'My Name Will Be Great among the Nations': The Missio Dei in the Book of the Twelve
Jerry Hwang (Singapore Bible College)
Recent OT scholarship has increasingly recognised that the Minor Prophets were compiled by Hebrew scribes to be read as a cohesive anthology. While acknowledging that each book of the Minor Prophets exhibits a distinctive individuality, scholars continue to debate how to interpret the collection as a coherent whole. In this vein, I propose that the major themes of the Minor Prophets-land, kingship, the move from judgement to salvation, and the relationship of Israel to the nations-find a unifying link in the missio Dei. The plan of God to redeem his entire creation is progressively unfolded in the Minor Prophets, in that the apostasy of God's people in God's land (Hosea; Joel) is but the first step in a history of redemption which culminates with the recognition by all nations that YHWH alone is worthy: 'For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations' (Mal. 1:11). As such, the missio Dei in the Minor Prophets not only provides a reading strategy for interpreting the collection as a unified Book of the Twelve; it also shows how the Minor Prophets make a unique contribution to an OT theology of mission.
The End of the Bible?: The Position of Chronicles in the Canon
Edmon L. Gallagher (Heritage Christian University)
Scholars have argued for the originality of the position of Chronicles at the end of the canon based on both external and internal considerations. As for the latter, various 'closure phenomena' allegedly indicate that Chronicles either was written for the purpose of concluding the scriptural canon or was redacted for that purpose. The external evidence includes the Talmudic order of books (b. Bava Batra 14b), various Masoretic manuscripts, and a passage from the Gospels (Matt. 23:35 // Luke 11:51). This paper argues that while Chronicles surely forms an appropriate conclusion to the Bible, the evidence to hand does not demonstrate that it actually took up its place at the end of the Bible before the rabbinic period.
Testimony in John's Gospel: The Puzzle of 5:31 and 8:14
Thomas W. Simpson (Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University)
Testimony is a central theme in John's Gospel and he has a developed view on how it works. This paper makes two contributions. First, I show the complexity and sophistication with which John handles different kinds of testimony in his narrative; this constitutes a category of evidence for the centrality of testimony not noted hitherto. Second, I address the central puzzle, namely the prima facie contradiction between 5:31 and 8:14. At issue is whether Jesus' testimony about himself requires corroborating testimony for it rationally to be believed. I argue that 8:14 has interpretative priority: according to John, no such corroboration is required.
The Letters of Claudius Terentianus and the New Testament: Insights and Observations on Epistolary Themes
Peter M. Head (Tyndale House, Cambridge)
Eleven papyrus letters from the early second century (P. Mich. 467-480 & inv. 5395) are studied in relation to parallel interests expressed within NT letters, on the topics of physical layout and formatting, discussions of health, the desire for news and the role of greetings, the role of the letter carrier and the use of letters of recommendation.
Paul's Conflicting Statements on Female Public Speaking (1 Cor. 11:5) and Silence (1 Cor. 14:34-35): A New Suggestion
Armin D. Baum (Freie Theologische Hochschule, Giessen)
How could in 1 Corinthians women at the same time be permitted to prophesy (1 Cor. 11:5) and prohibited from asking questions (1 Cor. 14:34-35)? Read against their ancient cultural background the two texts reveal a common basic principle which lies behind both of them. According to Paul, female public speaking without male consent was unacceptable (1 Cor. 14:34-35) whereas female public speaking with male consent was tolerable if female chastity was preserved (1 Cor. 11:5).
