ESCHATOLOGY IN THE MAKING: MARK, MATTHEW
AND THE DIDACHE
Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 97, (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997)
241 pp. ISBN 0521591376
Although much ink continues to be spilt exploring the origins of Christian eschatology, the assumption persists that the development of eschatology in the New Testament is best understood in terms of a progression from imminence to delay. This is sometimes described quite simplistically as a steady decline in expectation from 1 Thessalonians (and/or Mark 13 from Paul and/or Jesus) through to 2 Peter ("one day is as 1 000 years"). It is precisely this linear modelling of the problem of "the delay of the parousia" that Vicky Balabanski successfully deconstructs in Eschatology in the making.
After critically reviewing three recent contributions to the debate (Aune, Bauckham and Malina), Balabanski demonstrates the inadequacies of the linear "de-eschatologisation paradigm" by a close analysis of a series of texts which might be expected to display progressively declining expectation (Mark 13, Matthew 24 and Didache 16). She is able to show that the imminence of the parousia hope and the extent to which it is expressed paraenetically, vary in ways that do not support a simple progression over time from imminent expectation to the problem of a delayed parousia. Instead it is demonstrated that pressures from outside and within the communities producing the texts are the most significant influences on eschatological development, and that expectation and paraenesis wax and wane accordingly.
Although, of necessity, the book ranges far and wide to demonstrate its thesis, the balance between detailed analysis and lucidity is admirable throughout. Conclusions about issues that have been the subject of longstanding and complex debates are made incisively, and yet with due consideration of opposing viewpoints. Amongst other issues, Balabanski makes valuable critical contributions to:
(i) the interpretation of Matt 25:1-13 (the parable/allegory of the 10 maidens), concluding that vv.5-7a indicate a pre-Matthean adjustment to eschatological expectation due to the deaths of some in the early community, though this is no longer a burning issue by the time Matthew's Gospel was written (chapter 2 of Balabanski's book);
(ii) the many-sided debate about Mk 13 and its relationship to the setting of the Gospel itself and to the so-called "Judean flight oracle" urging Judean Christians to flee (to Pella?). Balabanski argues for an oracle comprising vv.14ff (but not vv. 24-27) the action of Jewish zealots in making Phanias high priest in 67 ce being the "abomination causing desecration" which was incorporated into Mark's Gospel shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem (chapters 3 and 4);
(iii) the discussion of Matt 24 ("eschatology after the Jewish War"), where two parallel sequences are discerned in the text (vv.6-14, the Matthean perspective, and vv.15-31, the Judean perspective), and, surprisingly, an increase in imminent expectation when compared with the Markan parallel (chapter 5); and
(iv) the relationship of the Didache to Matthew's Gospel, where Balabanski concludes that Didache 16 knows of and supplements the Matthean material, reiterating the paraenetic material but not the assumption of imminent expectation (chapter 6).
Thus Balabanski demonstrates, successfully in my view, her thesis that these divergent eschatologies are expressions of the historical particularities of the communities in question. In a book of this scope there are no doubt critical judgments that some will wish to question, but they will not be easily dismissed. The footnotes indicate already that prominent scholars have been persuaded by some of Balabanski's arguments Jerome Murphy-O'Connor (on point (ii) above), and Ulrich Luz (point (iii) above), for example. I found the review and analysis of the Pella traditions (in chapter 4) to be particularly incisive and helpful. So too was the author's willingness to use and learn from a variety of methods and disciplines (narrative, source, and redaction analyses, archaeology), without sacrificing coherence or integrity.
Having shown the inadequacies of a linear "de-eschatologisation" model, I could wish that Balabanski had gone further still and deconstructed the all-pervasive use of "parousia" itself as if it is the only goal of New Testament eschatology. But that would really take another book. This one is a most worthwhile contribution to the literature on eschatology as it stands, and deserves to find its way on to reading lists not just for courses in eschatology, but for those on the Synoptic Gospels as well.
NATURE, REALITY AND THE SACRED: THE NEXUS OF SCIENCE AND RELIGION
(Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 1993) 266pp.
