Monday, 7 November 2016

Currents in Biblical Research 15, 1 (October 2016)

The latest Currents in Biblical Research recently arrived, with titles and abstracts of the main articles as below.

Eric A. Seibert
Recent Research on Divine Violence in the Old Testament (with Special Attention to Christian Theological Perspectives)
Many readers of the Bible are troubled by passages in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament that portray God behaving violently and commanding others to do likewise. This article offers a survey of various ways contemporary scholars – particularly Christian scholars – have attempted to respond to the moral and theological challenges these troubling texts inevitably raise for modern readers. The contributions considered here are mostly from the past twenty years. Seven different approaches are examined, with special attention given to attempts to defend or critique God’s violent behavior. Brief evaluation of the relative merits of these approaches is offered along the way. A range of theological perspectives is included, and scholars from a number of different academic disciplines are represented. The article’s conviction is that regardless of how these texts are interpreted, readers should not use them to harm others or to justify future acts of violence.

Arthur Keefer
Phonological Patterns in the Hebrew Bible: A Century of Studies in Sound
This article traces the history of scholarship on sound patterns in the Hebrew Bible. Beginning in the nineteenth century, studies devoted to biblical Hebrew phonological patterns or devices entertain questions and debates that continue for over a century. Many works contribute concepts, frameworks, definitions and typologies to the phonic repertoire. Others employ such tools by identifying, organizing and explaining sounds in the biblical texts themselves. These two sides of scholarship – theory and application – characterize the field and include recurring questions of how to classify or define sound patterns, and also how to determine sound’s function. This article attends to the landmark studies and turning points from 1865 to 2015, especially underscoring the various terminologies. It is structured according to key scholars and by decades that share a common approach.

Chris Kugler
Wright, Campbell, and the Four Beasts from the Sea
Having studied with both N.T. Wright and Douglas Campbell, and not least because both are now ‘caught up’ in an apocalyptic standoff, it seemed desirable to lay bare the basic philosophical presuppositions and hermeneutical commitments which undergird and animate their continued disagreements over various issues in Pauline theology. In the following article, both serious and somewhat playful, I have considered four issues of hermeneutical and theological significance – indeed, foundational significance – in the debate between Wright and Campbell. These issues do not fundamentally concern the construal of entire Pauline letters or even Paul’s historical context. Rather, they involve the philosophical presuppositions of history and theology and the relationship between them.

Gregory R. Lanier
Mapping the Vineyard: Main Lines of Investigation Regarding the Parable of the Tenants in the Synoptics and Thomas
The Parable of the Tenants (Mk 12.1-12; Mt. 21.33-45; Lk. 20.9-19; GThom 65–66) is one of the most debated of all the parables ascribed to Jesus. Situated at the intersection of a host of important issues in Gospels scholarship – ranging from the synoptic problem, to the use of the OT in the NT, to the historical Jesus – it has generated a seemingly overwhelming quantity of secondary research in recent decades. This article aims to help orient scholars to the main areas of research on the parable, focusing specifically on six topics: narrative outline, formative influences (social-historical setting and intertextuality), source-critical hypotheses, symbolic/metaphorical correspondences of the narrative elements, authenticity and the ‘original’ version, and broad lines of interpretation. The conclusion offers reflections on what the substantial research on the parable can tell us about parable interpretation in general.

Ole Jakob Filtvedt
‘God’s Israel’ in Galatians 6.16: An Overview and Assessment of the Key Arguments
The article presents and discusses the main arguments that have been used to argue either that non-Jews are included or excluded from God’s Israel. The arguments in favour of the view that non-Jews are excluded focus on: (i) the syntax and translation; (ii) possible influence from a Jewish synagogue prayer; (iii) the combination of the terms ‘mercy’ and ‘Israel’; and (iv) Paul’s regular use of the term ‘Israel’. The arguments for the view that non-Jews are included in God’s Israel are: (i) that non-Jewish members of God’s Israel seem to be a possibility in Galatians; (ii) that an exclusively Jewish Israel is theologically impossible in Galatians; (iii) that an exclusively Jewish Israel in Galatians would have been confusing for the addressees; (iv) the fact that Galatians seems to provide insufficient material for deciding which Jews God’s Israel is supposed to denote.

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