Galatians 1-2 without a Mirror: Reflections on Paul's Conflict with the Agitators
Justin K. Hardin (Palm Beach Atlantic University)
Despite its dangers and pitfalls as an interpretive technique, mirror reading continues to enjoy pride of place as the preferred method for reconstructing the situation in Galatians. But does reflecting back the opposite of the text aid our understanding of Paul's letter, or does it merely distort the picture? In this essay, we will discuss Paul's conflict with the agitators in Galatians to reveal the inherent methodological problems of mirror reading this letter. Specifically, we will address the question whether the agitators in Galatia were questioning Paul's credentials, prompting Paul to write his lengthy narrative in Galatians 1-2. We will then evaluate recent scholars who have sought to retire the mirror in their interpretation of Paul's narrative, before ourselves providing a fresh reading of Paul's aims in Galatians 1-2. We will suggest that Paul was not defending himself (or his gospel or anything else) in Galatians. Rather, Paul was constructing a self-contrast with the agitators in an effort to persuade the Galatians to turn back to the one true gospel and to reject the judaising tactics of the agitators.
Canonical Interpretations of the Song of Songs
Rosalind S. Clarke (Stafford)
Traditional interpretations of the Song have recognised many allusions to the wider canon, which have been used as the basis for various kinds of allegorical readings. With the rise of alternative interpretations and a recent shift in focus towards methodological issues and ideological approaches to the Song, these canonical allusions have frequently been overlooked. Without advocating a return to allegorical interpretation, this thesis develops a canonical approach to the book, giving due attention to its literary, theological and ecclesiological nature. The Song proves to be a valuable test case for canonical interpretation since it is found in three distinct canonical contexts in the Hebrew Bible, the Greek Septuagint, and modern Christian Bibles.
Everything in Common?: The Theology and Practice of the Sharing of Possessions in Community in the New Testament with Particular Reference to Jesus and His Disciples, the Earliest Christians, and Paul.
Fiona Jane Robertson Gregson (London School of Theology)
This study examines the practice and theology of sharing possessions in community in the NT by examining six diverse NT examples of sharing. The texts are chosen from across the Gospels, Acts and the Pauline Epistles in order to provide a range of examples of different kinds of sharing including variety in terms of: what is shared; the distance over which sharing happens; the geographical locations that sharing happens in; and practice. Each example is considered in its historical and cultural context before being compared with one or more non-Christian comparator examples to identify similarities and differences. These comparators are examples which show similar situations and practice, and which are likely to be known by or familiar to the community in the NT example (or which were used by others at the time as comparators). Having examined the NT examples and compared them with the non-Christian comparators, the thesis identifies common characteristics across the NT examples and consistent distinctives in how the early church shared possessions compared with the surrounding cultures.
Paul and Empire: A Reframing of Romans 13:1-7 in the Context of the New Exodus
Ovidiu Hanc (Queen's University of Belfast)
In Romans 13:1-7, Paul wrote the most emphatic New Testament passage on relations with civil authority. The primary aim of this dissertation has been to propose a rereading of this passage on civil authority by framing it in the context of Paul's rabbinic education, his high view of Scripture, his own self-understanding, and especially in the larger New Exodus paradigm that is present in Romans as the archetype of salvation.
Thomas Aquinas on Hebrews: The Excellence of Christ
Dana Benesh (Baylor University)
Due to the influence of his two great Summae, Thomas Aquinas' reputation as a 'systematic' theologian far surpasses his reputation as a biblical exegete. Yet his commentaries merit attention due to Thomas' ability to explicate Scripture, his contributions to the development of exegesis, and the fact that his commentaries reflect the same doctrinal and theological concerns as his better-known works. An examination of Thomas Aquinas' commentary on Hebrews is worthwhile, given the growing interest in pre-modern exegesis as well as the priority that Thomas assigned to the epistle. Organizing the entire corpus of Scripture according to the purposes of God, Thomas orders the Old Testament books in regard to God as king or Father and the New Testament books in regard to Christ and the church. In Thomas' scheme, Hebrews comes immediately after the four gospels. Among all the epistles, Hebrews is preeminent, according to Thomas, because it reveals the power of the grace of Christ as head of the church. The aim of this dissertation is to understand and appreciate Thomas' exposition of Hebrews in the context of his theological works and in the context of medieval exegesis.