It might seem a bold enterprise to attempt to posit the nexus of science and religion when for many people the apparent nexus lies in the choice between faith and science. Yet Gilkey propounds a compelling argument, reflected in the title of the book, that we need to rediscover our place in nature, we need to rediscover nature as sacred and that we ourselves are part of that sacred nature and part of what is commonly called "reality"; that reality is not something "out there" independent of us. We can discover in all our interrelationships with the "cosmos" and each other that we are all dependent on God our creator.
He takes issue with treating either religion or science as the only way of knowing nature; indeed he has given the introduction to his book the title "Misapprehensions of Reality" and further explores this in the first chapter about 'language and truth' where he suggests that there are two factions creationism and scientism which each want to silence the other. In laying out the groundwork for his book he explores the relation of science or religion to truth as exemplified by creationism and scientism. The former, he says, makes the philosophical-theological error of regarding "religious knowledge as identical or even similar to scientific knowledge, as theoretical information about both material and historical matters of fact", without what he terms the probability inherent in all knowledge. He finds in creationism an "irony that those who... counter the hypotheses of genuine science with their own pseudo-science support and, in fact, encourage the medical, industrial, and military technology that the very science whose validity they deny has produced." While affirming science as "a wondrous power and creation of the human mind" he nonetheless criticises its way of speaking about itself as exclusively describing a supposedly objective reality "out there" as a misunderstanding of science itself and a "misunderstanding of nature, of reality as a whole and of the sacred which is latent in nature and reality"; in other words, scientism. He comments somewhat acidly that scientists seem to become most dogmatic when they deal with issues which border on religion but are more tentative with their science!
Gilkey helpfully provides a 'road map' of the book in the Introduction. Part One of the book, he says, "is devoted to creationism's opposite, that is, the scientific realism, empiricism or positivism that claims (1) that science alone knows anything of nature's reality and (2) that nature is precisely and exhaustively as science describes it." He argues that there are other modes of knowing nature and science depends also on these modes. Nature can be known as power, as life, as order and as manifesting a redemptive unity (p87). In the main, Part One is the more philosophical with some of the threads drawn together in the last chapter entitled "Science, Philosophy and Theology".
Part Two examines nonscientific apprehensions, or intuitions, of nature. For example "common experience of nature, the visual arts, literature, philosophy all represent ways through which nature has disclosed itself to humans". The sacred aspects of nature can be apprehended through "limit questions" only answerable by philosophical and theological reflection. He expresses the hope that nonscientific apprehensions will enrich and correct our modern, clearly deplorable interpretation of nature for which the most compelling evidence is our present environmental crisis.
Part Three looks at the religious dimensions of nature. Science cannot answer "limit" questions about power, life, order and unity. Gilkey picks up what he terms "traces" of the divine in nature. He adds to these "traces" what is more conventionally known as revelation in communal and personal experience. These 'traces' and 'limit questions' have God as the only reasonable answer. Yet it may only be through the eyes of faith that God is seen there.
Throughout the book he argues that we need to rediscover sacredness in the nature of which we are a part and which thus gives value and meaning over against a utilitarian view. To know God, he concludes, is to know God's presence also in the power, life, order and redemptive unity of nature.
While some may baulk at his incorporation of non-Christian religious traditions and find the philosophy/philosophical theology a little heavy going, the book is a good read.
Gilkey seems to have succeeded in defining a nexus of science and religion. It is a significant and valuable correction to those who may be confused that one must choose between the two. In the process of exploring the nexus he gives constructive insights into the two ways of knowing, the nature of each and the relationship between them.
THE ABINGDON WOMEN'S PREACHING ANNUAL, Series 1, Year A
Jana L. Childers and Lucy A. Rose (eds.)
(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1998) ISBN 0-687-15709
This book is a collection of thirty sermons by fifteen women preachers. They belong to a number of denominations (Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, and Disciples of Christ) and live in different states of the US. Many of them are pastors and several are professors of preaching/homiletics; all are experienced preachers.
