Articles in TynBul 70.2 (Nov. 2019)

Dodging the Question? The Rhetorical Function of the
מה־זאת עשׂית Formula in the Book of Genesis 
Geoff Harper and Alex C. H. Lee (Sydney Missionary & Bible College)
Building on recent research that demonstrates a rhetorical movement in Genesis from fratricide (Cain and Abel) to forgiveness (Joseph and his brothers), this article considers the function of a repeated question utilised throughout the patriarchal narratives. On eight occasions, variations of מַה־זֹּאת עָשִׂיתָ ('What is this you have done?') are used to confront wrongdoers. The typical response is to mitigate culpability; the outcomes are generally negative. However, the final instance of the question in chapter 44 is markedly different. This subversion of expectation works powerfully as a rhetorical tool to instruct readers regarding a right response to the uncovering of sin.

A Theology of Facing Persecution in the Gospel of John
Chee-Chiew Lee (Singapore Bible College)
This article examines how John crafts the narratives and discourses to address the issue of fear and secrecy and to guide his audience/readers on how to face persecution. It is proposed that: first, John uses dualistic language with the rhetorical purpose of bringing across ironies, exposing underlying motives of characters, and heightening the impossibility of a middle ground; second, he deliberately portrays a few characters ambiguously to reflect the complexities of life—one cannot and should not easily classify everyone neatly into dualistic categories; and, third, John has a distinctive emphasis on divine providence with regard to facing persecution.

Acts 27–28: The Cerebral Scars of Shipwreck
Luuk van de Weghe (University of Aberdeen)
Conclusions drawn from recent studies on memory and trauma shed light on the vividness and immediacy of Acts 27:1–28:15. First, trauma catalyses enduring recollection. Subsequent memories can be visualised as 'cerebral scars' left by first-hand traumatic experiences. Second, shipwreck survival creates a plausible scenario for the formation of such memories. After analysing four possible approaches to Acts 27:1–28:15, this article concludes that the passage captures the cerebral scars of an eyewitness experience and ought to be approached accordingly.

Negotiating Hostility Through Beneficial Deeds
Sean du Toit (Alphacrucis College, New Zealand)
In this article we have surveyed the concept of ἀγαθοποιέω. It has been argued that this refers to various kinds of beneficial deeds, either for a community or individuals. At times the purpose of these good works is to neutralise hostility and convert an enemy into a friend. This strategy of benefiting an enemy is seen in both Graeco-Roman, Jewish, and early Christian writings. This provides an important context within which to understand and interpret 1 Peter. Contrary to Williams' proposal, good works are not to be understood as exclusively Jewish and Christian practices that were used to subvert hegemonic power structures within the Graeco-Roman world. Rather, in keeping with the educational concerns of early Christianity, what we see in 1 Peter is an effort to communicate clearly to a Gentile audience using familiar topoi. The purpose of benefitting others, including outsiders, is to provide an opportunity to allay pagan concerns that these Christians were a dangerous community. Peter's strategy is that by demonstrating that Christians were people who benefit others, the hope is that this will both alleviate ignorance and provide an opportunity for ethical witness.

The Role of Semitic Catchwords in Interpreting the Epistle of James
Daniel K. Eng (University of Cambridge)
This article examines the arrangement of the Epistle of James in light of Semitic documents that display catchword association. James shows evidence of being a compilation, with adjacent sections frequently connected by a common cognate. After identifying patterns of catchword association in the Hebrew Bible, LXX, and Qumran, the article identifies instances of catchword association in the Epistle of James. Finally, some conclusions are drawn for James, including recommendations about the study of its genre, provenance, structure, and interpretation.

Epistolary Greetings in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri
Peter M. Head (Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford)
This paper examines the function of greetings in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri by focusing on vocabulary, how individuals and groups of people are described, questions relating to format and presentation, differences in format, particularly when greetings are interrupted, and the function of greetings in consolidating and maintaining connections between writers and extended communities. It offers conclusions concerning the placement of greetings, the normal epistolary practice of Graeco-Roman antiquity, and the flexibility in the relationship between the greetings, the situation and main purpose of the letter. Included is a list of the 74 letters studied and the text of their greetings.

Luther, Heidegger, and the Hiddenness of God 
Mark Norman (George Whitefield College, Cape Town)
This paper seeks to trace how certain Lutheran themes, particularly the tendency towards fideism evidenced in the Lutheran 'Deus absconditus', were later adopted by Heidegger, and then misappropriated by certain 'post-theological' thinkers of the continental tradition in the late twentieth century. In what follows, the early Luther and his theology of the Cross will be firstly placed into its late medieval nominalist context, after which Heidegger's employment of the Lutheran 'hidden God' in his formulation of the question of 'being' will be discussed. Finally, I will propose that the appreciation of Luther's legacy and his relevance for philosophy lies not in popular 'Heideggerian' revisionist readings of the reformer but, alternatively, through integrating the Deus absconditus theme into the rest of his theological thought, including his historical context.

