Jon Laansma on the Future of Hebrews Scholarship: Theological Interpretation of Scripture

Jon C. Laansma, “Hebrews: Yesterday, Today, and Future; An Illustrative Survey, Diagnosis, Prescription.” In Christology, Hermeneutics and Hebrews: Profiles from the History of Interpretation. Library of New Testament Studies 423. Edited by John C. Laansma and Daniel J. Treier, 1–32. London, UK: Bloomsbury, 2012.

Christology Hermeneutics and HebrewsJon Laansma has provided a wonderful overview and contribution to the modern study of Hebrews. He provides a modern overview of history of interpretation and ways for scholarship to move forward.

I. Introduction

II. Survey: Hebrews in the Modern Period

III. Diagnosis: Hebrews within the Modern Research Program

IV. Prescription: Looking Ahead

Laansma observes modern approaches to Hebrews and concludes it is typically approached vis-a-vis historiography and historical research. Hence, it has not seen the amount of attention like James, or Paul, or the Gospels. Hebrews lacks an author, details about the audience, dating, etc. Therefore, historical questions have compartmentalized the document with the abundance of historical uncertainties. Continue reading

Chris Keith, Jesus Against the Scribal Elite, and Historical Jesus Scholarship

Chris Keith (blog; teaching post) is a writing machine and he is asking very insightful question in Historical Jesus Scholarship. Each year I ask, what is coming out this year by Keith? His texts are, for historical Jesus scholarship, ones that need to be frequently referenced for he is slowly influencing a field prime for change.

Here are group of videos Baker Academic Press posted about his new book Jesus Against the Scribal Elite (see here). This brief video will hopefully give you glimpse at the question he is asking and how it is a unique question. Continue reading

Clayton Jefford’s JECS Review of Nancy Pardee’s Dissertation

Nancy Pardee published her dissertation (2002 at University of Chicago) with Mohr Siebeck (2012): The Genre and Development of the Didache: A Text-Linguistic Analysis.

I used this book for a recent project on the Didache. I found this book valuable for multiple reasons. (1) She approaches the Didache text through text-lingusitic categories (or as Jefford says “= American discourse analysis”). Here, we see scholars taking discourse analysis and applying it to a major corpus of literature outside of Old and New Testament texts. (2) She applies informed discourse analysis principles to a 1st or 2nd century text. (3) She uses discourse analysis to assist elucidating form-critical units in the Didache. Thus, 4 stages of compositional development are identified in the Didache. 

Clayton Jefford, in a recent review (JECS 22, no. 2 [Summer 2014]: 297–98), says,

In my estimation this work will become a watershed reading for researchers in the field, where it will soon become obvious that there are two types of specialists in Didache studies: Those who acknowledge Pardee’s insights and take her observations seriously, and those who reconstruct the history of the text out of their own flights of fancy. (p.298)

This glaring review will most likely influence Didache scholarship through the lens of two types of work: (1) those who use Pardee, and (2) those who don’t use Pardee. So unless one can navigate the problematic composite history of the Didache and adequately respond to Pardee, she gives us the seminal work of Didache linguistic studies.

Here is Jefford’s review.

Here is Pardee’s volume.

Grant Macaskill on Theological Interpretation of Scripture

I have recently picked up Grant Macaskill Union With Christ in the New Testament, published by Oxford University Press. In the introductory remarks, he briefly describes the historical and theological problems of New Testament theology and history. Theology of the New Testament is sometimes rather treacherous water. That is, can an interpreter maintain the diversity and coherence of the New Testament without “flattening” the interpretive enterprise?

In recent discussions of New Testament studies, Markus Bockmuehl has provided a helpful analysis of “where we are at” regarding the scholarly enterprise in Seeing the Word: Refocusing New Testament Study (*I highly encourage any New Testament Scholar to read it and then read it once more). Macaskill admittedly is influenced by John Webster, Keven Vanhoozer, Markus Bockmuehl, and portions of Theological Interpretation movements. This is helpful for multiple reasons. First, and foremost, is the inter-disciplinary influence upon Macaskill’s thinking as a biblical scholar. Second, Macaskill’s historical-critical work will be influenced by TIS. Continue reading