The thirty sermons are all based on the Revised Common Lectionary readings for Year A. Two previous volumes (1996 and 1997) were based on Years B and C. Each published sermons by a different group of women. This volume marks the end of Series 1, edited by Jana L. Childers, Associate Professor of Homiletics at San Francisco Theological Seminary and Lucy A. Rose, who was until her death Associate Professor of Homiletics at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.
This selection of sermons for Year A begins with November 29, 1998, First Sunday of Advent, and ends with November 25, 1999, Thanksgiving Day. Several Sundays in each season of the church year are included, among them Easter Day, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday. Other major festivals included are Christmas Day, Epiphany, and Ascension Day. It is not clear why there are only thirty sermons but the result is that, unlike many works based on the Revised Common Lectionary , this does not cover the whole year. This restricts its usefulness as a resource.
Each section follows the same format. The lectionary texts are listed with a one or two sentence exegetical comment on each. The preacher writes three or four paragraphs of "reflections" her response to the readings and the issues or questions which she wants to address. Then follows a "sermon brief" of a couple of pages, then "suggestions for worship": call to worship, prayer of confession, assurance of pardon, benediction. These are often in form of litanies or responsive prayers. I am not sure how useful these might be for churches in Australasia. The book concludes with brief biographical notes on the contributors, a scripture index, and a subject index.
The preachers represent different denominational traditions and theological perspectives. They have different styles of preaching and address congregations in different contexts. What they have in common is that they are all women; the book is a women's preaching annual. Such a title and such a selection implies that there may be something distinctive about women's preaching, that it is in some way different from preaching by men. In their very brief introduction the editors give no hint as to what these differences might be, but in the first volume in the series they made three suggestions: women's preaching makes somewhat greater use of story, especially story based on personal experience; many women preachers hold a more communal view of authority than do many men; many women focus more than men on justice themes in their preaching. On the whole the sermons in this collection support these suggestions and I was particularly struck by the way in which many of the preachers used personal stories, sharing their lives and often their vulnerability with listeners/readers. I was also impressed by the imagination and creativity of some of the preachers. For example, one preaches on Genesis 21:8-21 from the perspective of Hagar; another links the story of the man born blind in John 9 with her own struggle against cancer; another gives a poetic meditation on Rebekah.
I would recommend this book to those who are interested in preaching and particularly to those who are interested in women's preaching. It is a helpful complement to theoretical studies such as The Woman in the Pulpit by Carol M. Noren (Abingdon, 1991). It would be useful for teachers of homiletics and those who are learning to preach, particularly women who are seeking female models and a "feminine voice".
Janet E. Crawford
FROM OXFORD TO THE BUSH; ESSAYS ON CATHOLIC ANGLICANISM IN AUSTRALIA
John A. Moses and Kenneth Cable eds.
(St Lucia: Broughton Press and SPCK, 1997) xxiii, 355pp. ISBN 187610606
Australian church history has been enriched by general histories such a Patrick O'Farrell's work on the catholic Church, J. D. Bollen on the Baptists and Graeme Chapman on the Churches of Christ. In the continuing absence of such a general history of the Anglican Church in Australia it is a pleasure to welcome this substantial contribution to Australian Anglican history.
The first part of the works consists of a reprint of fifteen essays from the Brisbane monthly The Church Chronicle of 1932-3 commemorating the centenary of the Oxford Movement. In the case of each of the contributors a short biography is presented (in most cases by the doyen of Australian Anglican historians, K. J. Cable). These commemorative pieces are all by clerics (except one) and all by people in the catholic tradition (except for one Evangelical). As Ruth Frappell points out in her summary of the centenary celebrations, they clearly illustrate how very much the focus was one events at "home": there are precious few mentions of the Australian experience. Despite that the celebrations also displayed some special characteristics of Australian Anglicanism (which, of course, it shared to a greater or lesser extent with other churches. Australian churches remained strongly derivative and dependant; the church was overly clerical (whereas similar celebrations in Britain were largely sponsored by the Church Union) and Australian Anglicans were overly diocesan. But the blame (or praise?) cannot be entirely placed on a range of links with societies in Britain, different styles of leadership or varieties of ecclesiastical tradition. The tyranny of distance has contributed to regionalism, surely, and so stamps the Anglican experience with some of those traits that mark the experience of all Australian Churches. A genuine ecumenical approach to the study and writing of Australian church history provides proof aplenty of distinctive Australian characteristics.
