Reconstructing Old Testament Theology: After the Collapse of History

By Leo G. Perdue | Go to book overview

EDITOR'S FOREWORD

WITH THE PUBLICATION OF THE COLLAPSE OF HISTORY: RECONU++00AD structing Old Testament Theology(Overtures to Biblical Theology; Fortress Press, 1994), Leo Perdue established himself as the primary chronicler of contemporary scholarship in Old Testament theology in the English-speaking world. (See also Walter Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy"Fortress Press, 1997", 61–114.) Perdue, in that book, traced the demise of the hegemonic influence of Walther Eichrodt and Gerhard von Rad in the mid-twentieth century, and fully understood the uneasy and somewhat uncritical settlement that pertained in the field between faith and history. The significance of Perdue's earlier study, however, concerns developments in the post-von Rad period of scholarship, which was a time of considerable confusion and venturesome diversity in method, perspective, and outcome. A signal mark of that book was the close attention to Jeremiah studies as a case study in new methods, thus giving the dynamism of the field textual particularity. It was evident in Perdue's study that the field would not ever again return to a simple, single model about which there would be consensus.

In the present volume, Perdue now takes up more recent developments in the field, reiterating some earlier points, but also accounting for the surprising and breathtaking advances that are now available. While the lines of development in theological interpretation become clearer, the intense ferment in the field was inchoate at the time of Perdue's earlier study and continues to some extent to be so. This fact leads us to expect, in time to come, another effort from Perdue that will keep the account current.

In the present volume, the move beyond Euro-American domination of Old Testament theology becomes staggeringly apparent. In the latter part of the book we may notice in particular three developments that were only at their beginning at the publication of the earlier volume. First, the entry of Jewish participation into the scholarly work of biblical interpretation is now vigorous and accessible in a way that non-Jewish scholarship may and must take into account. The contribution of Jon Levenson in

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