aberdeen, Scotland)


The present article looks at the divine restriction on intercession, attested in Amos 7:1–8:3; Jeremiah 7:16; 11:14; 14:11-12; Ezekiel 3:22-27; 24:27 and 33:21-22, and suggests that it is best understood as a way in which God safeguards his punitive plans from the forces of his own compassion. The divine declaration in Amos 7:8 and 8:2 is motivated by prudence: after having succumbed twice to Amos' intercession, God forestalls intercession as a means to protect himself and his plans of punishment. Likewise, God declares his intention to disregard any dissenting views that Jeremiah may have concerning God's planned punishment of Judah in order to ensure its execution. Lastly, God renders Ezekiel mute and confines him to his home so as to hinder him from interceding on behalf of the people.

Is the Messiah Announced in Malachi 3:1?
Andrew S. Malone (Ridley College, Melbourne)


Malachi 3:1 is often touted as a key messianic text: Yhwh supposedly announces the sending of the Messiah and a preceding messenger, a pattern confidently identified by Jesus himself. Such an interpretation continues to be published by evangelicals in both popular and scholarly works. Closer inspection, however, suggests that this conc­lusion is not supported by exegesis nor by all conservative inter preters. This can result in uncertainty for evangelical readers and even in the bringing of disrepute upon evangelical conclusions and method ology. This study of a familiar problem surveys the interpre tative options of the identities involved, evaluates what can be said with confidence, and demonstrates a defensible christological way forward.

One or Two Views of Judaism: Paul in Acts 28 and Romans 11 on Jewish Unbelief
Kenneth D. Litwak (Asbury Theological Seminary)


Many scholars since Vielhauer have viewed the Lukan Paul as standing in contradiction to the epistolary Paul. This essay contends that a proper assessment of the genre, audience, and function of Romans 11 and Acts 28:16-31 enables readers to see that both Pauls agree on several points regarding Jewish response to the gospel. Where there are differences, these are complementary. Both Pauls see a mixed response among Jews, the developing of a faithful remnant, and in both texts 'provoking to jealousy' is a critical element.

Living Like the Azazel Goat in Romans 12:1b
N. Kiuchi (Tokyo Christian University)


Among the three epithets to 'sacrifice' in Romans 12:1b ('living', 'holy', and 'acceptable to God'), 'living' does not appear to derive from Old Testament rituals. Thus, the term is commonly thought to apply only to the New Testament believer. However, such a conclusion is syntactically and semantically awkward because the other two epithets clearly have Old Testament ritual as their background. Moreover, the Old Testament does know of a 'living' sacrifice. This study argues that these three epithets allude to a literal Old Testament (Levitical) ritual so as to portray the Christian life in a general way. Two interpretive assumptions are refuted. The first is that the spiritual dimension of the sacrifice in Romans 12:1 is absent in the sacrificial rituals of the Old Testament. The second pertains to what is meant by the phrase 'spiritual life'. Though it is commonly thought that 'spiritual life' is a New Testament concept, the Old Testament sacrificial system is also concerned with the offerer's spiritual life. It is shown that the difference between the Old Testament and New Testament concepts (cf. Rom. 12:1b) is the way in which the believer becomes the sacrifice in the latter. Thus it seems reasonable to think that the 'living sacrifice' of Romans 12:1b may have an Old Testament precedent. This study argues that its literal counterpart is the ritual for the Azazel-goat, the prescribed means for making atonement for the whole people in Leviticus 16. Reading 'living sacrifice' from this perspective suggests that Paul was encouraging believers to live like an Azazel-goat, suffering for others by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Question of Hell and Salvation: Is There a Fourth View?
Stephen N. Williams (Union Theological College, Belfast)


This article is a revised version of the 2005 Tyndale Lecture in Christian Doctrine. It sets forward a fourth view on the question of salvation and final judgement, supplementing the three familiar positions of eternal torment, annihilation and universalism. This is a view found in the work of five nineteenth- and early twentieth-century theologians: James Orr, J. R. Illingworth, Langton Clarke, T. R. Birks and Samuel Garratt. Griffith Thomas historically identified it as a fourth view, but it is argued in this article that there are significant differences between the proponents. Nevertheless, they share a conviction that the biblical data does not yield any one of the three traditional positions and that it is possible to envisage the reconciliation with God of those who are under eternal judgement, even if they do not enjoy eternal salvation. As this position is scarcely known in contemporary theology, the article describes rather than evaluates the positions in question.

