Wednesday 25 April 2007

Old Testament theology

“[M]y image for the Scriptures is to think of them as a photograph album. What the New Testament does is provide us with a new set of pictures. Their subject is the same as that of the preceding set, but they are not identical; they are taken from some new angles in some different light with some different lenses. They therefore tell us more and fill out the picture. But they do not offer a revolutionary new revelation. And thus we can study the theology of the First Testament separately from that of the New Testament without losing too much – and certainly without losing as much as we do if we follow the church’s practice of studying the New Testament separately from the First Testament, which it allegedly regards as Scripture.”

—John Goldingay, Old Testament Theology, Vol. 2: Israel’s Faith (Downers Grove: IVP, 2006), pp. 19-20.


Anonymous said...

Hmm. I think I see more the New Testament forming a lense through which we, as Christians, are meant to read the First Testament. Jews read the Tanakh through the lenses of Mishnah, Talmud, and continuing rabbinic tradition. But the Hebrew Bible doesn't stand on its own. It is either the base of rabbinic Judaism or the First Testament of the Christian Scriptures. Goldingay's actual practice is one that has helped me considerably, but this description has me worried some.

Anonymous said...

The "allegedly" in the last sentence is delicious! And the excerpt suggests another "worst theological invention" - a cluster of inventions: Marcionitism, supersessionism (already nominated), and some forms of Reformed federal theology on the one hand and Lutheran law-and-gospel theology on the other.

It is interesting that the "father of liberalism" Schleiermacher, along with some of his "neo-liberal" heirs, including Bultmann, had very little time for the Old Testament. And ironic that this actually fed into the cause of the so-called German Christians in the Third Reich. Where the Old Testament is marginalised, anti-Semitism is given a lead.

It is a worrying trend that in some independent Protestant churches Old Testament readings in worship seem to be entirely optional.

Anonymous said...

"But they do not offer a revolutionary new revelation."

What? The replacing of the Law with transforming union with God isn't revolutionary? I think it is, and so did the Jews of the time....

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