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A collection of articles on biblical theology

Out of EgyptOut of Egypt

Craig Bartholomew, Mary Healy, Karl Möller and Robin Parry (eds), Out of Egypt: Biblical Theology and Biblical Interpretation (Scripture & Hermeneutics Series, 5; Carlisle: Paternoster Press; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004)

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The Christian church confesses Scripture to be the authoritative Word of God, and thereby commits itself to seeking the inner unity of the Bible as it is focussed in the one gospel of Jesus Christ, which the church declares to the world. Biblical theology is the name for the articulation of that inner unity of the Bible, and this volume rows vigorously against the currents in mainline biblical studies as it seeks to set the table for a renewed feast of biblical theology in biblical interpretation.

Craig Bartholomew

Out of Egypt is the fifth volume from the Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar. This annual gathering of Christian scholars from various disciplines was established in 1998 and aims to reassess the discipline of biblical studies from the foundations up and forge creative new ways for reopening the Bible in our cultures.

In modernity biblical studies has stressed the diversity of Scripture to such an extent that any expression of its overarching unity is regarded with scepticism. The demise of the Biblical Theology Movement in 1961 played into this tendency, and since then biblical theology has not recovered its place as a major element in biblical interpretation. However, any approach to the Bible as Christian Scripture must recognise the need to articulate the inner unity of the Bible and hence of biblical theology. Furthermore, situated as we are in ‘post-modernity’ we are better able to see how untimely the demise of biblical theology is. This volume assesses the current state of biblical theology and sets forth in a smorgasbord of creative ways fresh directions for doing biblical interpretation.

This volume on biblical theology jumps into the fray and poses the right kind of questions. It does not offer a single way forward. Several of the essays are quite fresh and provocative, breaking new ground (Bray, Reno); others set out the issues with clarity and grace (Bartholomew); others offer programmatic analysis (Webster, Bauckham); others offer a fresh angle of view (Chapman, Martin). The success of this series is in facing the challenge of disarray in biblical studies head-on and then modelling a variety of approaches to stimulate our reflection.

Christopher Seitz, Professor of Old Testament and Theological Studies, St Andrews University, UK

Ranging widely across the latest theory and up-to-date praxis of biblical theology, this volume makes a significant contribution to the gathering renewal of that discipline on both sides of the Atlantic. With an ecumenical, star-studded team of experts in the Old and New Testaments as well as in Patristics and Christian doctrine, Out of Egypt is more than a sum of its parts: from various theoretical and practical perspectives, it demonstrates both the pedigree and the intellectual vitality of biblical theology. In so doing, this book gives continued hope for an exodus of Christian biblical interpretation from its long slavery to diverse late-modern taskmasters of historicist and ideologically revisionist deconstruction.

Markus Bockmuehl, Reader in New Testament Studies, University of Cambridge, UK

Biblical theology attempts to explore the theological coherence of the canonical witnesses; no serious Christian theology can overlook this issue. The essays in the present volume illustrate the complexity and richness of the conversation that results from attentive consideration of the question. In a time when some voices are calling for a moratorium on biblical theology, or pronouncing its concerns obsolete, this collection of meaty essays demonstrates the continuing vitality and necessity of the enterprise.

Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, The Divinity School, Duke University, USA

Contents

Biblical Theology and Biblical Interpretation: Introduction
Craig G. Bartholomew

  1. The Church Fathers and Biblical Theology
    Gerald Bray
  2. The Nature and Genre of Biblical Theology: Some Reflections in the Light of Charles H. H. Scobie’s ‘Prolegomena to a Biblical Theology’
    Karl Möller
  3. Some Directions in Catholic Biblical Theology
    Francis Martin
  4. The Theology of the Old Testament by Marco Nobile: A Contribution to Jewish–Christian Relations
    Nuria Calduch-Benages
  5. Mission as a Matrix for Hermeneutics and Biblical Theology
    Christopher J. H. Wright
  6. Story and Biblical Theology
    Craig G. Bartholomew and Mike W. Goheen
  7. The Problem of ‘Biblical Theology’
    James D. G. Dunn
  8. Biblical Theology and the Problem of Monotheism
    Richard Bauckham
  9. The Unity of Humankind as a Theme in Biblical Theology
    Stephen C. Barton
  10. Zechariah 14 and Biblical Theology: Patristic and Contemporary Case Studies
    Al Wolters
  11. Paul and Salvation History in Romans 9:30–10:4
    William J. Dumbrell
  12. Hebrews and Biblical Theology
    Andrew T. Lincoln
  13. Systematic – In What Sense?
    Trevor Hart
  14. Biblical Theology and the Clarity of Scripture
    John Webster
  15. Biblical Theology and Theological Exegesis
    R. R. Reno
  16. Imaginative Reading of Scripture and Theological Interpretation
    Stephen B. Chapman
  17. Biblical Theology and Preaching
    Charles H. H. Scobie