While this collection of essays in a valuable contribution to Australian church history, this reviewer must confess that the latter part of the collection (almost the whole of Part II) does not possess the same unity as the earlier Part. While the individual contributions are valuable, should they have formed a separate collection? It is not at all clear to this reviewer that they sit comfortably together with the same cohesion as the earlier sections of the book, while a theological reflection deserves separate treatment. Perhaps this is a matter of taste. It should not detract from the warmth of the welcome due to this publication. It is to be regretted that the book does not have an index. This is a serious omission. The bibliography does not include the most significant recent work on Tractarians P. B. Nockles, The Oxford Movement in Context (though Leighton Frappell makes use of it in his essay).
JOHN: EVANGELIST AND INTERPRETER
(Carlisle, Paternoster Press, 2nd edn. 1998) xviii, 340pp. ISBN 0853648239
A fresh generation of students of John's gospel will be grateful for this revised edition. In it Smalley provides a clear, lucid and balanced overview of the issues that face scholarly attention in the gospel. Positions are laid out concisely, and the pros and cons of an argument given. But Smalley is not reluctant to makes clear where his own judgements lie.
The book is not simply a lightly revised reissue of the earlier work. It has been extensively reworked and expanded. The first chapter, for example, provides a fuller description of the course of scholarly discussion about the relationship of the fourth gospel to the synoptic gospels. Smalley has modified his position on Johannine independence, stating that the question remains open and that the view that John is independent of the synoptics is less assured now than among an earlier generation of scholars. A number of the long chapters found in the earlier edition have been divided into two chapters, giving a tighter coherence to individual chapters. The footnotes provide some new material, and point the reader to further and more recent works on the gospel. In some cases the contents have been rearranged, so that related blocks of material, previously widely separated, have been brought into proximity with one another.
An example of this is to be found in chapters six and seven. Much of this review will devote attention to these chapters, as it is here that a good deal of the fresh material is to be found. These chapters also form, in a sense, the heart of Smalley's own understanding of the gospel. Chapter six (previously the first part of chapter 3) discusses the structure of the gospel. Smalley provides a brief overview of the most recently literary approach to the gospel, that of narrative criticism. This is a worklike description, in which a careful and important distinction between redaction, composition, and narrative criticism is made. Overall, however, it is too compressed a treatment to be really useful, and Smalley attends briefly to the work of only two scholars who have adopted a narrative critical approach, Alan Culpepper and Mark Stibbie. One or two others are noted in the footnotes, but there are a number of notable omissions, eg. G. R. O'Day (1986), J. L. Staley (1988), M. Davies (1992), and F. J. Moloney (1993). It is churlish to expect a survey such as this book provides to be comprehensive, but the reader should be advised that the scope and range of literary approaches is much wider than indicated here and that he or she should not rely solely on this book as a guide.
Smalley's own approach to the structure of the gospel is then presented. It is based on the insight that John's "centre" is a complex of sign, discourse, and "I am" sayings. He identifies six signs on John 2-11, with a seventh to be found in John 21. Each of these signs has an accompanying discourse and saying. I am not convinced that the case has been made for understanding the structure of the gospel to be formed by a "signs centre into which have been dovetailed discourses punctuated by 'I am' sayings" (p. 141). The connection between sign, discourse, and saying seems at times somewhat artificial, if not strained. Nor does the structure consistently follow the pattern suggested, as Smalley himself recognises. Indeed, in some cases, discourse and saying precede the sign, cf. the blind man (John 9) discourse on the light of life (John 8), saying, "I am the light of the world" (8.12). The first sign (water into wine, 2.1-11) has as its discourse the discussion with Nicodemus (3.1-21) while its saying is found in 15.1 ("I am the true vine"). Sign number six, the raising of Lazarus (John 11) is linked with John 10, the discourse on Jesus as the Shepherd/life giver, while the saying is, appropriately enough, 11.25 ("the resurrection and the life"). But sign number seven, the miraculous catch of fish, has as its associated saying "I am the good shepherd" (10.11) as it "develops and caps the image of Jesus as the door of the sheep" and conforms with the "missionary and inclusive" nature of the seventh sign. It should be noted that Smalley buttresses his argument here further material from the discourse in John 10, which structurally belongs to the sixth sign. The second sign in John 4 (the healing of the official's son) has 4.7-26 as its associated discourse. But this discourse could as well be linked with the first sign (the Cana miracle). Jesus provides as a gift the living water, just as he provided from the ritual water, superior wine. In fact, Smalley notes that 4.46 is part of the extension of this first sign (p. 146).