The Tradition of the Apostles: The Relationship Between Apostolic Authority and the Earliest Tradition of the Church 
Ádám Szabados (Károli Gáspár University, Budapest)
I had two questions in mind when I began my research on the relationship between apostolic authority and the earliest tradition of the church: is it historically justified to talk about a normative tradition, and, if yes, how can we demarcate it?
    It was my initial hypothesis that the existence of a normative tradition is both warranted and demarcated by apostolic authority. I also presumed that apostolic authority on the one hand meant an authentic representation and embodiment of the tradition received from Jesus; on the other hand, it meant a legitimacy for authoritatively defining this tradition. If this latter hypothesis is true, apostolic authority was both ministerial authority (submitted to the earliest tradition given by Jesus) and magisterial authority (the only legitimate definition of this tradition) at the same time.
    The goal of my doctoral thesis was to test these hypotheses in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the dynamics between apostolic authority and the earliest tradition of the church.


Articles in TynBul 70.1 (May 2019)

Sacrifice and Centralisation in the Pentateuch: Is Exodus 20:24-26 Really at Odds with Deuteronomy? 
Benjamin Foreman (IBEX, Israel)
Many scholars believe Exodus 20:24-–26 and Deuteronomy 12:1-–28 present contradictory regulations on how and where to sacrifice. Exodus 20:24-–26 seems to imply that sacrificial altars can be built at any location throughout the country, while Deuteronomy appears to prohibit all sacrifice outside of the central place of worship. Scholars have dealt with this discrepancy in various ways. In this paper I show how none of these explanations hold up to closer scrutiny and argue that both texts simply address different types of sacrifices permitted in ancient Israel.

Faith and Narrative: A Two-Level Reading of Belief in the Gospel of John
Christopher Seglenieks (Bible College of South Australia)
The question of who truly believes according to John's Gospel can be unclear, complicated by characters who display contradictory evidence, both portrayed positively yet also reflecting imperfections. A solution to the confusion lies in attending to the overt narration of the Gospel, which creates a distinction between events within the story and the presentation to the reader. Positive expressions of faith within the story can be identified as 'acceptable belief', involving commitment to Jesus but with a limited understanding of his identity and mission. Only after the cross is 'genuine belief', (which includes greater under¬standing), possible.

The Pools of Siloam: Biblical and Post-Biblical Traces
Elaine A. Phillips (Gordon College, MA)
Scholars celebrated the 2004 discovery of a large first- century pool at the southern end of Jerusalem's City of David. That pool and the related complex of underground conduits are archaeological echoes of biblical texts from both First and Second Temple periods. Potential identifications of and connections among these vital water sources are already evident in language employed in biblical and post-biblical texts, are reflected in centuries of travellers' reports, and appear in nineteenth- and twentieth- century maps. Data from each of these categories contribute to our comprehensive understanding of the water systems that served Jerusalem through the millennia.

Why Derbe? An Unlikely Lycaonian City for Paul's Ministry
Bob Wagner (Tacoma, Washington) and Mark Wilson (Stellenbosch University)
This article discusses Paul's visit to Derbe contextually within the first journey as well as his subsequent visits to this minor Lycaonian city. It reviews the difficulty of earlier travellers and scholars such as Davis, Sterrett, and Ramsay to localise the site. The discovery of two inscriptions naming Derbe have more precisely situated the site, yet some ambiguity remains. Paul's projected routes between Lystra and Derbe as presented in maps and atlases are reviewed. The authors' autopsy of this area provides fresh insights into Paul's route between the two cities. The article closes with a suggested reason why Paul visited Derbe on his first journey and thereby founded a community of believers there.

Colossians 1:23: A Case for Translating ἐπιμένετε (Continue) as Imperative, not Indicative
Vicky Balabanski (Flinders University of South Australia)
This paper presents a morphological observation about a verbal form in Colossians 1:23 that potentially has several significant implications. The paper is, first, a foray into an important new methodological approach, namely the study of the divisions displayed in the earliest Greek manuscript witnesses. Second, it is an exploration of the meaning of εἴ γε (traditionally translated here as 'provided that' or 'if indeed'), and whether in this context the particle γε modalises εἰ in such a way that the meaning of this composite form is 'if so', or 'this being the case', or 'accordingly', followed by the imperative. Third, the paper argues that interpreting ἐπιμένετε (continue) as imperative, not indicative, is a less problematic way of reading Colossians 1:23, both linguistically and theologically, than the traditional reading.

