Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments: Theological Reflection on the Christian Bible

Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments: Theological Reflection on the Christian Bible

Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments: Theological Reflection on the Christian Bible

Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments: Theological Reflection on the Christian Bible

Synopsis

This monumental work is the first comprehensive biblical theology to appear in many years and is the culmination of Brevard Child's lifelong commitment to constructing a biblical theology that surmounts objections to the discipline raised over the past generation. Childs rejects any approaches that overstress either the continuity or discontinuity between the Old and New Testaments. He refuses to follow the common pattern in Christian thought of identifying biblical theology with the New Testament's interest in the Old. Rather, Childs maps out an approach that reflects on the whole Christian Bible with its two very different voices, each of which retains continuing integrity and is heard on its own terms.

Excerpt

I have been interested in Biblical Theology throughout my entire academic career. Yet the path toward writing this volume has been long and circuitous. I began the critical study of both testaments in seminary during the late 40s, and continued this interest in my graduate programme at Basel and Heidelberg. However, the pressure for acquiring the needed skills in various Semitic languages forced me to put Biblical Theology on a back burner for a time. It now seems ironical to recall that I spent more time in Heidelberg learning Arabic than listening to von Rad and Bornkamm.

When I arrived at Yale in 1958 to teach Old Testament, I discovered new sources of exciting distraction. The chance to study Akkadian under Albrecht Goetze was a rare opportunity not to be missed. During the same period Judah Goldin opened up for me the world of Jewish midrash, and after attending his seminars for four years, I continued the interest with a sabbatical year in Jerusalem. Of course it was obvious to me from the beginning that the study of Jewish exegesis was of the greatest importance in understanding the relation of the two biblical testaments.

In 1970 I made my first effort at sketching some of the problems of Biblical Theology at a time in which the older consensus had begun to fall apart. Almost immediately I realized that I had not thrown the net wide enough. The hermeneutical issues of Biblical Theology involved far more than simply joining together the critical study of the Old Testament with that of the New, as if one could spend the first semester with Eichrodt and von Rad and the second with Bultmann and Jeremias! It slowly began to dawn on me that everything turned on how one understood the material which was being described. I set out to rethink the role of the Old Testament as scripture which took almost a decade of work before turning to the similar task for the New Testament. At the same time I sought to develop seminars on the history of interpretation . . .

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