Josh Philpot

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Archive for the ‘Old Testament’ Category

Richard Hays on Gospel-Shaped Hermeneutics

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Last weekend I attended a lecture by Richard B. Hays at the Lanier Theological Library. I read Hays’ new book, “Reading Backwards,” last year and it’s excellent. This lecture was an overview of that book. The library usually posts their lectures for free here, but this most recent one is not up yet. The central thesis or aim of the lecture of the view that the Gospels teach us how to read the OT, and—at the same time—the OT teaches us how to read the Gospels. Or, as Hays reiterates over again, we learn to read the OT by reading backwards, and—at the same time—we learn how to read the Gospels by reading forwards from the OT. In the lecture, Hays offered Seven Proposals for Gospel-Shaped Hermeneutics: 

  1. A Gospel-shaped hermeneutic actually requires us to “read backwards,” and the meaning of the narrative of the OT can only be understood in retrospect. Hays was careful to point out that this hermeneutic does not require the view that the OT authors knew the full implications of their words. 
  2. Scripture must be interpreted in light of the cross and resurrection of Jesus. 
  3. The diverse use of OT texts in the Gospels summon us to read their narratives creatively and not rigidly. 
  4. In the view of the Gospel writers, Israel’s scripture told the true story of the world, and thus we must give care attention to the large, narrative arc of the Bible. 
  5. Reading Israel’s story in retrospect (i.e. in light of Jesus) is not a negation of Israel’s history but a transfiguration and continuation of that history. 
  6. The diverse references and allusions to the OT are “metaleptic” (metalepsis), which Hays explains as the literary phenomenon that occurs when an author cites or alludes to a text in such a way as to bring the entire context of the citation into view. 
  7. The more deeply we probe the Jewish and OT world of the Gospel writers, the more we come to see that they understand Jesus to be the embodiment of Israel’s God. 

Hays did mention at one point that although he uses the term “figural” instead of “typological” he means essentially the same thing. He said that he avoids the term “type” so as not to add to the debate between typological and allegorical readings of the Bible. 

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Written by Josh Philpot

May 26, 2015 at 11:49 am

Lectures on Proverbs by Bruce Waltke

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Biblicaltraining.org offers free audio and video lectures by prestigious evangelical scholars for every subject that a typical seminary may offer. The lectures on OT Theology by Miles van Pelt, for instance, are gold. I’ve listened to them three times over. Now they are offering 27 lectures on the book of Proverbs by Dr. Bruce Waltke, all at no cost. Waltke’s commentaries on Proverbs in the NICOT series are the best. Other commentaries have merits, but Waltke’s supersedes those in many ways. During my PhD work I completed an independent study on Proverbs and reviewed nearly every commentary on Proverbs in the English language. But I still go back to Waltke when I’m dealing with tricky issues in that book. He comments on text criticism, morphology, syntax, theology, and praxis in two magisterial volumes, which you can buy here.

Check out the Biblical Training page to view or download the lectures.

Written by Josh Philpot

April 24, 2015 at 7:00 am

Posted in Old Testament

Martin Luther on the Value of Reading the Old Testament

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I recently came across this great quote from Martin Luther on the value of reading the Old Testament: 

There are some who have little regard for the Old Testament. They think of it as a book that was given to the Jewish people only and is now out of date, containing only stories of past times. . . . But Christ says in John 5, “Search the Scriptures, for it is they that bear witness to me.” . . . [T]he Scriptures of the Old Testament are not to be despised but diligently read. . . . Therefore dismiss your own opinions and feelings and think of the Scriptures as the loftiest and noblest of holy things, as the richest of mines which can never be sufficiently explored, in order that you may find that divine wisdom which God here lays before you in such simple guise as to quench all pride. Here you will find the swaddling cloths and the manger in which Christ lies. . . . Simple and lowly are these swaddling cloths, but dear is the treasure, Christ, who lies in them. 

Martin Luther, “Preface to the Old Testament,” in Luther’s Works, vol. 35 (ed. E. Theodore Bachmann; Philadelphia: Muhlenberg, 1960), 235-26. 

Written by Josh Philpot

December 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Books, Old Testament

Peter Gentry on Daniel 9 and upcoming publications

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Over at My Digital Seminary there is an interview with Peter Gentry on Daniel 9:24-27. At the end of the interview he lists the projects he is currently working on, all of which are of interest for biblical studies: 

  • My magnum opus is a critical edition of Ecclesiastes for the Goettingen Septuaginta. Hope to finish it this summer. 
  • Steve Welllum and I are producing a 250-page abridgement of KTC. 
  • I am translating from French the best study of Isaiah 7:14 ever written, showing that it is a direct prophecy of the virgin Mary. 
  • I am working on a discourse grammar commentary on Isaiah (In the Hearing the Message of Scripture series). 
  • In collaboration with others, I am writing state of the art information on Origen and his Hexapla.”

I’m particularly interested in “the best study of Isaiah 7:14 ever written.” 

