Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context

Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context

Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context

Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context

Excerpt

Although most biblical scholars no longer share the traditional position that the theology of the Old Testament stands as the crown of the entire discipline, a strong case can still be made for the basic importance of this theological enterprise. Of course, its importance is matched by its difficulty. To write an Old Testament theology requires, first of all, a construal of the whole, which is an awesome task. Then again, theological judgments need to be made regarding the primary or secondary significance of disparate features of the literature, and decisions rendered in respect to the nature of its coherence. Finally, because the discipline is not bound to a text in the same manner as in a commentary on a biblical book, the ensuing freedom offers its author an unusual challenge for interpretation which includes a high level of promise as well as threat.

It should come as no surprise to learn that great differences of opinion exist among contemporary scholars as to how the task of writing an Old Testament theology should proceed. Not least of the disagreement turns on how theological reflection on the Old Testament relates to the prior, analytical study of the biblical text which is generally subsumed under the rubric of the historicalcritical study of the Bible. It is my thesis that a canonical approach to the scriptures of the Old Testament opens up a fruitful avenue along which to explore the theological dimensions of the biblical text. Especially in the light of the widespread uncertainty at present as to how best to pursue the discipline, to try a different approach to the material would seem appropriate.

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