Articles in TynBul 59.1 (May.2008)

Old Testament Theology and the Canon
John Goldingay, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena)


The article argues that Old Testament theology considers the insight that emerges from the form of the Old Testament canon, that it focuses on the canon of the Old Testament itself not the history of Israel, that it lets the canon itself be the canon, that it nevertheless recognises a canon within the canon, that it treats the first part of the twofold canon as of significance in its own right, but that it expects to find that the two parts of this canon illumine each other.

Canon, Narrative, and the Old Testament's Literal Sense: A Response to John Goldingay
Christopher Seitz (University of Toronto, Wycliffe College)

First Paragraph:

It is a pleasure to be asked to respond to this stimulating essay by Professor Goldingay. He has an engaging style and brings considerable background in teaching and publishing to the very important topic of canon and Old Testament Theology. I have had the written text to work from in order to respond orally and have adapted that very little for this setting in the Tyndale Bulletin. The sense of proportion that comes from hearing the full oral presentation, or the printed version of that, may seem disturbed in my response, as my attention was drawn to this or that matter of detail, and of emphasis. That is, I am not attempting to do anything more than call attention to features which struck me as worthy of further reflection and critical evaluation.

'I Hate Them with Perfect Hatred' (Psalm 139:21-22)
Eric Peels (Theological University Apeldoorn, The Netherlands)


In this article the offensive prayer of Psalm 139:21-22 with its dubious utterance of hatred is investigated with regard to its particular language, context and intentions. First, it is argued that the central notion of 'hatred' does not necessarily imply malicious intentions. Subsequently, the immediate context of verses 21-22 is studied. The structure of the psalm strongly favours the idea of an original unity of the psalm, which prevents us from discarding verses 21-22 as a redactional addition. On the contrary, these verses form an integral part of this psalm, which is a meditative confession with three theological motifs in particular: a) God's knowing and searching, b) the ethical issue of the two 'ways', and c) the rejection of the wicked­themes that are strongly interrelated. Within this context, verses 21-22 function as a confession in the negative mode. To the poet hating the enemy is primarily the reverse of his turning and dedication to YHWH. The emphasis is not so much on the emotions of the poet as well as on his choice to take a stand and on his attitude. Next, the utterance of verses 21-22 is examined within its own conceptual and spiritual framework, and its own religious and social life-scene. By hating God's enemies the poet relates to God's own hatred of the wicked and his curse on them. Finally, the question is discussed whether in today's Christian faith and worship such prayers can still have some function.

Aberrant Textuality? The Case of Ezekiel the (Porno) Prophet
Andrew Sloane (Morling Theological College, Sydney)


'Pornoprophetic' readings of the unfaithful wife metaphors in Hosea 1–3, Jeremiah 2 and 3, and Ezekiel 16 and 23 criticise them as misogynistic texts that express and perpetuate negative images of women and their sexuality. This study seeks to present an evangelical response to Athalya Brenner and Fokkelien van Dijk-Hemmes' pornoprophetic reading of Ezekiel 16 and 23. I outline their claims and supporting arguments, including their assertion that the texts constitute pornographic propaganda which shapes and distorts women's (sexual) experience in the interests of male (sexual) power. I argue that both their underlying methods and assumptions and their specific claims are flawed, and so their claims should be rejected. While acknowledging the offensive power of the texts, I conclude that alternative explanations such as the violence of Israel's judgement and the offensive nature of Jerusalem's sin account better for the features of the texts which they find problematic.

Conceptualising Fulfilment in Matthew
J. R. Daniel Kirk (Philadelphia, PA)


The question of how to understand the formula citations in the Gospel of Matthew is as important as it is disputed. This study begins by reviewing the avenues previously pursued for making sense of this collection of texts. Finding that typology is a helpful but ultimately insufficient means of making sense of Matthew's formula citations, a diachronic, narratival typology is proposed. Rather than seeing Jesus as the one who embodies abstract or limited typological concepts, we see that his life takes the shape of Israel's story. In assigning Israel's role to Jesus, however, Matthew also opens up new avenues for interpreting this story. And so we find Jesus giving new substance to a narrative whose shape is given by the scriptures of Israel. This conception of narrative embodiment in Matthew holds promise not only for understanding Jesus' relationship to the prophets but also for understanding his relationship to the law.

Expulsion from the Synagogue? Rethinking a Johannine Anachronism
Edward W. Klink III (Talbot School of Theology)


The 'expulsion from the synagogue' in John 9 has been dominated for nearly four decades by reconstructed 'glimpses' popularized in the two-level reading of the Fourth Gospel by J. Louis Martyn. The key insight Martyn provided the last generation of students of John is the anachronism in 9:22, an insight that although it has been criticized at the level of historical reconstruction (the official edict of the Jamnia Academy and the Birkat-ha-Minim), has dominated nearly every reading of the gospel. But Martyn has guided us to an exaggerated reading of the 'expulsion from the synagogue' passages, and his focus on the situation behind John has minimized the Gospel's explicit interest in the past. Even the term , the key evidence for Martyn, reflects a historicity that has been too easily suppressed. This paper will argue that a fresh examination of the historical reflections in the 'expulsion of the synagogue' passage in John 9 reveals not only John's theological interest in the past, but also some potential 'glimpses' on the life and ministry of the historical Jesus.

