Biblical references in writing theology

Earlier this month, Rick Brannan posted an analysis of the most frequently cited in a selection of systematic theologies. Rick has since made available on his blog the bibliography of systematic theologies that fed this analysis.

Meanwhile, Christianity Today picked up the post for further discussion. According to CT,

Perhaps most interesting—and potentially disturbing—is the dearth of Old Testament references among the 100 most-cited verses. This raises the question of whether the Old Testament is necessary for Christian theology, and whether it should be included in systematic theology more often.

Is such a strong preference for the same key verses, especially those in the New Testament, a problem in systematic theology? CT asked experts to weigh in.

There then follows a paragraph each from Kevin Vanhoozer, Craig Keener, John Stackhause, Michael Bird, Michael Allen, and William Dyrness.

Now Brannan has followed up at theLAB with the promised corresponding analysis for biblical theologies. This new analysis comments in part,

What is immediately striking to me is the frequency of Old Testament references. Systematic theologies had nine OT references in the top 100. In Biblical theologies, seven of the top ten references are from the Old Testament, and 29 of the top 100.

Twenty-nine is markedly larger than nine. But, the still-substantial slant to the New Testament perhaps suggests a tendency to do primarily “New Testament biblical theology” in practice, if not always in title. As a balancing resource, perhaps we need a new sub-publishing genre of “Old Testament biblical theology”?

More from JGRChJ in 2016

Since the last time I mentioned the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism, several new articles have been posted to the 2016 volume. These are:

  • Preston T. Massey, “Women, Talking and Silence: 1 Corinthians 11.5 and 14.34-35 in the Light of Greco-Roman Culture
  • Hughson T. Ong, “The Language of the New Testament from a Sociolinguistic Perspective”
  • Jonathan M. Watt Geneva, “Semitic Language Resources of Ancient Jewish Palestine”
  • Stanley E. Porter, “The Use of Greek in First-Century Palestine: A Diachronic and Synchronic Examination”

For context, the latter three essays are introduced by the additional entry “The Languages Of First-Century Palestine: An Introduction To Three Papers.”

For the essays or to subscribe to the JGRChJ feed, please see the JGRChJ website.

HT: Rick Brannan

Logos 7 Basic for free

Choosing a platform for Biblical Studies software can be tricky, inasmuch as trying things out for yourself is probably the best mechanism for finding what will work for you. But, obviously, you want to do that trying out before you commit to one of the options. This process is now a bit simpler with Logos 7 Basic, which is available for free.

HT: Tyler Smith. For available trial versions of other Biblical Studies software, including Logos, see Trial versions of Biblical Studies software.

Irenaeus and Jonah resources

In addition to special offers around John Frame’s Salvation belongs to the Lord, Faithlife has some other noteworthy deals this month:

  1. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, trans. Alexander Roberts and W. H. Rambaut, is free via Verbum.
  2. Irenaeus, Demonstration of Apostolic Preaching, trans. J. Armitage Robinson, is $0.99 via Verbum as a companion deal to Irenaeus’s Against Heresies.
  3. Via mobile ed, the Logos Pro Team has made available for free “a case study on Jonah 1:1-16, [through which] you’ll learn to Observe, Interpret, and Apply the Bible, an efficient and rewarding method you can use with any passage of Scripture.”

Boersma, “Scripture as real presence”

Boersma, New this year from Baker is Hans Boersma’s Scripture as Real Presence: Sacramental Exegesis in the Early Church. According to the book’s blurb,

This work argues that the heart of patristic exegesis is the attempt to find the sacramental reality (real presence) of Christ in the Old Testament Scriptures. Leading theologian Hans Boersma discusses numerous sermons and commentaries of the church fathers to show how they regarded Christ as the treasure hidden in the field of the Old Testament and explains that the church today can and should retrieve the sacramental reading of the early church. Combining detailed scholarly insight with clear, compelling prose, this book makes a unique contribution to contemporary interest in theological interpretation.

For more information or to order, see the Baker website, Amazon, or other retailers.

Bowald, “Rendering the word” at theLAB

Bowald, "Rendering the word" coverFor the moment, visitors to the Logos Academic Blog site are being invited to subscribe via email. Email subscription unlocks a coupon code for a free copy of Mark Bowald’s Rendering the Word in Theological Hermeneutics: Mapping Divine and Human Agency (Lexham, 2015). According to the book’s blurb,

What is the relationship between divine and human agency in the interpretation of Scripture? Differing schools of thought often fail to address this key question, overemphasizing or ignoring one or the other. When the divine inspiration of Scripture is overemphasized, the varied roles of human authors tend to become muted in our approach the text. Conversely, when we think of the Bible almost entirely in terms of its human authorship, Scripture’s character as the word of God tends to play little role in our theological reasoning. The tendency is to choose either an academic or a spiritual approach to interpretation.

In Rendering the Word in Theological Hermeneutics, Mark Bowald asserts that this is a false dichotomy. We need not emphasize the human qualities of Scripture to the detriment of the divine, nor the other way around. We must rather approach Scripture as equally human and divine in origin and character, and we must read it with both critical rigor and openness to the leading of God’s Spirit now and in the historic life of the church.

From this perspective, Bowald also offers a fruitful analysis of the hermeneutical methods of George Lindbeck, Hans Frei, Kevin Vanhoozer, Francis Watson, Stephen Fowl, David Kelsey, Werner Jeanrond, Karl Barth, James K.A. Smith, and Nicholas Wolterstorff.

For more information about the volume, see it’s page on the Logos website. Or, see theLAB site to subscribe via email.

Frame, “Salvation belongs to the Lord” free from Logos

Frame, "Salvation belongs to the Lord" coverAt Logos Bible Software, this month’s free book is John Frame’s Salvation Belongs to the Lord: An Introduction to Systematic Theology (P&R, 2006). According to the book’s blurb,

Beginning students of theology and church leaders looking for a theological refresher or teaching tool will welcome this remarkably clear introduction to the doctrines of Scripture. In an almost conversational style, Salvation Belongs to the Lord explores all the major biblical truths, explains key terms of systematic theology, and reflects on their implications and connections under the lordship of Christ.

This month’s $1.99 companion volume is Brian Vickers’s Justification by Grace through Faith: Finding Freedom from Legalism, Lawlessness, Pride, and Despair (P&R, 2013).

HT: Tyler Smith