Tyndale Bulletin

Vol.50.1 (May 1999)

 

 

Articles

Dissertation Summaries

New Testament pseudonymity and deception

T.L. WILDER

Translating the Bible

A.H. NICHOLS

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Abstracts

The Psalm quotations of Hebrews 1: A hermeneutic-free zone?

S. MOTYER (London Bible College)
The Old Testament quotations in Hebrews 1:5-13 pose a serious challenge to an evangelical hermeneutic that seeks to be self-conscious and responsible in its handling of biblical texts. These quotations appear, in contrast, wilful and arbitrary in their application to Christ. Assuming that some kind of hermeneutic steers them, even if it produces wilful and arbitrary results, this essay reviews the various suggestions about its nature, and then proposes a version of typology as the guiding hermeneutic - a version which might even be termed 'deconstructionist' in its underlying rationale.

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Spirituality in offering a peace offering

N. KIUCHI (Tokyo Christian University)
Study of the symbolic meaning of the offerings in Leviticus has been hampered by the fact that the text rarely spells out the significance of the rituals or rites. This study proposes an approach to the text of Leviticus that, taking the peace offering as an example, investigates the motive of the offerer. On the basis of explicit references in Leviticus 7:12 and 7:16 to three kinds of motive it is argued that Leviticus 3 has the purpose of turning the Israelites to the Lord, and that the shedding of blood symbolises the atonement for general sinfulness. This leads to the conclusion that the motive or purpose of an offerer and the ritual are inseparable, and that the prescriptive text of Leviticus 3 itself assumes that the inner motive of an offerer must be expressed outwardly in making a peace offering.

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Hebrews 6:4-8: A socio-rhetorical investigation (Part 1)

D.A. DESILVA (Ashland Theological Seminary, Ohio)
Socio-rhetorical interpretation pursues a richly textured exegesis of Scripture through co-ordinating multiple methods of reading and investigating texts. This interpretive model is put to the test as it is applied to Hebrews 6:4-8. In this, the first instalment of a two-part article, Hebrews 6:4-8 is analysed within the contexts of classical rhetoric, Jewish and Graeco-Roman intertexture, and prominent aspects of the first-century social and cultural environment. This passage presents an argument 'from the contrary' supporting the author's deliberative agenda of promoting commitment to Jesus and fellow believers, drawing heavily on the social codes of patronage obligations as well as a wide spectrum of intertextual resources. Perseverance is shown to be the only just and expedient course of action, since it alone preserves obligations of gratitude. Part 2 of this article (to appear in Tyndale Bulletin 50.2) will examine the ideology promoted within the passage and how it contributes to the author?s rhetorical goals. A final section will attempt to answer the questions raised by the investigation of the social context of ancient patronage for the appropriateness of such ideological constructs as 'eternal security' or 'unpardonable sin' when applied in an absolute sense to the dynamic relationship between God and God's clients.

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Trust in the LORD?: Hezekiah, Kings and Isaiah

J.W. OLLEY (Baptist Theological College, Western Australia)
The Hezekiah narrative (2 Kings 18-20 // Isaiah 36-39) is unique in the Former Prophets in its repeated use of batach 'trust, rely on'. An exploration of the context and content of batach in the narrative and elsewhere in Isaiah, Psalms, Proverbs and other prophetic literature points to a consistent pattern of true and false grounds for 'trust'. In particular there is no basis in the 'inviolability of Zion'. The drama of the narrative is sharper in the context of Isaiah and may have been shaped soon after Sennacherib's death, with possible wisdom influence. At the same time, the redactor of Kings has seen 'trust' as a key feature in Hezekiah's reign. The relevance of the narrative to readers of the canonical Kings and Isaiah is also considered. There is significance for all in the worship of YHWH alone together with humble obedience. It is his honour that is affirmed among the nations.

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Paul, eschatology and the Augustan age of grace

J.R. HARRISON (Wesley Institute for Ministry and Arts, Sydney)
This article proposes that Paul worked on two cultural fronts in describing the reign of grace (Rom. 5:12-21) and the new creation (Rom. 8:18-39). Paul?s references to the 'two ages', the fall of Adam and the new creation, were fundamental to Jewish apocalyptic eschatology. However, Paul's language of grace in Romans 5, with its emphasis on excess and abundance, would have evoked imperial associations. In the first century, the eschatological age of Augustus marked a watershed in beneficence. Paul's point to the Roman Christians was plain: Christ's grace surpassed the very best the Caesars had to offer.

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The spirit of prophecy and Pauline pneumatology

A. HUI (China Evangelical Seminary, Taipei)
The present article assesses the relationship of the concept of the Spirit of prophecy in Judaism to Pauline pneumatology. Since the functions and effects of the Spirit of prophecy in Judaism are disputed, the scholarly debate is reviewed, followed by a comparison of the Jewish concept and the Pauline view of the Spirit, demonstrating points of commonality and difference.

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Ecclesiastes and the end of wisdom

M.A. SHIELDS (University of Sydney)
Many readers of Ecclesiastes have contrived to discover orthodox meaning for the words of Qohelet. An examination of two such readings reveals the shortcomings of both and paves the way for an alternative understanding of the book. Close analysis of the epilogue reveals that, although partially favourable towards Qohelet himself, the epilogist is unequivocally critical of the sages as a group. It appears that the epilogist may thus have employed Qohelet's words in order to reveal the failure of the sages and warn their prospective students to adhere to the commands of God. The book of Ecclesiastes thus functions as a tract designed to discredit the wisdom movement, using the sage Qohelet's own words in order to do so.

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Review article: Galatians, by Philip F. Esler

M. BONNINGTON (St John's College, Durham)
Philip Esler's new contribution to the Routledge NT Readings series is one of the boldest and most comprehensive attempts to use social scientific methods to shed new light on a NT text. In his study of Galatians, Esler examines a letter that has been subject not only to much renewed theological analysis in the light of the 'new perspective on Paul' but has also be a central locus of rhetorical criticism.

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New Testament pseudonymity and deception

T.L. WILDER
This study provides afresh an answer to the question: 'If pseudonymous letters exist in the New Testament, what can be said about their intention and reception?' Chapter 1 provides a survey of scholarship, which shows the need for the present inquiry.
Three views currently dominate the issue: (1) they were not written to deceive their readers regarding their authorship, but nonetheless their readers were deceived; (2) they were not written to deceive their readers, and they did not in fact do so; and (3) they were written to deceive their readers and they were successful in doing so.
A fourth alternative, standing in contrast to the previous three, is that no pseudonymous works exist in the NT.

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Translating the Bible

A.H. NICHOLS
Developments in translation theory have externalised processes used intuitively by translators for centuries. The literature on Bible translation in particular over the last half century is dominated by Eugene A. Nida and his protégés in the United Bible Societies (UBS) and Wycliffe Bible Translators whose work is informed by a wealth of inter-cultural experience.
This thesis is a critique of the Dynamic Equivalence (DE) theory of translation propounded by Nida, exemplified in the Good News Bible (GNB), and promoted in non-Western languages by the UBS.

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