O.T.


Now we often forget, I fear, that in a sense, the great business of the Old Testament is to reveal the holiness of God. We have been far too influenced, many of us, by the false teaching of the past century, which would have us believe that Old Testament history is just the history of man’s search for God. It is not. The Old Testament is primarily a revelation of the holiness of God, and of what God has done as a result of that, and, therefore, you find this teaching everywhere. What was the purpose of the giving of the law if not to reveal and to teach the children of Israel about the holiness of God? There He separated a people unto Himself, and He wanted them to know what sort of people they were. They could only know that as they realised and appreciated His holiness: so the giving of the law was primarily to that end.

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, God the Father, God the Son (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1996), 70.

 

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Evangelical Textual Criticism wants to get the word out for the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon, which is freely accessible online:

However, the name ‘Comprehensive’ is fully justified. On this site you can find primary texts in all the early and middle forms of Aramaic. You have electronic versions of the Peshitta (OT and NT), Old Syriac, Christian Palestinian Aramaic versions, and of course the Targums.

What’s more, the editions are normally the best available editions. The editions of the Targums are far better than those you might pay for in a printed edition like that of Sperber. Each word of the text is linked through to a lexicon, so that you can look at that word in all other early Aramaic dialects.

Okay, so they haven’t produced a Newsletter since 1996, and the format takes some time to get used to, but the content is amazing.

Jubilees, and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, align Israel with Adam, and the Gentiles with the beasts over whom Adam rules. 1 Enoch regards Israel as Adam’s true heir. The Wisdom of Solomon asserts that the righteous will be restored to God’s intended place for them as lords of creation. The later writings 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch witness to the same theological position: Israel will be given the rights of Adam’s true heir. The pre-eminence of Adam in Ben-Sira (49.16) parallels that of the great kings David, Hezekiah and Josiah earlier in the chapter. And in the well-known ‘Adam’ references from Qumran, as well as those not so frequently cited, the reference to Adam is one of the many ways in which the sect claims for itself the status of being God’s true Israel, those who are to be seen as his true humanity.

–N.T. Wright, The Climax of the Covenant.

Reading this review of Lloyd-Jones’ Faith on Trial: Studies in Psalm 73 is getting me to think about spiritual discipline again. Here is an except:

The psalmist begins with the voice of hope and conviction, declaring to all that “Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart”; but how did he get to this point of firm faith and reliance? Lloyd-Jones traces the steps of his spiritual journey, as he deals with a temptation so overwhelming that it had almost cast him down utterly. First, the very “bottom rung,” as Lloyd-Jones terms it, is simply the recognition that, if he spoke the bitter thoughts that he was feeling, he would give cause for offense to the children of God who were around him. It wasn’t much, but it was a foothold at least, a place to stop sliding, and to begin the long journey out of the pit of despair. In the same way, when we are overwhelmed with our troubles, it doesn’t matter so much how deep we go, or how discouraged we become, just so long as we find a bottom rung, a place to pause, and consider.

After this first rung has been discovered, one step at a time, Lloyd-Jones analyzes the process by which the miserable psalmist regains his faith and hope, and remembers God’s unfailing faithfulness. Throughout, the writing is incisive and down-to-earth, and as the reader sees the spiritual wisdom and godly stratagems by which he realizes his wrong ways of thinking, repents, and learns to trust God for his character and steadfast (if sometimes veiled) mercy, he will likewise be instructed and emboldened to undertake the same spiritual journey from despair and confusion to the “nevertheless” of God’s abiding presence, even in the darkest of times.

My major perspective is that of the NT interpreter, and I relate to the OT as that part of Biblical Theology for which human limitation compels me to lean on colleagues who specialize in it. Every science nowadays requires a certain division of labor, which, however, must not be allowed to degenerate, as it often does, into ever smaller compartments of specialization ending up in mental atrophy. The relationships between NT and OT are and must remain manifold; they should not be reduced to simplistic slogans – even though it is the slogans, not the subtleties, that sell books. On the other hand, complete separation of OT and NT, now fashionable in many places, leads small minds to glorify ignorance mutually and to form self-congratulating cliques. Among other things, Biblical Theology requires that we constantly keep a watchful eye on each other, an attentiveness that applies to the other subdivisions of religious studies as well.

–Hans Dieter Betz, in his review of James Barr’s The Concept of Biblical Theology, An Old Testament Perspective.

CNN Wire reports:

Archaeologists believe a desert site in Jordan may contain the ruins of the elusive King Solomon’s Mines.

Researchers using carbon dating techniques at Khirbat en-Nahas in southern Jordan discovered that copper production took place there around the time King Solomon is said to have ruled the Israelites.

The research findings were reported in this week’s issue of the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which came out Monday.

King Solomon is known in the Old Testament for his wisdom and wealth and for building the First Temple in Jerusalem.

The fabled mines entered popular culture in 1885 with the publication in Great Britain of the bestselling “King Solomon’s Mines” by Sir H. Rider Haggard. In the book, adventurers in search of the mines find gold, diamonds and ivory.

Narrative criticism became one of the emerging movements in biblical studies after literary analysis was shown to be useful. Its benefits:

  1. Narrative criticism focuses on the text of Scripture itself.
  2. Narrative criticism provides some insight into biblical texts for which the historical background is uncertain: it deals with the given instead of a hypothesis.
  3. Narrative criticism provides for checks and balances on traditional methods: the meaning of the text is evaluated against its traditional interpretations.
  4. Narrative criticism tends to bring scholars and nonprofessional Bible readers together, moving away from the “papacy of scholars”: it seeks to interpret the text from the perspective of its implied reader, who is not expected to know anything the history of the text’s transmission or to be able to reconstruct the Sitze im Leben that passages served before being incorporated into the narrative as a whole.
  5. Narrative criticism stands in a closer relationship to the believing community.
  6. Narrative criticism offers potential for bringing believing communities together.
  7. Narrative criticism offers fresh interpretations of biblical material.
  8. Narrative criticism unleashes the power of biblical stories for personal and social transformation.

Source: Mark Allan Powell, What Is Narrative Criticism?

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