Articles in TynBul 60.1 (May.2009)

Divine Illocutions in Psalm 137: A Critique of Nicholas Wolterstorff's 'Second Hermeneutic'

Kit Barker (Wesley Institute, Sydney Australia)

Recent years have witnessed renewed interest in understanding Scripture as divine communication, a move which reconnects the academy with ecclesiological concerns. Those involved in theological hermeneutics have drawn upon advances in a wide range of disciplines in order to develop and defend their methodologies. From the fields of communication theory and pragmatics, speech act theory has been proffered by some as providing insightful analysis of the anatomy of communication and, in particular, authorial intention. Nicholas Wolterstorff's, Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim that God Speaks is representative of such works. Drawing heavily upon speech act theory, Wolterstorff defends a model of interpretation that prioritises authorial intention. Furthermore, Wolterstorff's conviction that Scripture is both human and divine discourse leads him to a two-stage hermeneutic. This paper will offer an explanation and critique of Wolterstorff's move from the first to the second hermeneutic in his interpretation of Psalm 137. It will conclude that while Wolterstorff's method does account for the divine intention in part, it ultimately suffers from both a limited connection to speech act theory and a failure to appreciate the nature of communication at higher (especially generic) levels. In addressing these methodological deficiencies, the paper will present Psalm 137 as an authoritative canonical text by clarifying how it continues to function as divine discourse.

Jeremiah, Judgement and Creation

Hetty Lalleman (Spurgeon's College, London)
Building on a German publication by Helga Weippert, it is argued that the idea of creation can already be found in Jeremiah, not just in Isaiah 40–55. Jeremiah 4–5 has parallels in Genesis 1–2 as well as in Jeremiah 33, and there is insufficient ground to assume that Jeremiah 33 represents a post-Jeremiah development, as Weippert suggests. Jeremiah uses not only the covenant as a framework for his proclamation of judgement and doom but also creation.

The Magnificat: Cento, Psalm or Imitatio?

Robert Simons (Universidad FLET, Bogotá, Colombia)
Scholars have long noted the prominence of LXX words and themes in the Magnificat (Luke 1.46-55). Various attempts have been made to explain this prominence. Some have suggested that the Magnificat is a sort of cento, others that it is modelled upon the OT Psalms. This study will propose that it is an example of what was known in the Graeco-Roman rhetorical tradition as speech in character ( ) employing the technique of imitatio, and will show that many details in the text of the hymn seem to support this hypothesis.

Hating Wealth and Wives? An Examination of Discipleship Ethics in the Third Gospel

Christopher M. Hays (Wolfson College, Oxford)
The Gospel of Luke often couples instructions on the proper use of wealth with teachings on family relations, sometimes addressing these topics in a tone that smacks of antipathy. The present essay contends that the twin 'hostilities' towards wealth and family in the Gospel of Luke derive from theological roots, specifically, from Luke's endorsement of the imitation of Christ and his teaching on eschatological judgement. To support this thesis, and to delineate certain contours of Lukan ethics, this investigation offers examinations of Luke 9:57-62; 14:25-35; and 17:20-35.

Jesus' Resurrection and Collective Hallucinations

Jake H. O'Connell (Westfield, Massachusetts, US)
This study is divided into two parts. Part I examines modern accounts of collective religious visions. Five factors make it very likely that such visions are collective hallucinations. Part II examines whether the same is true of Jesus' resurrection appearances. The evidence indicates that if the resurrection appearances were collective hallucinations, hallucinations of glorious appearances of Jesus would have occurred alongside hallucinations of non-glorious appearances. Since the Gospels relate only non-glorious appearances of Jesus, hallucinations can only be maintained as an explanation if the original tradition of glorious/non-glorious appearances was changed to a tradition of purely non-glorious appearances. However, there are strong reasons to believe that the early church would have preserved, not eliminated, traditions of glorious appearances, had such existed. The lack of glorious appearances in the Gospels is therefore an indicator that the appearances were originally non-glorious and thus not hallucinations. Thus, collective hallucinations provide an inadequate explanation for the resurrection appearances.

Reading First Peter in the Context of Early Christian Mission

Christoph Stenschke (Wiedenest & University of South Africa)
This paper argues that 1 Peter should be read against the background of early Christian mission. The readers of 1 Peter have a predominantly Gentile background. The letter assures these Gentile Christians that they now share the status and spiritual privileges of Israel. However, this cherished status also includes an existence as exiles and strangers in the world they live in. This experience was hitherto unknown to them. As God's people they have a new task: to share their faith in Christ by conduct and by word. Their experience of slander and persecutions cannot and need not bring their calling into question but is part and parcel of being God's people in the world.

Perseverance Within an Ordo Salutis

Ján Hen el (Matej Bel University, Banská Bystrica)
Even the most exhaustive definitions of distinct elements of salvation cannot provide a comprehensive picture unless they are set in relationship to each other. In the following, we shall seek to put these distinct elements in an order. We shall do that with the initiating elements of the spiritual life, which will then enable us to link them with the progress of the believer's life. That in turn will prepare the ground to redefine the doctrine of the perseverance of believers within such a revised order.

Dissertation Summaries

The Abomination of Desolation in Matthew 24:15

Michael P. Theophilos (Melbourne, Australia)
The primary research undertaken in this study concerns the meaning of in Matthew 24:15. The significance of this study is to propose a revised model for understanding the enigmatic Matthean phrase through a contextual exegetical approach which gives due weight to Old Testament intertextual prophetic echoes. Because of the primary association of the phrase with Antiochus Epiphanes in the Daniel narrative, commentators have almost exclusively argued for a 'pagan' (contra Jewish) referent in relation to Matthew 24:15 (and synoptic parallels). Alternatively, we argue that within the Matthean narrative, the (abomination) refers to Israel's covenantal infidelity, particularly her rejection of Jesus as Messianic King, and the (desolation), is the natural consequence of her disobedience, in this case Yahweh's punishment of Jerusalem through Roman intervention. In this sense, Matthew has been deliberately structured to reflect a Deuteronomistic framework, in that chapters 5–7 and 23 function as blessings and curses respectively. That Matthew's presentation of Jesus' lament over Jerusalem (23:39) seeks to emphasize Israel's culpability in rejecting her Messianic King, provides the appropriate framework for understanding the Matthean apocalypse (ch. 24), which primarily refers to the destruction of Jerusalem through the advent of the Son of Man. The idea that Jerusalem's destruction was engendered by Israel's infidelity is a common motif in first and second century AD Jewish pseudepigraphical material such as The Apocalypse of Abraham, The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch, The Greek Apocalypse of Baruch, 4 Ezra (2 Esdras 3:3-14), The Book of Biblical Antiquities and Josephus.