David Seccombe (North-West University, Potchefstroom & George Whitefield College, Cape Town)
Evidence is given of deliberate use of incongruity and the outright bizarre in some of the gospel sayings and parables. This is sometimes smoothed away by translators and commentators, who appear uncomfortable with it. Yet it has the marks of being one of Jesus' characteristic teaching devices, the tendency of the transmission being to smooth out discordancies. With this in mind the parable of the leaven is re-examined, and it is argued that it contains three incongruities which strongly suggest its authenticity and could have made it a startling piece of communication for its original listeners. The results gained are employed to clear the way for a correct approach to the parable of the ten minas.
God's Love According to Hosea and Deuteronomy: A Prophetic Reworking of a Deuteronomic Concept?Carsten Vang (Lutheran School of Theology in Aarhus, Denmark)
One of the most evident shared themes between the books of Hosea and Deuteronomy is the theme of God's love for Israel. The usual scholarly explanation goes that Hosea fathered this notion which later was taken up in the Deuteronomy tradition. A close scrutiny of this theme in Hosea and Deuteronomy establishes that the lexical and structural agreements in the theme are considerable. However, it also reveals some major differences within the thematic parallel. The simplest solution seems to be that Hosea has reused an available Deuteronomic concept.
Getting Romans to the Right Romans: Phoebe and the Delivery of Paul's Letter
Allan Chapple (Trinity Theological College, Perth)
How did Romans reach the people for whom it was intended? There is widespread agreement that Phoebe was the bearer of the letter (Rom. 16:1-2), but little investigation of or agreement about the exact nature of her responsibilities. By exploring the data available to us, especially tha found in Romans 16, this essay provides a reconstruction of the events surrounding the transport and delivery of the letter to the Roman Christians. In particular, it proposes the following:
· Phoebe conveyed the letter to Rome, probably by sea;
· the church in Rome at this time consisted of house-churches;
· Phoebe was to deliver the letter first to Prisca and Aquila and their house-church;
· Prisca and Aquila were to convene an assembly of the whole Christian community, the first for some time, at which Romans was to be received and read;
· Prisca and Aquila were to be asked to arrange for copies of Romans to be made;
· Phoebe was to deliver these copies to other house-churches; and
· Phoebe was to read Romans in the way that Paul had coached her at each of the gatherings to which she took it.
Form and Meaning: Multi-Layered Balanced Thought Structures in Psalm 24:4
Rodney K. Duke (Appalachian State University)
The complex literary artistry of Psalm 24:4 reveals it to be the focal point of this song of procession to worship. Standing in a catechism-like section, this verse provides the answer to the question about those qualified to approach God. This text exemplifies how artistic form was used to set this verse apart, complement the content, and highlight its theological message. It employs four levels of balanced thought structures that emphasizise the total purity that is expected from one who would draw close to God. . Theologically this verse functions as a call to holiness in response to God''s grace.
Isaiah 1:26: A Neglected Text on Kingship
Gregory Goswell (Presbyterian Theological College, Melbourne)
In recent studies of the theme of kingship in the book of Isaiah, Isaiah 1:26 has been neglected. This article seeks to demonstrate that this text is relevant to the theme. The future of leadership within the city of Jerusalem-Zion as forecast in Isaiah 1:26 is theocratic in shape, with Davidic kingship notably absent. The judges and counsellors spoken of are leaders appointed by Yhwh the King and act as judicial officers under him. The setting of Isaiah 1:26 in Isaiah 1, the immediate context of the section 1:21-26, the absence of any mention of kings in Isaiah 2–4, and the portrayal in the first half of Isaiah's prophecy of Judaean kingship as a dying institution, all confirm this reading. Isaiah 1:26 is one of a number of texts in the first half of Isaiah that prepare the reader for what would otherwise be a radical shift to an exclusive focus on divine kingship in Isaiah 40–66.
Hebrews 3:6b and 3:14 Revisited
Andrew J. Wilson (Kings College, London)
Hebrews 3:6b and 3:14 have been central to Reformed interpretations of the warnings in Hebrews for several centuries. Today, however, there is something of an impasse in scholarship: on one side, there are those who see these verses as an interpretive key to the letter, and thus understand the warnings to refer to spurious or false believers; on the other, there are those who argue that since Hebrews warns real believers away from real apostasy, these two verses cannot mean what, at a grammatical level, they appear to mean. In this paper, I appraise the scholarly discussion so far, identify three key issues relating to grammar and context, and then propose a way through the impasse that has not been considered in modern scholarship.
Jesus of Nazareth's Trial in the Uncensored Talmud
David Instone-Brewer (Tyndale House, Cambridge)
The Munich Talmud manuscript of b.San.43a preserves passages censored out of the printed editions, including the controversial trial of 'Yeshu Notzri'. Chronological analysis of the layers in this tradition suggests that the oldest words are: 'On the Eve of Passover they hung Jesus of Nazareth for sorcery and leading Israel astray.' This paper argues that other words were added to this tradition in order to overcome three difficulties: a trial date during a festival; the unbiblical method of execution; and the charge of 'sorcery'.
The Thought in John 1:3c-4
John Nolland (Trinity College, Bristol)
With a working assumption that the final words of verse 3 belong with verse 4, the article seeks to clarify the thought in the three clauses making up verses 3c-4. It concludes that the thought expressed is this: the mystery of animate life, existing as it does 'in the Logos', shines as a light upon humanity, a light intended to light up the divine presence in the world in that it reveals the presence and working of the Logos. A second alternative is possibly viable: creation is life-giving, and the life it gives acts as a light revealing the Logos.
The Royal Promise in Genesis: The Often Underestimated Importance of Genesis 17:6, 17:16 and 35:11
Daniel S. Diffey (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)
There are three specific instances in which a royal promise is made to an individual in the book of Genesis. Scholarship has largely viewed these as incidental within the larger framework of the major themes found in the book of Genesis. This short note seeks to correct this misunderstanding by demonstrating that the promise that kings will come from Abraham, Sarah, and Jacob is integrally linked with the themes of fruitfulness, seed (offspring), and land. Thus, the theme of kingship is a much more important theme than is often held.
Spiritually Called Sodom and Egypt: Getting to the Heart of Early Christian Prophecy through the Apocalypse of John
Andy Harker (Nairobi, Kenya)
This work engages with and refreshes the debate regarding the nature of early Christian prophecy – a debate that has become somewhat deadlocked and stale – by placing Revelation at the centre of the debate and finding there a tertium quid challenging both sides of the debate. It is argued that Revelation is much more likely to be representative of regular early Christian prophecy than is often assumed and that what constitutes John's prophecy (and potentially early Christian prophecy generally) as prophecy is essentially the way in which the text moves the affections – by a particularly powerful use of allusive metaphor to 'name' features of the contemporary world in such a way that the referent is completely swallowed up by the allusion.