What Do Ancient Historians Make of the New Testament?
Alanna Nobbs (Macquarie University, Sydney)


This article looks at some of the ways in which ancient historians, such as A. N. Sherwin-White, E. A Judge and A. H. M. Jones, use Acts and other parts of the New Testament as historical sources, in the same way that they use other ancient sources such as Herodotus, Thucydides and Tacitus. They do not use the New Testament uncritically, but take account of its individual authors and particular circumstances. Comparison is made to the ways in which some classical authors have been used for similar purposes.

Rehabilitating Gallio
Bruce Winter (Macquarie University, Sydney)


By first-century Graeco-Roman standards, a recent assessment of Gallio – a Roman senator, proconsul and consul of Rome – would have been seen as something of a damnatio that resulted in the dismissal of his achievements and the formal disfiguring of his name from the imperial inscription that bears it in Delphi. However, a re-examination of the evidence of ancient witnesses comes to a somewhat different conclusion about this important Roman senator. Such testimonies would confirm Luke's presentation of this legally com petent proconsul who made a landmark judgement under Roman law on the status of the early Christian movement.


Dissertation Summaries

A Search for Cohesion in the Book of Revelation, with Specific Reference to Chapter One
Iwan Whiteley (Pachuca, Mexico)

First paragraph:

The lack of consensus on any specific issue in the book of Revelation demonstrates that it is a difficult work to understand. This thesis is founded upon the Greg Beale's study. He has made significant gains in the understanding of Revelation. His analysis of the use of Daniel in Revelation shows not only that Revelation referred to specific pas sages, but also that one could narrow down the reference to a specific version of the Old Testament. Further reading of Beale's work dem onstrates that he does not extrapolate this precision into other areas of the study of Revelation. His precise analysis of the use of Daniel does not lead to the same consistency in his analysis of other OT references. There is a tendency to identify OT themes rather than specific refer ences. Also, although Beale makes a serious attempt to ex plain the very challenging linguistic features in this book, yet co hesion is not found to an extent that would be expected from the pres ence of dis crete references. Beale is the victim of his own thesis be cause his work establishes that when an interpreter is unable to gain clarity in Revela tion, then this is the failure of the interpreter, not the original author.

A Critical Analysis of the Present State of Synagogue Research and its Implications for the Study of Luke-Acts
Stephen Catto (Moorlands College, Dorset)

First paragraph:

The form and function of the 'synagogue' in the first century AD has been the focus of a great deal of recent scholarly discussion. A previous generation of scholars would have perceived a reference to a synag g in a New Testament text as a monolithic institution with clearly defined functions, principally involving worship. Some recent scholarship has questioned many of these assumptions arguing that, in the first century AD, synag g should be understood as a reference to a gathering and not a building. Similarly, it is noted that many of the reconstructions of what happened in a 'synagogue' are built on evidence that dates to a period much later than the first century. This study argues that the debate has become too polarised between those who hold a minimal or maximal position on our sources, and that some of the issues concerned have not been thoroughly examined. In this thesis particular attention is paid to the geographical location and socio-economic background of our sources, which allows us to highlight possible differences in practice in various communities. It is argued that there was considerable diversity in what the 'synagogue' was like and how it functioned. In short, we should not assume that a 'synagogue' in Nazareth would look and function like one in Pisidian Antioch; to perceive the 'synagogue' as a monolithic entity and translate various terms with the English 'synagogue' is untenable.

'Not Made with Tracing Paper': Studies in the Septuagint of Zechariah
James. K. Palmer (Centro de Estudios Pastorales, Santiago, Chile)

First paragraph:

One of the fundamental controversies in the study of the LXX concerns the basis on which the divergences between LXX and MT should be explained. Using the biblical and non-biblical finds at Qumran, the first chapter of this study outlines the tension between the two main explanatory categories of divergent Vorlage and diverging translator. The first of these, which is referred to as a 'text-critical' approach, contends that the majority, if not all, of the divergences occurred in the Hebrew tradition and were faithfully represented in the Greek translation. The second explanation of the divergences is that the translator used a Vorlage which was essentially the same as the MT, but that his translation expressed the theological concerns and interests of the translator as well as his cultural and religious context, an approach we call 'midrashic'. The portrait of the translator and his practice is frequently the decisive factor in choosing between explanatory strategies, but often a particular portrait is assumed rather than demonstrated.

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