The Coherence of Penal Substitution: An Edwardsean Defence
Christopher Woznicki (Fuller Theological Seminary)
Among recent evaluations of penal substitutionary atonement one significant critique is that given the necessary and sufficient conditions for punishment the doctrine is incoherent. In this essay I defend the coherence of penal substitution by providing an account of Christ's relationship to humanity such that it is conceptually possible to meet the necessary and sufficient conditions for punishment. In order to do this, I turn to Jonathan Edwards's understanding of creation and identity. I show that a view called 'Edwardsean Anti-Criterialism' provides the metaphysics necessary for a coherent account of penal substitution.

Congregational Membership, Church Purity, and Presbyterian and Congregationalist Polemics During the Puritan Revolution 
Youngkwon Chung (Sejong University)
During the revolutionary decade of the 1640s, intra-Puritan conflict over ecclesiology, or the theological issue of church government, dominated the ecclesiastical landscape of England. Owing to the leading Puritans' lack of support for complete separatism as an ecclesiological alternative, the conflict pitted mainly the Presbyterians against the Congregationalists. This divergence of opinion over ecclesiastical system of governance has fascinated historians. Yet what this article finds is that, somewhat surprisingly, church purity, which was an issue closely linked to church system of governance and emerged as another highly contested theme vis-à-vis ecclesiology among contemporary polemicists, has not received the attention it deserves. Both Presbyterian and Congregationalist polemicists discoursed at length about the imperative of setting up pure churches, safeguarding the purity of churches from spiritual contamination, and maintaining the religious integrity of both its members and divine ordinances; yet, in many important ways, they differed over the precise means and mechanisms to achieve such a state of purity and integrity for the life of the church. It is hoped that a detailed examination of this theme of church purity as discoursed and debated by the Presbyterians and Congregationalists will add fresh perspectives on earlier works on religious conflict amongst the Puritans as it unfolded over the course of the revolutionary decade of the 1640s as well as the subsequent decade.

Dissertation summary: The Persuasive Intent of the Book of Leviticus 
Katherine M. Smith (Trinity College Bristol)
Although Pentateuchal scholarship has tended to approach Leviticus as two corpora in order to explore the historical situation behind each source, recent studies have explored the literary artistry and rhetoric of Leviticus. However, very little argument has been articulated about how Leviticus is rhetoric. To address this lacuna, this thesis demonstrates how a rhetorical strategy shapes Leviticus's arrangement to achieve a particular effect. To this end, this study adopts a four-step rhetorical-critical framework for the overarching argument.

Dissertation summary: The Re-Presentation of David in Psalms 140–143 
Jill Firth (Ridley College Melbourne)
It is counterintuitive to find individual laments like Psalms 140–143 near the end of the Psalter, as the arc of the Book of Psalms is often described as from lament to praise and from psalms of the individual to psalms of the community. The placement of these psalms is intriguing, as many commentators see Books IV–V as an 'answer' to the disaster of the fall of Jerusalem and loss of Davidic kingship in Psalm 89, and the last collection of לדוד (ledavid) psalms (Pss 138–145) as an 'answer' to the communal lament of Psalm 137.

Dissertation summary:  Revealing the Name: An Investigation of the Divine Character Through a Conversation Analysis of the Dialogues Between God and Moses in the Book of Exodus 
Mark Arnold (University of Gloucestershire)
For much of the last century scholarly discussion of YHWH's statement to Moses אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה has related to matters of etymology, or history of religion, or the precise grammar of the text. However, more recently there has been renewed interest in understanding the statement in its present context as part of the book of Exodus, in particular its role in the call of Moses. In this thesis I seek to deepen our understanding through a close reading of the dialogues between Moses and YHWH.

Dissertation summary: Septuagint Lexicography and Language Change in Greek Judges  
William A. Ross (Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge)
The language of the Septuagint has a mixed reputation. Although many explanations could be offered for this state of affairs, at a fundamental level the matter is one of perspective. With such a diverse corpus of texts traditionally falling under the rubric of 'the Septuagint,', scholars understandably differ over which aspects of the data to emphasisze in their analysis as well as the standards with which to carry out that analysis. The prevailing tradition in scholarship typically views the degree of word-for-word correspondence between the Greek and Hebrew texts under analysis as the data fundamental to evaluating the language of the Septuagint. From this perspective, it is the supposed Hebrew or Aramaic Vorlage that provides a default standard of analysis. Other scholars frame the discussion in different terms, however, preferring to address the language of the Septuagint first of all in light of contemporary conventions, such that the Greek linguistic milieu provides both the controlling standards and data for analysis.