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Monday, October 22, 2012

Hearing the Old Testament in the New by Porter

S. Porter, ed. Hearing the Old Testament in the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006). 

Composed of ten scholarly paper, Hearing the OT in the NT provides valuable insight into the hermeneutical methods of the New Testament authors. Each of them provided a different perspective, sometimes complimenting, other times disagreeing.

Stamps addresses the methodological approach to Scripture. His thesis is that the writing of the NT takes place in a "clash of cultures" and therefore current study must recognize the diversity of methods employed. A noticeable flaw in his theory is that the majority of the NT authors were Christian Jews, and therefore would have followed primarily Jewish methods of exegesis (260).

McLay uses Hebrews 1:6 to demonstrate that the Scriptures available to the NT authors were not found in a unified canon, nor biblical text. This fact creates problems in a variety of areas including textual criticism and applicational principles.

Knowles, working through Matthew, reveals that Jesus was the Messiah who had been promised and now stood before them as the "final, authoritative revelation that stands over a complex, contradictory, and otherwise largely incomprehensible situation" (82).

Based on the late dating of Mark, Evans parallels the book of Mark to the controversy which was rising during the time of Vespasian. In many ways, Evans believes that this gospel was a direct attack on the worship of the emperor. This theory is placing great weight on the presupposition that Mark was heavily influenced by the Roman context, one which lacks evidence.

Porter asks the questions, "How is the OT used in Luke/Acts?" and "What does this reflect about the author?" His generalized answers are, OT passages are used throughout the books and are used to "give shape to the narrative."

Miller argues that "Christ was John's primary hermeneutical principle in whose light the Scriptures of Israel were to be properly construed" (128). He finds proof in the fact that John the Baptist saw and testified, Moses wrote, Abraham saw, and Isaiah saw and wrote concerning the Christ.

Aageson believes that Paul's hermeneutic was developing as he went. It was not a static or closed method. This can be seen in his quotations and allusions. His attempts at solving difficulties were not always successful, but later generations have contributed to the clarity. This argument placed the NT Scripture in a questionable light. Paul spoke with authority and did not convey the idea that he was just one voice in a congregation of equals. Paul contributed more than a start to a discussion, he was communicating truth.

Keesmaat develops the idea that Paul challenged the empire in his shorter epistles with his quotations and allusions to Scripture. An understanding of the culture of Paul's day explains his choice of passages and words.

Richardson takes the book of James and chases the connections to the story of Job, specifically chapter five. James clearly draws many of his points from Job's exemplary life in the midst of trials of various kinds.

Köstenberger confronts the task of evaluating the use of Scripture in the Pastorals, General Epistles, and Revelation. This broad survey demonstrates that the OT is used in a variety of ways in the NT. They were not confined to a single method, but sought to reveal the unity they saw of salvation history between the history of Israel, the coming of Christ, and the history of the early church.

The final portion of the book contains a helpful response to the afore mentioned papers by Köstenberger. Here he brings in valuable points to the discussion of their individual topics.

This compilation has some valuable contributions for the study of the NT use of the OT. It's weakness lies in the broadness of topics discussed, and some of the individual arguments. The strengths are found in the responses given at the end.

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