Smalley's mistake, in my opinion, lies in trying to force the gospel into a preconceived structure. It breaks down on analysis, and may fail to convince many readers. Far more convincing is the argument that the gospel must be read as a coherent whole, from which neither the prologue (1.1-18) nor the epilogue (21) may be easily detached. It is better, I think, to describe the gospel as held together by related and interwoven themes and motifs that recur throughout the narrative. Smalley is on safer ground when the claims that "the theme of life that Jesus makes available" is the theme linking the seven signs and discourses (p. 133). I suggest that it would be better to describe the seven signs and associated discourse material as the providing the thematic (not structural) and intellectual centre of the gospel (cf. p. 135).
Chapter seven (formerly an early section of the first edition's chapter six, structurally much later in the work) considers the Fourth Gospel's dramatic elements. It is a little difficult to know what to make of Smalley's claim that John's gospel is a drama. He describes the gospel as written with "dramatic sensitivity" (p. 144) and alludes to the gospel's dramatic techniques (passim) and speaks of its "dramatic quality" (p. 154). But it is not entirely clear, at least to this reader, whether the gospel should be understood as having been formally conceived of as the script of a drama, or whether it is essentially a narrative with dramatic qualities. More discussion is needed as to the nature and function of the dramatic techniques and their relationship to the gospel's evident narrative form. Dramatic narration does not ipso facto make a work into a drama; though the word may serve as a useful metaphor for this gospel.
Each reader must decide for him or herself how cogent Smalley's arguments (or these objections to his thesis) are found to be. That aside, readers of this review should now that Smalley's book provides an excellent introduction to the Fourth Gospel. Those turning to scholarly study of the gospel for the first time will find it a sure and clear guide to all the major issues. Those who wish to gain an overview of the progress and current state of Johannine studies can begin here. This book will stimulate further reflection upon, and a greater understanding of, a rich and fascinating gospel.
TERTULLIAN, FIRST THEOLOGIAN OF THE WEST
(Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997)
"Conflict is his life; opposites are his reality; and paradox is his intellectual delight." These words from Osborn's conclusion to his study sum up the portrait of the man presented in this monograph. It is a detailed and careful analysis of Tertullian's writings which brings to life the complex and contrasting nature of his character and thought.
Eric Osborn is a highly respected Australian scholar and this work is an important contribution to the recent renewal of scholarly interest in the figure of Tertullian. It comes only two years after David Rankin's very different study, Tertullian and the Church, also published by Cambridge University Press.
Osborn describes Tertullian as having a "a lust for simplicity" and chapter one provides an analysis of this theme in conjunction with that of perfection. Highlighting the apologetic thrust of Tertullian's work, he finds that the underlying theme of Tertullian's writings is the idea of the economy of salvation perfected and completed in Christ.
From here we are presented by Osborn with a Tertullianist puzzle and a paradox, both of which he attempts to resolve with considerable success. The puzzle is to understand Tertullian's famous dictum in de praescriptione haereticorum 7.9, "What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?" when his writings strongly belie this implied sentiment. And the paradox is reflected in his statement in de carne christi 5.4 "it is credible because inept, certain because impossible" where these concepts are normally seen to be opposites.
