Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Reading for September 2006

I have started keeping a list of the books or articles I read, and writing a short summary and response. I think I will regularly post them to give those interested an idea of what I am reading (plus it is once easy post a month).

A concise, conservative introduction to some critical historical issues regarding the Bible and historical study. The authors focus tends towards the Old Testament, particularly the books of Samuel and Kings. The major theme is that the literary artistry must be recognized in historical narrative in order to properly understand their historical import. The goal of the text, particularly at the larger level must determine the historical import of the passages subordinate to it, keeping in mind the genre considerations of the particular subtexts. Further, the interpreter must be cognizant of his own cultural presuppositions as well as those of the text.

  • "Deuteronomistic History"- Al Groves
A short article outlining the history of the concept of Deuteronomistic history from its conception by Martin Noth to current discussion. Aside from Noth, other major scholars who were considered were Frank Moore Cross and Rudolf Smend. The article outlined the major characteristics of the Deuteronomistic literature and theology, and the major distinctions of the scholars considered.

  • "The Themes of the Book of Kings and the Structure of the Deuteronomistic History"- Frank Moore Cross, Chapter 10 (274-289) in Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic: 1973
After a brief survey of discussion on Deuteronomistic literature to date, the author explores his two proposed redactions. The first occurred during the reign of Josiah, and was essentially optimistic. Jeroboam served as the paradigmatic king for the Northern Kingdoms as an apostate and leading to idolatry; while David served as the paradigm for Judah and reached its fulfillment in the reforming Josiah. The two paradigms serve as messages of threat and promise. The second hand is exilic, seeing the irrevocable fall occurring in Manasseh’s idolatry essentially overriding and silencing the hope found in the first redaction.

  • "The Deuteronomistic Theology of History in I and II Kings"- Gerhard von Rad, Chapter 9 (205-221) in The Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays: 1947
Von Rad explores the place of the prophetic word in Kings and shows the prominent place to the prophetic word and its fulfillment. Particularly prominent are the prophetic condemnations of idolatry, but also the prophetic promise made to David of his perpetual dynasty. The sure fulfillment of the latter judgment serves as a source of hope in the prophetic word spoken to David, signaled in the elevation of Jehoiachin from the Babylonian prison.

The book serves as the introductory volume to a series exploring early Christianity, with special focus on Jesus and Paul. Wright begins with a discussion of history, and outlines his historical method of critical-realism as a antidote to both empiricism and positivism. Using the critical-realistic method, Wright outlines the major contours of the diverse Judaism from the exile until the Bar-Kochba revolt. Wright concludes with an introduction to early Christianity until the early second century. Of significance is the discussion of the New Testament literature in light of the genres and worldviews current among Judaism and the larger Greco-Roman world. Of note also is Wright’s discussion of form and source criticism and the gospels.

  • "The Seventy-Third General Assembly"- New Horizons (August/September 2006)
The issue gave a brief report from the OPC’s General Assembly. Also included was an article outlining the author’s view of the necessity of a Christian education. Bavnick’s Reformed Dogmatics Volume 3 was reviewed along with D. A. Carson’s book on the Emerging Church Movement Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church.

A conservative, Reformed introduction to the interpretation of Old Testament narrative. The book is divided into three sections, the preparation, investigation and application of the text. The preparation covers the place and spiritual condition of the interpreter, and basic issues of bibliology relevant to interpretation. The second section covers basic hermeneutical issues and methods. Most of the discussion of this section is towards basic issues common in all literature, the sections concerning the structure of large narrative sections is helpful in determining the arrangement of various accounts in a larger unit. The final section concerns application, stressing the need for an application recognizing the authority of the text, and the distance from the original audience. The author’s section concerning how the Old Testament narrative anticipates Christ at times seems to border on allegory, and at times the relevance drawn to modern readers is facile.

  • The Mark- Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (Book 8): 2000
After Caparthia’s resurrection, he institutes the mandatory necessary mark of the beast. Anyone who does not receive the mark is martyred by a guillotine. Hattie Durham finally becomes a tribulation saint, and the members of the tribulation force in Babylon have to flee by faking their death in a plane crash. However, one believer was left in Babylon after being forced to receive the mark. The book’s plot and characters were as dull as the other volumes, along with the theologizing of Ben-Judah. The authors’ obsession with the Jews was apparent, and a third category of Messianic Jews made an appearance along with the orthodox Jews and the Judahites.


Steven Carr said...

'Wright beings with a discussion of history, and outlines his historical method of critical-realism as a antidote to both empiricism and positivism. Using the critical-realistic method, Wright outlines the major contours of the diverse Judaism from the exile until the Bar-Kochba revolt. '

I think that should be be 'begins' , not 'beings'.

Does Wright think cover the Macabbean revolt? (I can never remember how many b's and c's there are)

Did the success of that revolt lead Jews to believe that violent revolts were looked upon with favour by God?

Keith said...

Thanks for the heads up on the typo. Spell check is great but it is no substitute to careful proofreading.

In "New Testament and the People of God" Wright does cover in brief the history of the Jewish people beginning around the end of the Exile. I remember some discussion of the Maccabean revolt, but it was not extensive.

As to the second point, I don't kniw that Wright addressed that directly. Maybe if Justin is lurking he could respond with more knowledge on that point. I think Wright takes great pains to point out that Second Temple Judaism was a very diverse period, and it is unwise to say there was a normative or majority view on a point such as this. Some of the evidence he would offer would seem to speak differently; in particular, Josephus, who identified God having transferred himself to the Romans. Thus, Josephus would not look favorably on a violent revolt. There were other who were allied politically or militarily with the Romans who would have thought likewise.

Hope that helps a little.