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Suggestions for the renewal of biblical interpretation

Renewing Biblical Interpretation
Craig Bartholomew, Colin Greene and Karl Möller (eds), Renewing Biblical Interpretation (Scripture & Hermeneutics Series, 1; Carlisle: Paternoster Press; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000)

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Without the voice of the Living God addressing us through Scripture, Christianity collapses into so much empty rhetoric and the world is left without the redemptive, recreative Word of God.

Craig Bartholomew

Renewing Biblical Interpretation is the first of eight volumes from the Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar. This annual gathering of Christian scholars from various disciplines was established in 1998 and aims to re-assess the discipline of biblical studies from the foundation up and forge creative new ways for re-opening the Bible in our cultures.

Including a retrospective on the consultation by Walter Brueggemann, the contributors to Renewing Biblical Interpretation consider three elements in approaching the Bible – the historical, the literary and the theological – and the underlying philosophical issues that shape the way we think about literature and history.

Church History is in large measure the history of biblical interpretation. And almost all contemporary cultural and intellectual movements eventually show up in biblical interpretation as well. Both modernity and modern biblical studies are showing signs of ageing, and it is agreed that the critical approach that has dominated the discussion for the last two hundred or so years has obscured the Bible’s role as the Church’s authoritative Scripture. All the more reason to be grateful, then, that there is now an academic seminar devoted to the project of recovering a theological dimension to the interpretation of Scripture. This first volume holds out the hope that certain hermeneutical developments will lead not only to the renewal of biblical interpretation, but to the renewal of the Church itself.

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

There are few things more urgent for Christian thought in the churches and in universities and seminaries than to produce lively, intelligent and imaginative biblical interpretation. The Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar is facing the deepest issues involved in doing this. It does not run away from complexity or controversy. But above all it is concerned to do justice to the extraordinary, generative richness of the Bible and to let it be genuinely ‘habitable’ today. This book will illuminate, inspire and provoke anyone who wants to learn from some of the best in the field how to respond to the Bible in the aftermath of modern critiques and crises.

David F. Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge

This book brings together some of the key players in the present discussions of how to use the Bible, not simply to talk about how difficult it all is but to point new and creative ways forward. A refreshing and wide-ranging discussion that will help us all both to think clearly and to read – and teach! – more responsibly.

Tom Wright, Canon Theologian, Westminster Abbey

Contents

  1. Uncharted Waters: Philosophy, Theology and the Crisis in Biblical Interpretation
    Craig G. Bartholomew
  2. Scripture Becomes Religion(s): The Theological Crisis of Serious Biblical Interpretation in the Twentieth Century
    Christopher R. Seitz
  3. The Social Effect of Biblical Criticism
    Walter Sundberg
  4. A Response to Walter Sundberg
    John Riches
  5. Confessional Criticism and the Night Visions of Zechariah
    Al Wolters
  6. A Response to Al Wolters
    Rex Mason
  7. The Philosophy of Language and the Renewal of Biblical Hermeneutics
    Neil B. MacDonald
  8. A Response to Neil B. MacDonald
    Mary Hesse
  9. Renewing Historical Criticism
    Karl Möller
  10. Critical but Real: Reflecting on N. T. Wright’s Tools for the Task
    Thorsten Moritz
  11. ‘In the Arms of the Angels’: Biblical Interpretation, Christology and the Philosophy of History
    Colin J. D. Greene
  12. An Experiment in Biblical Criticism: Aesthetic Encounter in Reading and Preaching Scripture
    Stephen I. Wright
  13. A Missional Approach to Renewed Interpretation
    Harry Daniel Beeby
  14. Deconstructing the Tower of Babel: Ontotheology and the Postmodern Bible
    Brian D. Ingraffia
  15. Imagination and Responsible Reading
    Trevor Hart
  16. A Response to Trevor Hart
    Nicholas Wolterstorff
  17. A First Retrospect on the Consultation
    Walter Brueggemann

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