Osborn dedicates a chapter each to a resolution of these two matters and he presents the reader with a penetrating analysis of the place of argument and reason in the writing of the Carthaginian churchman. Professor Osborn suggests that Tertullian constantly relies upon critical reason and the tools of a philosophical training. Tertullian was inevitably a "disciple of Athens" but, he argues, at the centre of his understanding is the idea of perfection in Christ. Reason and the honing of its capacities in a philosophical training were powerful allies in demonstrating the revelation of the fullness of God in Christ and the redundancy of other approaches.
In chapter three Osborn unwraps the paradox by setting it in its context and showing how Tertullian's understanding of the otherness of God means that it is inevitable that an incarnation of his Son would result in outcomes that shock and confront humanity with realities that cannot easily be held together. If this were not so - then there could have been no actual incarnation. Paradox for Tertullian is a useful tool that sat well with his Stoic leanings.
Chapters four and five examine respectively Stoic influence in the apolegeticum and the nature and force of his arguments against Marcion. Chapters six and seven analyse his understanding of the Trinity and christology, and prayer and the bible. Chapter eight looks at Tertullian's doctrine of humanity and the church and Osborn indicates here that he favours Rankin's view that Tertullian in his later Montanist phase remained within the Catholic church of Carthage. Chapter nine analyses the nature of
Tertullian's sustained attack on Hermogenes and his "exposure" of the Valentinians.
Chapter ten examines the development of his views under the influence of the New Prophecy and his eschatology. And the concluding chapter presents an analysis of Tertullian's ethics highlighting what Osborn sees as its paradoxical themes and Tertullian's need to hold in tension both natural law and conscience, and the revelation of truth through the paraclete.
Osborn's masterly conclusion draws attention to some of Tertullian's weaknesses and to the strength of his capacity to be creative and innovative.
This book is not an easy read. The detailed nature of the study and the necessary frequent textual references are demanding of the reader and I am not sure that Professor Osborn's style which is very deliberate and careful always matches the considerable interest of his insights. But this study repays the demands it makes. Readers will find much here that is fresh and original and our understanding of Tertullian is significantly enhanced by its publication.
VASHTI'S VOICES: A JOURNAL EXPLORING THEOLOGIES FOR A JUST FUTURE
No. 2/1, Spring 1997, "Margins and Thresholds"
Why is there still a need for journals that explicitly address women's theologies, spiritualities, and experiences in churches? Haven't there been enough changes in our world regarding God-talk and relations between women and men? Recently I was searching for a primary text to use in a twentieth century theology unit. I came across one very substantial-looking book written by two prominent American scholars. But much to my dismay, there was not one woman theologian cited in the text's "map" of theology in this century. Do women still need their own spaces for theological reflection? Yes!
Vashti's Voices builds on the precedents of two earlier feminist theology journals in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. The first journal was Vashti's Voice, published in Auckland from 1978-1991 through the editorial leadership of Janet Crawford, Mitzi Nairn and Lynne Frith. The second journal was Women's Voice, the newsletter of the Women's Programme of the Conference of Churches in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The "re-voicing" of Vashti now includes Women's Voice and continues the legacy of women in Aotearoa/ New Zealand for an inclusive space of exploration and sharing.
Queen Vashti is remembered for her risky, forthright voice in the Book of Esther in the Hebrew Scriptures. Vashti's Voices celebrates this foremother, but now with the recognition that feminist theology and feminism are not univocal movements. The new editorial team represents a plurivocity of perspective, candidly expressed in the article tracing an email discussion on the limits and possibilities of inviting contributions. The team negotiates alternatives regarding men's contributions and expresses the commitment to moving the journal's voices in a multi-cultural, multi-religious direction. Their honesty and dialogical integrity is commendable.
This issue of Vashti's Voices includes short academic articles, book reviews, poems, drawings, conference news, research projects, and personal sharing. The goal is to "foster the ongoing development of theologies, particularly feminist theologies, that reflect our context in Aotearoa/ New Zealand, moving us beyond patriarchy." For Colloquium colleagues, Vashti's Voices will be a significant "spark" of information and imagination.
