Friday, November 09, 2007

Reading for October 2007

Vos’ son collected a series of articles on the book of Hebrews and published them in this volume. The opening article examines the intended audience of the sermon, and Vos concludes that the audience was in all probability a Gentile audience. He sees the major issue facing the readers as externalism and an unhealthy interest in eschatology. The second article focuses on the term διαθήκη in the New Testament and its usage in Hebrews. Vos carefully examines the correct nuance in each passage which the term was intended to carry. The largest essay in concerns the concept of revelation in Hebrews, and specifically the relation of the Old and New Testaments. The most insightful section of the essay involved the books typology. Vos sees a more complicated relationship in the author’s typology than a 1:1 identity. This complication is exemplified in the authors use of Melchizedek, who is compared to Christ while Christ is also compared to him. Vos also discusses how the old covenant can maintain value while being superseded by Christ and the covenant he inaugurated. The fourth essay concerns the priesthood of Christ. After discussing the nature of Christ’s priesthood, Vos interestingly answers when Christ became priest and where is the center of his activity. Christ’s sacrifice of himself is included in his priestly work, and the focus of his work is on the heavenly sanctuary. Thus, Christ’s priesthood commenced before his ascension, since the entirety of his work, even when on the earth had reference to the heavenly sanctuary. The final essay the authors conception of Christ’s sacrifice, especially compared to Paul.

  • The Iliad of Homer- Homer (Translated by Richard Lattimore), 1951.
Homer’s classic work recounts the conflict between the Achians and the Trojans. The major characters in the story are Achilles and Hector and their personal conflict. While other characters are important for the developing the plot, the entire story revolves around these two. Without the presence of Achilles, the Achians suffer defeat at the hands of Hector and the Trojans. It is only when the discourd between Achilles and the Trojans is resolves that their fortunes improve. Most interesting is the presentation of the gods throughout the work. While powerful, they are creatures of passion and subject to their own internal conflicts. Some of the human characters, such as Agamenon, are far more noble and wise than the god. What is more, it seems they themselves are bound by fate, and their desire and all their machinations cannot alter any one’s destiny.

  • "Fulfillment in the Epistle to the Hebrews”- J. Julius Scott Jr. 2003.
The paper examines the use of τελειοω and τέλειός in the book of Hebrews. Noting that the term occurs 18 times in Hebrews, the author discusses the range of use and meaning throughout the books. The basic idea in Hebrews is to bring to completion or an intended goal. The word describes Jesus as both the one who brings τέλειός and is himself made τέλειός through his sufferings during his earthly ministry. In describing Jesus, this term is paired with ἀρχηγός. This terminology also points to the tension between the fulfillment and the realization, especially when applied to believers. This also allows the significance of the Old Testament history while admitting the superiority of Jesus and the reality he inaugurates.

  • The Jewish War Books IV- VII- Josephus (Loeb Classical Library, Translated by H. St. J. Thackeray), 1928.
Josephus recounts the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem from the time of his capture by Vespasian. After subduing Judea and laying siege to Jerusalem, other events in the empire draw Vespasian’s attention- ultimately leading to his becoming Emperor. Despite offers of peaceful surrender from the Romans, certain elements controlling Jerusalem persevere in the rebellion. Josephus goes to great pains to present the Romans in the best possible light by emphasizing that the conflict and ultimate destruction of the city were the responsibility of radical elements in the Jewish population. Rome attempted to be lenient, and acted with great humanity in the war. The Jewish people as a whole are also presented positively as the victims of the foolishness of their leaders, and also as valiant and ingenious in their struggle. The final books record the aftermath of the war in the victory celebration and the siege and capture of Masada. Reading the entire work gives a better appreciation for the work than the sections cited with find parallels in the Gospel predictions of the fall of Jerusalem.