Articles in TynBul 54.2 (Nov.2003)

Ellen Battelle Dietrick: A Nineteenth Century Minimalist
Mayer I. Gruber (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)

Revisionist historicism dates most Hebrew Scripture to the Hasmonean Era. Elizabeth Cady Stanton's plea that heroines should be named suggests that credit for the revisionist thesis be given to Ellen Battelle Dietrick, who expounded it in 1895. Moreover, Dietrick's exposition fully displays the eisegetical method by which the revisionist claim is read into 2 Maccabees.

Power in the Pool: The Healing of the Man at Bethesda and Jesus' Violation of the Sabbath (Jn. 5:1-18)
Steven M. Bryan (Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, Addis Ababa)

The man whom Jesus healed at the pool of Bethesda in John 5 harboured a magical belief that God's power was at certain times impersonally resident within the water and thus accessible apart from any direct intention or action by God. Similarly the Jews' response to the man's healing betrays their belief that, by healing on the Sabbath, Jesus has used God's power in a way unsanctioned by God and therefore independent of God. In this context, the healing functions as a sign that the actions of Jesus are one with those of God. This sign is subsequently taken up in and explained by the following discourse which likewise has as its central theme the absolute unity which exists between the actions of the Son and his Father.

Festivals in Genesis 1:14
David J. Rudolph (University of Cambridge)

The study presents a case for translating Mydi(jwOm in Genesis 1:14 as 'festivals' or 'festivals and seasons'. After surveying the growing support for this rendering in biblical scholarship, the article considers the evidence of usage, literary context, ANE background, and Second Temple Jewish literature.

Father-God Language and Old Testament Allusions in James
Esther Yue L. Ng (Wheaton College, Chicago)

This article examines three passages in James where God is referred to as pathvr (Father) (1:17; 1:27; 3:9). In all three cases, it is found that the word is neither a dead metaphor nor a mere title. To the contrary, each use of the word is relevant to what is predicated of God and his works in the immediate context when the OT allusions are identified. In addition, the predominant connotation of the fatherhood of God in James is his creatorship: of the heavenly lights, of orphans and widows, and of human beings in general. However, the fatherhood of God is also used in connection with the redemption of believers in Jesus Christ and has an eschatological dimension. Finally Father-God language in James is used to promote care for the underprivileged and respect for all­the very opposite of overbearing patriarchy.

Yahweh's Suspension of Free Will in the Old Testament: Divine Immorality or Sign-Act?
Brian P. Irwin (Alliance Theological Seminary, New York)

Several passages in the Old Testament portray Yahweh as behaving in ways that seem unfair or immoral. Two such narratives are the episodes describing the hardening of Pharaoh's heart and the spirit dispatched to deceive Ahab. In each of these two cases, careful attention to the literary context and the final form of the MT shows that Yahweh's behaviour is best understood as a sign-act directed toward a specific end.

Paul's Conversion and Luke's Portrayal of Character in Acts 8-10
Philip H. Kern (Moore Theological College, Sydney)

Luke's portrait of Saul shows him to lack a right relationship with God. This is accomplished in part by contrasting the pre-conversion Saul with Stephen, the Ethiopian eunuch, and Cornelius. After his experience on the Damascus road, Paul is portrayed in ways that resemble Stephen and Peter, while Bar Jesus and the Philippian gaoler, who clearly oppose God and Christianity, are portrayed in ways that recall the earlier portrait of Saul and inform how we are to understand him pre-conversion. Thus Luke connects opposition to the church with opposition to God, and shows that Saul, in opposing the former, was an enemy of the latter. By showing the change from an enemy to one who himself suffers for the gospel, Luke indicates that Paul has entered into a relationship with God. This suggests, furthermore, that Paul joined an already established movement.

Figuring Out Figurines
Philip Johnston (Wycliffe Hall, Oxford)

Almost one thousand Judaean pillar figurines, or JPFs, have now been found. These small terracotta female figurines are distinctive to late monarchy Judah. They have been found all over its territory, but seldom elsewhere, and come almost entirely from the eighth and seventh centuries BC. Who or what do they represent? This article first summarises recent study of figurines, to set out their known characteristics. It then looks for textual evidence of figurines. It examines inscriptional and biblical references to Asherah, the main goddess of the Iron Age Levant and now often associated with these figurines, as well as other potential biblical terms. However, while there are many terms for images and idols, none is found to apply specifically to figurines. Finally it reviews the interpretation of figurines, concluding with observations which combine archaeological and biblical data.

Context Matters: Paul's Use of Leviticus 18:5 in Galatians 3:12
Joel Willitts (University of Cambridge)

Galatians 3:10–14 is arguably one of the most difficult passages in all of the Pauline letters. The varied interpretations can be organised into three approaches that currently dominate the exegetical landscape: law/gospel antithesis, apocalyptic fulfilment and redemptive historical. All three approaches, however, have overlooked the reuse of the Leviticus 18:5 clause, 'the one who does these things will live by them' (Gal. 3:12b), in later Jewish interpretative tradition. This interpretative tradition may be a useful source in our attempt to grasp Paul's argument in Galatians 3:10–14. This essay sets out to: (1) investigate the Leviticus 18:5 clause in the Jewish interpretative tradition, and (2) offer a fresh reading of Galatians 3:10–14 within a redemptive historical/exile–restoration framework.

When Conversion is Joy and Death Victory: Historical Foundations of the Doctrine of Perseverance
Ján Hen el (Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica)

Once people become converted one of their major existential concerns will be whether and how will they persevere in their right standing with God. As this concern is as old as Christianity, it is illuminating to see the historical developments of the doctrine of perseverance. Foundations of the doctrine may be found in the writings of Aurelius Augustine. There are to be found the four distinguishing approaches to the doctrine of perseverance developed in the course of history: (1) perseverance is necessary for believers' salvation and that it is a gift of God but they are uncertain whether this gift was given to them; (2) perseverance is necessary, God determines who perseveres and the believer may be certain of this gift; (3) perseverance is a necessary gift but God does not determine who perseveres and the believer is uncertain of his final state; (4) perseverance is necessary for obtaining final rewards but not for believers' salvation.

'I Am Against You': Yahweh's Judgement on the Nations and its Ancient Near Eastern Context
Simon Sherwin (St Edmund's College, Cambridge)

'I am against you' is a phrase that occurs several times in the Old Testament in relation to Yahweh's judgement on the nations. Both Nineveh and Babylon, the respective capitals of the two great superpowers of the day, are so addressed (Nah. 2:13; 3:5; Jer. 50:31; 51:25). Yet what does that mean against the wider background of Ancient Near Eastern literature? This paper examines the issues raised by this statement and the possible theological implications its usage has for pre-exilic Israelite religion.