Thursday 25 July 2019

Southeastern Theological Review 10, 1 (Spring 2019)

The most-recent issue of the Southeastern Theological Review is online, containing the below essays, available as a pdf here.

Benjamin L. Merkle

David G. Firth
Some Reflections on Current Narrative Research on the Book of Samuel
The development of narrative criticism as a discipline within Old Testament studies and study of the books of Samuel are integrally related. This essay examines the significance of Samuel for the ways in which narrative criticism has developed, arguing that it is the narrative poetics of Samuel that have come to be largely definitive for our understanding of the poetics of narrative within the Old Testament. At the same time, the developing understanding of narrative criticism has shaped the ways in which Samuel is interpreted, with narrative criticism becoming a dominant model. This development is explored through major studies of Samuel published as and since this shift took place, showing the fruitfulness of this approach for contemporary study, while also showing that issues left unaddressed in the rise of narrative criticism leave important questions about their interpretation unresolved.

David Seal
Communication in the Lukan Birth Narrative (Luke 2:1–20)
The Gospel of Luke was written in an oral culture and it documents events that transpired in the same first-century Mediterranean world. This is apparent in chapter 2 where there are references to various means of information being transmitted that were typical of an oral society. First, the chapter opens by recounting a decree issued by Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1–3). Second, the declaration by an angel that a Savior has been born (2:11) was also proclaimed to the shepherds by word of mouth. Third, the victory acclamation recited by the divine army (2:13–14) mimics acclamations vocalized by the Roman army. Finally, the narration by the shepherds of their experience visiting the Christ child and of the angel’s message was conveyed to others by word of mouth (2:17–18). This essay will explore each of these modes of communication and discuss their implications for understanding the birth narrative. 

Alexander E. Stewart and Jacob D. Ott
Show Me the Money: Pedagogy, Numismatics, and the New Testament
Roman imperial and provincial coins are important for understanding religion, politics, and culture in the first century. They are also able to make a unique and valuable pedagogical contribution to classroom teaching in both the academy and the church. In an effort to promote this pedagogical use of ancient coins, this article will (1) provide a brief introduction to biblically relevant coins from the Old Testament, intertestamental, and New Testament periods; (2) briefly illustrate the relevance of numismatics for New Testament studies; and (3) provide practical guidance for the acquisition and pedagogical use of ancient coins.

David Moss
Infinitive Tense-Form Choice: Ephesians as a Test Cast
Verbal aspect and its involvement in the Greek verbal system has been intensely debated since Stanley Porter and Buist Fanning published their dissertations after independently researching the role verbal aspect plays in the Greek verbal system. This essay seeks to take the research done in verbal aspect studies over the past three decades and apply it to a particular test case, namely Paul’s use of infinitives in Ephesians. Greek, like most languages, makes distinctions that do not directly translate well into English. Since the Greek infinitive mostly occurs in the Present and Aorist tense-forms, an author has a choice in which to use. However, the choice is not purely subjective but has contextual, lexical, and aspectual influences. This essay explores these influences and shows their exegetical significance in the book of Ephesians.

Jesse Payne
An Uneasy Ecclesiology: Carl F.H. Henry’s Doctrine of the Church 
This article evaluates Carl F.H. Henry’s ecclesiology and argues that he highlighted regenerate church membership and mission while he downplayed the local aspects of the church (such as polity and the ordinances). The accent of Henry’s ecclesiology was always placed over the wide swath of churches in the Reformation tradition, rather than a particular stream located therein. This was due to Henry’s unique historical context and calling. This article both affirms and expands upon Russell Moore’s previous work on the topic. The strengths of Henry’s approach lie in the value of a unified evangelical voice in the face of encroaching secularism. The weaknesses lie in the neglect of denominational riches and the possible minimization of God’s ordained vehicle for Christian discipleship: the local church.

Zachary Breitenbach
An Epistemically-Focused Interpretation of C.S. Lewis’s Moral Argument in Mere Christianity and an Assessment of Its Apologetic Force
C.S. Lewis’s moral argument in Mere Christianity is rightly lauded as an influential contribution to moral apologetics. Yet its structure, which Lewis never formalizes, is often misunderstood. I will first defend an interpretation of Lewis’s argument that views it as centering on moral epistemology. Although moral ontology plays a key role in his argument insofar as it affirms the reality of objective morality and a transcendent communicator of the moral law, many wrongly view it as making the further ontological claim that God must ground objective morality. I emphasize how Lewis’s primary aim is to show that a mind-like Guide is needed for humans to know the moral law. My other key objective is to evaluate the apologetic effectiveness of this understanding of the argument. Although I will show how he could have strengthened his argument—and his conclusion, which stops short of arguing for classical theism—in significant ways, I will contend that Lewis does offer a sound argument that carries much apologetic force.

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