Written by Josh Philpot

November 17, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Posted in Old Testament

Chiastic Structure of Daniel

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In Jim Hamilton’s new book, “With Clouds of Heaven,” he proposes the following structure for the book of Daniel:

1, Exile to the unclean realm of the dead
     2, Four kingdoms followed by the kingdom of God
          3, Deliverance of the trusting from the fiery furnace 
               4, Humbling of proud King Nebuchadnezzar
               5, Humbling of proud King Belshazzar
          6, Deliverance of the trusting from the lions’ den
     7–9, Four kingdoms followed by the kingdom of God
10–12, Return from exile and resurrection from the dead

Hamilton then attempts to give the message of Daniel in one sentence: “Daniel encourages the faithful by showing them that though Israel was exiled from the land of promise, they will be restored to the realm of life at the resurrection of the dead, when the four kingdoms are followed by the kingdom of God, so the people of God can trust him and persevere through persecution until God humbles proud human kings, gives everlasting dominion to the son of man, and the saints reign with him” (83).  

Hamilton, James M., Jr. With Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology. New Studies in Biblical Theology 32. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2014.  

 

Written by Josh Philpot

August 21, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Posted in Old Testament, Theology

Reverberations of Exodus

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Peter Leithart offers the following critique of a new book, Reverberations of Exodus, which I bought recently but haven’t started:

What [the authors] miss is the cumulative inter-textuality of the Bible. If Joshua and Ezekiel are new Moseses who enact, somehow, new exoduses, then the New Testament allusions and echoes to exodus should reverberate across the whole [instead of in isolated texts]. When Jesus leads an exodus, he should be understood not just as new Moses but as new Moses-Joshua-Ezra-Ezekiel. By the time we get to the New Testament, exodus doesn’t strike a single note or an octave but a chord that reverberates, sometimes discordantly, throughout the Scriptures from the end to the beginning.

(Via Peter J. Leithart)

Written by Josh Philpot

July 15, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Tom Schreiner on the Differences between Biblical and Systematic Theology

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In the new issue of Themelios, Tom Schreiner writes a response to Gerald Bray’s critique of his biblical theology, “The King in His Beauty.” In the first few paragraphs he offers a clear and helpful overview for how biblical and systematic theology differ but complement one another. He also lambasts Bray for totally misunderstanding his book. I was at the panel discussion at ETS last November where Bray’s review was presented, so I’m glad to see Schreiner’s rejoinder here. Many of the attendees at that presentation were likewise confused with Bray’s response. In Schreiner’s own words, 

The fundamental problem with Bray’s review is that he misunderstands both my book and biblical theology. He seems to think that I am trying to write a systematic theology, for he emphasizes that biblical theology is only a prolegomenon to a systematic theology. Here’s the rub: I agree! Systematic theology is a culminating discipline that includes exegesis, biblical theology, historical theology, and philosophy. Bray critiques me as if I were attempting to write a culminating work, a systematic theology, and by doing so he veers off course from the outset of his review. I agree with Bray that Christian theology reaches its apex in systematics. I didn’t think anyone would read my book as if I were trying to compose an alternative to a systematic theology.

Nor is it evident that Bray understands what biblical theology is in distinction from systematics, or perhaps he believes there isn’t any place for biblical theology, because he doesn’t commend it in his review. We need both systematic and biblical theology, for in the latter the story of scripture is rehearsed, the narrative of scripture is unfolded for the reader. Such attention to the historical outworking of God’s plan (the establishment of his kingdom!) ensures that we are reading the scriptures contextually and canonically. For instance, Bray doesn’t devote much attention to the historical unfolding of God’s revelation in his book. But it is clear in reading the NT that the Mosaic covenant was an interim covenant, that it was meant to be in force for a limited period of time. We learn from this that it is imperative to read scripture epochally. We don’t offer sacrifices or wear clothes with only one kind of fabric since such regulations are part of the Sinai covenant, and we aren’t under that covenant since the new covenant has arrived in Jesus Christ.

To put it another way, systematic theologians need biblical theology, for otherwise they may make claims that violate the intention and purpose of the texts cited. Biblical theology as a mediating discipline supports systematics. Systematics may stray from the scriptures in constructing doctrines, and biblical theology serves systematics by tying us to the biblical text and by ensuring that we interpret the scriptures in its epochal framework. The structures and themes unpacked in biblical theology undergird (or should undergird) the work of systematic theologians. Biblical theology, like systematics, plays a vital role in our understanding of the scriptures. Let’s take one example of what concerns Bray. He complains that I don’t unpack the Trinity, but he misconstrues my book and biblical theology. The Trinity is central to Christian theology, and any systematic theology that doesn’t make the Trinity prominent is woefully deficient. But I didn’t write a systematic theology, nor am I claiming that the work of biblical theology is a culminating discipline. Still, biblical theology provides the raw materials for the doctrine of the Trinity by showing that the Father, Son, and Spirit are all divine, while also emphasizing that the scriptures teach that there is only one God.

You can read Schreiner’s review of Bray’s “God is Love” here. The contrast between the two reviews is startling.

Written by Josh Philpot

April 22, 2014 at 1:47 pm