Academic journal article Theological Studies

Reconsidering the Relationship between Biblical and Systematic Theology in the New Testament

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Reconsidering the Relationship between Biblical and Systematic Theology in the New Testament

Article excerpt

Reconsidering the Relationship between Biblical and Systematic Theology in the New Testament. Edited by Benjamin E. Reynolds, Brian Lugioyo, and Kevin J. Vanhoozer. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2/369. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014. Pp. xiv + 308. 84 [euro].

Rare is the Festschrift dedicated by mature scholars to their undergraduate teacher, such as this second one for Robert H. Gundry, by his former students at Westmont College. The volume is comprised of three parts: two essays introducing the volume's theme; five from the perspective of biblical theology; and five from the perspective of systematic theology; plus a bibliography of G.'s works and 3 indexes.

In the essays from the biblical-theological perspective, of particular note are Judith Gundry's exegesis of 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, which neatly removes "anxiety" from its interpretation and correctly replaces it with "concern"; and Roy Kotansky's careful search for, and reconstruction of, the core of the earliest resurrection account at the tomb.

Of most interest to readers of TS will perhaps be Kevin Vanhoozer's introductory essay, "Is the Theology of the New Testament One or Many? Between (the Rock of) Systematic Theology and (the Hard Place of) Historical Occassionalism," which focuses on the relationship between exegesis, biblical theology, and systematic theology. V. denies that systematic theology is "a little further removed from the biblical text" (D. A. Carson) than is biblical theology. Using David Yeago's distinction between concept and judgment, he affirms that Athanasius's homoousios makes the same judgment about the reality of Jesus as does Paul's isos theou in Philippians 2:6, although they have different conceptual language. In this way, V. neatly connects exegesis and dogmatic formulations. In his concluding three theses, V. insists that systematic theology's "ontological attunement" is vital to understand the biblical reality and must be a partner in the exegetical process itself.

The title of this volume is misleading. Of the twelve articles, four never mention the term "systematic theology"; another four seem to equate it with biblical or doctrinal theology; and two think of it as something beyond biblical theology but never define it. When the authors speak of systematic theology, they usually mean doctrinal theology (e.g., homoousios at Nicaea). But the authors are pushing beyond a distrust of systematic theology for failing to attend to the particular occasions of each biblical work, for imposing logical patterns on them, and for interpreting them in bloodless abstractions. In short, they are trying to reach beyond the prejudices of a large plurality of bishops at Nicaea and of those in their own evangelical background.

Even V.'s fine essay is not without this ambiguity. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.