Tradition and Interpretation

By G. W. Anderson | Go to book overview

V
OLD TESTAMENT HISTORIOGRAPHY

J. R. PORTER

BEFORE attempting an evaluation of some modern critical approaches to the main historiographical works of the Old Testament, something must briefly be said about the significance of history and history-writing among the Israelites, a topic which has provoked a lively debate in recent years. This question has two aspects. On the one hand, there is the hermeneutical problem, which focuses on the concept of revelation and how far it is true to claim 'that Biblical theology is the confessional recital of the redemptive acts of God in a particular history, because history is the chief medium of revelation'.1 Since this primarily concerns Old Testament theology it will not be further considered here, although to some degree it overlaps with the second aspect of the question.2

For, on the other hand, it has generally been claimed that, in the context of the ancient Near Eastern world, Israel had a unique concept of history and that Hebrew historical

____________________
1
G. Ernest Wright, God who Acts. Biblical Theology as Recital, SBT viii, London, 1952, p.13.
2
For some recent discussions of history as a hermeneutical question with particular reference to the Old Testament, cf. G. von Rad, "'Typologische Auslegung des Alten Testaments'", EvTh xii ( 1952),6 ff., ETr in C. Westermann (ed.), Essays on Old Testament Interpretation, London, 1963, pp. 1 ff.; Eric Voegelin, Order and History: i, Israel and Revelation, Louisiana and Oxford, 1956; C. A. Simpson, "'Old Testament Historiography and Revelation'", HibJ lvi ( 1957/8), 319 ff.; "'An Inquiry into the Biblical Theology of History'", JTS N.S. xii ( 1961), 1 ff.; Brevard S. Childs, Memory and Tradition in Israel, SBT xxxvii, London, 1962, pp. 81 ff.; R. Rendtorff, "'Geschichte und Wort im Alten Testament'", EvTh xxii ( 1962), 626 ff.; F. Mildenberger , Gottes Tat im Wort, Gütersloh, 1964; J. Barr, Old and New in Interpretation. A Study of the Two Testaments, London, 1966, pp. 65 ff.; G. E. Wright, "'Reflections concerning Old Testament Theology'", Studia Biblica et Semitica Prof. Dr. Th. C Vriezen dedicata, 1966, pp. 376 ff.; The Old Testament and Theology, 1969, pp. 39ff.; Georg Fohrer, Theologische Grundstrukturen des Alten Testaments, 1972, pp. 42 ff.; F. Hesse, "'Bewährt sich eine Theologie der Heilstatsachen am Alten Testament?'", ZAW lxxxi ( 1969), 1-18.

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