Nancy M. Victorin-Vangerud
Ellen van Wolde (Translated by John Bowden)
(London: SCM, ET 1997)
This little book provides a discussion of the book of Job as a whole in its present form with particular regard to the broad theological issues raised and grappled with in the various twists and turns of this complex text. Popular in form, and deceptively simple in its presentation, it makes the text accessible, and brings it to life, in such a way that it would provide an excellent introduction to Job for the uninitiated. At the same time, the clarity of its discussion is based on a solidity of scholarship and profundity of thought such that seasoned scholars may gain fresh insight.
The author uses the helpful analogy of the text as a triptych, in relation to which the reader must make the connections. Accordingly she sets out her discussion of the text sequentially, from the prologue in chs. 1-2 (the first panel), the first monologue of Job in ch. 3 (the first hinge), through the dialogues between the friends and Job in chs. 4-27 (the second panel), the second monologue of Job in chs. 28-31 and Eliphaz's speech in chs. 32-37 (the second hinge), to the final section comprising the God speeches and reactions to these in chs. 38-42 (the final panel). Her occasional punctuation of the discussion with creative illustrations for example invented scenarios (eg. pp. 18-20,42-43), stories and poetry (eg. pp. 15,16-17,35,47), and extracts from recent essays (eg. pp. 68-69,133-134) is helpful in reinforcing the relevance of the issues to a contemporary audience.
The ambiguity of the text, and therefore the possibility of a variety of interpretations, is acknowledged in principle (indeed as part of the message of the book), and at various points, such as in regard to, Job's piety in the prologue, the interpretation of the friends' speeches, and how to read Job 42:10-17. This ambiguity inherent in the text is illustrated in a particularly creative manner in relation to Eliphaz's speech in Job 4-5: one possible interpretation presented by an imaginative first person account by Eliphaz concerning what he is trying to communicate to Job is juxtaposed with a quite different, yet equally possible, interpretation presented through Job's eyes (pp. 51-54). Because of the popular genre, however, space does not permit for the most part technical detailed discussion of possible multiple translations and interpretations of specific verses. Inevitably also, the author, like most interpreters of Job, interprets this ambiguous text in terms of a particular line of thought.
Van Wolde sees the main theme of the book of Job to be the unbridgeable gulf, or confrontation, between the perspective of humans and that of God. The mistake that Job and the friends make is to suppose there is a correspondence between the human world and God, and therefore to try to apply (and thus absolutise) human time and context conditioned categories of justice to God. God's speeches show that the creation does not conform to human moral categories, but balances creation and chaos, life and death, good and evil, love and violence according to a plan that humans cannot know. Although this has been recognised before, the author does provide fresh insights in drawing out some implications from this. She argues that, since humans and God are so different, each is free. God, as we know from the beginning acts freely, not according to human justice but without cause or purpose "chinam". Correspondingly, humans can freely choose how to live their lives, justly or unjustly, with faith or without faith, for these are purely human activities. The responsibility for justice if that is desired devolves on human beings and can't be projected on to God. Accordingly, the character of Job is seen as developing from one who seemingly lives as a disinterested believer ("chinam"),who feels he sees things from the divine perspective (Job 1), to one who sees things from the human perspective into which he thinks God should fit (Job 2 - 31), to one who, after the God speeches (in Job 38-41), realises that he can only see from the human perspective and will never understand God's perspective (Job 42:1-6). Only then does Job truly become a disinterested believer for, in seeing that God cannot be reduced to human views, Job is free to choose to believe "chinam". The author also highlights in an original way the role of Job's wife in setting Job on this developmental path through her vital speech to him in Job 2:9.
Overall, this is a solid, creative, and insightful discussion which although not the last word on the book of Job - as no interpretation can be is well worth reading and considering both at a popular and more scholarly level.
John R. Bartlett, ed. (London: Routledge, 1997)
xv, 176 pp. ISBN 0415141141
This volume is composed of seven papers that were originally delivered as public lectures: John R. