Michael Graves (Wheaton College, IL)
Christians in the first five centuries of the church lived in an environment that placed a high value on literary and rhetorical expression. Within this context, cultured critics of Christianity often disparaged the literary style of the Christian Bible in its Greek and Latin forms. The most common response in the first Christian centuries was to concede Scripture's simple style but to assert the superiority of its divine content. But eventually Christians began to suggest paradigms for seeing artistic crafting in the biblical text. One stream of thought, exemplified by Jerome, looked to the original language of the Old Testament to discover the literary quality of Scripture. Another stream of thought, developed by Augustine, explored the literary quality of Scripture by reflecting on the relationship between human conventions and divine inspiration.
Relating Prayer and Pain:
Psychological Analysis and Lamentations Research
Heath Aaron Thomas (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The Paideia Centre for Public Theology)
Psychological approaches to biblical texts have gained currency, particularly in lament literature. One notes, however, an increasing interest in the intersections between Lamentations and psychological analysis as well. Upon a survey of literature, one quickly realises no singular methodology prevails: scholars have applied to Lamentations the insights of Kübler-Ross' grief process as well as the insights of John Archer, Yorick Spiegel, Sigmund Freud and the perspectives of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Whilst useful in identifying and assessing pain in the poetry, these approaches undervalue the crucial indicators of prayer in Lamentations. These indicators press research to the fecund field of the psychology of prayer. This essay exposes diverse applications of psychological approaches to the book, presents an analysis of both the benefits and limitations of this research and then relates prayer and pain in its poetry by exploring the connections between Lamentations and the psychology of prayer.
Which Hebrew Bible?
Review of Biblia Hebraica Quinta, Hebrew University Bible, Oxford Hebrew Bible, and Other Modern Editions
David L. Baker (Trinity Theological College, Perth)
Three major critical editions of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament are in preparation at present: Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ), the Hebrew University Bible (HUB), and the Oxford Hebrew Bible (OHB). This article is a comparative review of these three editions, followed by a briefer review of six other modern editions: British and Foreign Bible Society (BFBS), NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, Jewish Publication Society (JPS), Jerusalem Crown (JC), Biblia Hebraica Leningradensia (BHL), and the Reader's Hebrew Bible (RHB). Finally, there is a brief discussion of implicit editions and electronic editions, followed by concluding remarks on the usefulness of the various editions.
Manasseh and the Punishment Narrative
Andrew Taehang Ohm (Korean Bible Baptist Fellowship)
This paper examines the nature of the Manasseh account (2 Kgs 21:1-18) in the macrostructure of the Deuteronomistic literature, especially the books of Samuel and Kings, in which remarkably similar narrative schemes are embedded. They consist of 'sin description', 'sin development', 'reminder', 'response', and 'punishment'. I call this unique literary genre 'punishment narrative'. In the punishment itself several distinctive common devices (destruction of a cultic place, end of family/dynasty line, and a death of an innocent family group member) are employed to show a fulfilment of prophecy. A number of allusions and similarities between the death of Saul and the anonymous prophet in 1 Kings 13 and between the death of Abijah, Jeroboam's son (1 Kgs 14:1-18) and Josiah (2 Kgs 23:28-30) are discussed as well. Thereby I put the Manasseh narrative in this category. A close reading shows that the Manasseh and Josiah narratives are not independent but, in effect, two different parts of one punishment narrative. This paper also suggests that these punishment narratives overarch one another in Samuel-Kings from the beginning to the end. Finally, it concludes that the work of Samuel-Kings was woven with different materials but woven into one narrative thread.
Malevolent or Mysterious?
God's Character in the Prologue of Job
Martin A. Shields (Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies, University of Sydney)
Readers of the Book of Job often believe that the prologue reveals the entire reason for Job's loss and suffering and so the full background for all that transpires throughout the remainder of the work. Many readers find that this raises significant problems about God's character as depicted in the book. There are, however, subtle indications both in the structure of the prologue and the content of the entire book which suggest that the exchanges between Yahweh and the Satan do not offer to the reader the complete rationale for Job's suffering. Furthermore, it appears that the author of Job has deliberately created a riddle which, left unsolved, traps the reader into believingas Job's friends believethat a full reason for Job's suffering is at hand. Solving the riddle, however, entwines the reader in Job's ignorance and thus the book's insistence that there is some wisdom only Yahweh holds.
Drawing Ethical Principles from the Process of the Jerusalem Council: A New Approach to Acts 15:4-29
Hyung Dae Park (Chongshin Theological Seminary)
This study proposes that the main ethical points found in the decision of the Jerusalem council in Acts 15:4-29 should include the council members' attitudes of trusting each other, respecting God and his Word, and answering with some conceded responses to the others, rather than just the four prohibitions. To argue this proposal, first of all, the situation of the council is described in terms of the historical background and the narrative flow. The three lists of the four restrictions in 15:20, 29 and 21:25 are then compared, and the characteristics of the decision of the council are examined. The council's list differs from James' and has the perspective of worship and covenant rather than of ritual.
James, Soteriology, and Synergism
Alexander Stewart (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary)
The history of interpretation of James has often focused on what James teaches concerning salvation in 2:14-26, and has neglected other soteriological language in the book. This study will begin by investigating the soteriological synergism of faith and works in James 2:14-26, but will proceed by examining several other ways James describes the necessary, human response to God's saving initiative throughout the book: repentance and humility, love and mercy, and perseverance and patience.
An Alternative Explanation for the Alleged 'Imperatival' Participles of Romans 12:9-21
Jeffrey S. Lamp (Oral Roberts University)
The participles of Romans 12:9-21 have occasioned much discussion among grammarians and commentators. The primary debate concerns whether the participles are functioning imperativally or whether they might be connected with a finite verb in the context of the passage. This article suggests that the participles might indeed be connected with a finite verb, but one that is unexpressed in the passage.
Dissertation SummariesProphetic Ministry in Jeremiah and Ezekiel
Kathleen M. Rochester (St John's College, Durham)
This study seeks to make a contribution to the understanding of Old Testament prophetic ministry by offering a close comparison of selected texts from two quite different, yet related, prophetic books: Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Both prophets focus on the fall of Jerusalem, and use many similar motifs in their messages. They portray overlapping historical contexts, yet their geographical settings are different. This mix of features in common with aspects that are quite dissimilar provides fertile ground for fruitful comparative study.