The Deliverer from Zion: The Source(s) and Function of Paul's Citation in Romans 11:26-27
Christopher R. Bruno (Wheaton College)


This article argues that Paul's Old Testament citation in Romans 11:26-27 includes Isaiah 59:20-21, 27:9, and 2:3. For Paul, Christ's first advent inaugurates the fulfilment of these Isaianic prophecies; therefore, the salvation of 'all Israel' is not an exclusively future reality. The theme of Gentile blessing also accompanies these prophecies. Therefore, Paul expects that Gentile inclusion is part of the fulfilment of the promises to Israel. The implications of this argument are that the majority position of 'all Israel' in v. 26 as a reference to the future salvation of ethnic national Israel is untenable and that the emphasis on Gentile inclusion found earlier in Romans continues throughout the epistle.

John or Paul? Who was Polycarp's Mentor?
Kenneth Berding (Talbot School of Theology)


In some of the patristic writings, Polycarp of Smyrna is explicitly linked with the Apostle John. These writings also include the implication that he was taught by John or installed in his office by John. In contrast (or seemingly), there is a substantial literary (and to a lesser degree, theological) connection to the Apostle Paul in the only surviving letter written by Polycarp himself. The question that concerns us in this study is as follows: Should Polycarp be viewed as standing in the tradition of the Apostle John, as he has been viewed throughout church history, or should he be viewed as standing in the tradition of the Apostle Paul, as one might suppose simply by reading the letter Polycarp himself wrote?

The Measure of Stewardship: in Romans 12:3
John C. Poirier (Kingswell Theological Seminary)


A tiny handful of studies have recognised that in Romans 12:3 could be rendered as something like 'stewardship', 'trusteeship', etc. This article argues that this option deserves to be more widely visited. The explanatory power of this rendering is far greater than that of other options, and the strength of its philological backing (which includes entries from Josephus) has not yet been fully appreciated. One reason this rendering has not received the hearing it deserves is that earlier studies have failed to understand how it fits with the use of in 12:6.

Dissertation Summaries

Evil, Suffering, and the Righteousness of God According to Romans 1-3: An Exegetical and Theological Study
Erwin Ochsenmeier (Réflexions, Brussels)

First paragraph:

Through the centuries, many who have dealt with the issue of evil and suffering have at some point interacted with the Epistle to the Romans (Augustine, Leibnitz, Moltmann, Ricœur, etc.). But such dialogue is often limited to parts of the Epistle after Romans 4. Occasionally one will find an attempted dialogue with Romans 4 and the role of Abraham (e.g. Moltmann). Such use of the Epistle is not without warrant in the text. Indeed, after Paul has just finished advocating the justification of all by faith, he immediately evokes the afflictions in which 'we boast' (Rom. 5:3). Yet questions should be raised: Why this sudden and seemingly unprepared mention of the problem of evil and suffering? Is this really the first occurrence of the problem of the suffering of the believers in the Epistle? Is there a link between evil and suffering in Romans and the issue of the righteousness of God? Is the Epistle meant to encourage the Roman Christians in adverse circumstances? If so, how can the whole Epistle be used today in talking about evil and suffering? Rather than starting from Romans 5 to answer these questions, this work has tried to see whether Paul paved the way for his treatment of suffering in the early chapters of his letter.

Paul and his Contemporaries as Social Critics of the Roman Stress on Persona: A Study of 2 Corinthians, Epictetus, and Valerius Maximus
V. Henry T. Nguyen (Los Angeles, California)

First paragraph:

This dissertation explores Paul's approach to the social conflicts involving Christian identity in 2 Corinthians. In order to grasp the dynamics of 'social identity' in the world of the New Testament, this study examines the concept of persona, especially the Roman stress on persona, which denoted a person's identity in the Graeco-Roman social world in the first century AD. In addition, this study examines Paul's critique of social identity in light of two other figures­Epictetus and Valerius Maximus­and their critiques. All three social critics react against a conventional (or popular) view of persona, which is a large preoccupation with the superficial features that expressed identity and persona (e.g. rank, status, and eloquence). In the case of Paul, this study analyses the Corinthian correspondence, especially 2 Corinthians, to show that some of the conflicts in the Corinthian church resulted from the Christians' adoption of the conventional values of identity that were prevalent in Corinth. Paul's conflict with the Corinthians is clearly seen in their superficial assessment of his persona as lacking the appropriate credentials for an apostle (e.g. 2 Cor. 10:10). In order to combat this misconception of Christian identity in the church, Paul reacted to the Corinthians' conventional values of identity by promoting and projecting a subversive Christ-like identity, which is a visible embodiment of the dying and life of Jesus Christ.

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