Did Paul Invent Justification by Faith?
Hanna Stettler (Tübingen University)
Many researchers consider Paul’s doctrine of justification a unique teaching, which he developed comparatively late, in his debate with judaising opponents of his Gentile mission. This article seeks to show that justification by faith without works can already be found in Paul’s early writings and that Paul is by no means the first to teach it. Jesus, in his parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector found in Luke 18:9-14, taught it long before Paul, albeit in the shape of a story. The sentences Paul quotes in Galatians 2:16 and Romans 3:28 are not random remarks, but carefully phrased slogans which were handed down to Paul by those who were Christians before him. These sentences show an amazing verbal and conceptual congruity with the parable in Luke 18 and may well have been formulated on the basis of that parable. This seems all the more likely if we take into account that the parable was originally formulated in Aramaic and has a strong claim to authenticity.
What about the Gibeonites?
William Ford (Belfast Bible College)
This article considers the story of the Gibeonites in Joshua 9–10 in the context of modern theological questions about the conquest of Canaan. It looks at the portrayal and perspectives of the four main groups in the story (kings, Gibeonites, Israel, and Yhwh) and argues that reading Joshua 9 and 10 together shows that the Gibeonites were exempted from ḥerem (destruction) because of their response to Yhwh and Israel. Combined with the story of Rahab, this story suggests that the Canaanites as a whole are not doomed to destruction, but that their response to Yhwh makes a difference.
The Rubrication of the Psalms in Codex Sinaiticus
Mark Randall James (University of Virginia)
This article examines the use of red ink (‘rubrication’) in the Psalms of Codex Sinaiticus. Building on Dirk Jongkind’s important study, Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus, I offer an overview of the ancient practice of rubrication, a careful description of the scribal habits displayed in the rubrication in the Psalms of Sinaiticus, and a catalogue of probable scribal errors that occur in the rubrication. I offer three corrections or additions to Jongkind’s study: 1) scribe D’s omission of ΕΙΣ TO ΤΕΛΟΣ in the title of Psalm 87 was probably not a copying error, despite being a singular reading; 2) scribe A squeezed three lines of the text of the title to Psalm 100 into two because he forgot that he had left himself a third line at the bottom of the previous column; and 3) the ΔΙΑΨΑΛΜΑ at Psalm 139:9 was probably omitted by scribe A and added by a later hand, perhaps scribe D. This implies that A’s rubrication was checked and corrected.
Interpreting Scripture with Satan?: The Devil’s Use of Scripture in Luke’s Temptation Narrative
David B. Sloan (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
This article considers Luke’s evaluation of the devil’s interpretation of Psalm 91 in Luke 4:9-11 and offers four lessons regarding Biblical interpretation that can be drawn out of the text: 1) context is key; 2) the dawn of the messianic era enables a greater experience of the Scriptures than was previously the case; 3) the promises of Scripture should not be taken to mean that every experience on earth will match the promise made; and 4) if we use the locutionary meaning of Scripture to produce perlocutionary acts that oppose the intended perlocution of the text, we misuse the text.
Does Πίστις Mean ‘Faith(Fulness)’ in Paul?
Kevin W. McFadden (Cairn University)
This article argues that ‘faith’ and ‘faithfulness’ are two distinct meanings of πίστις in Paul. Many Pauline scholars write as if πίστις means ‘faith’ and ‘faithfulness’ at the same time, using glosses like ‘faith(fulness)’ and ‘faith/faithfulness’. But I argue that a distinction between the active meaning of πίστις (faith) and its passive meaning (faithfulness) is evident in Paul. The main pieces of evidence supporting this distinction are contexts in which Paul uses πίστις interchangeably or in parallel with the verb πιστεύω and contexts in which Paul uses πίστις with an object of faith indicated by a prepositional phrase. I conclude that Pauline scholars should not use the gloss ‘faith(fulness)’ for the word πίστις.
Infant Baptism in the First-Century Presupposition Pool
Steven A. Nicoletti (Faith Presbyterian Church, Tacoma, WA)
The debate over infant baptism in the apostolic church was classically captured in the exchanges between Joachim Jeremias and Kurt Aland. Most debates have focussed on ‘reading between the lines’ of first-century Christian texts, and have yielded little resolution of the New Testament’s silence. Such studies often fail to address the significance of the silence itself, within its original context. In this paper I examine the practices of first-century Judaism and Graeco-Roman religions regarding infant initiation and participation in their parents’ religion, including the Graeco-Roman practice of the dies lustricus and the involvement of children in Graeco-Roman worship. Using Theo Vennemann’s concept of presupposition pools, I will ask how the early church’s silence should be interpreted in light of the original audiences’ presuppositions. I will argue that since the New Testament and other surviving works of the early church do not address their audiences’ presupposition that their infants would be initiated into their religion, it indicates that they shared rather than challenged this widely held assumption. The New Testament’s silence is therefore best interpreted as indicating the practice of infant baptism.
Triune Beauty and the Ugly Cross: Towards a Theological Aesthetic
John-Mark Hart (Christ Community Church, Oklahoma City)
God’s triune beauty is most fully revealed in the ugly spectacle of the cross, and the close connection between the concepts of beauty and glory in scripture reveals how a cruciform theological aesthetic can illuminate our understanding of God, humanity, and salvation. Moreover, Christian discipleship calls for counter-cultural ways of seeing beauty and being beautiful in the midst of a broken world. This cruciform aesthetic also informs the limited but powerful role that the arts may play in the human vocation to behold, delight in, and reflect the beauty of God by the power of the Spirit.
Covenant Continuity and Fidelity: Inner-Biblical Allusion and Exegesis in Malachi
Jonathan Gibson (Girton College, University of Cambridge)
This thesis investigates how Malachi’s inner-biblical interpretation of ear¬lier source texts in the Hebrew Bible informs and shapes his central theme of covenant. While scholars generally acknowledge the im¬portance of covenant in Malachi, to date, only a few studies have been de¬voted to this theme in the book. This study seeks to redress the im¬balance in Malachian scholarship, by contributing a comprehensive ana¬lysis of covenant throughout the prophetic oracle. The core of Ma¬lachi’s covenantal imagination is shaped by his reflection on an authoritative collection of texts. The mention of people, nations and places, Deuteronomic terminology, and rare words and unique word/ root combinations exclusive to Malachi and only a few other texts encourages the book to be read in the context of received biblical texts.
Private Confession of Sin in the Theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Nicola Wilkes (Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge)
In the thesis I argue that private confession of sin plays a significant role in Bonhoeffer’s theology from his earliest writings onwards and that it is the vehicle through which he envisages the reinvigoration of the church. On Bonhoeffer’s account, private confession of sin is a moment of concrete encounter with the present Christ in which the one who confesses comes out of self and into Christ and thereby into the church-community; namely, into Christ existing as church-community. In so doing the confessant displaces self as the pseudo-creator, and stands before Christ in order both to speak out truth and to hear truth; that is, she comes out of self in order to be addressed by Christ.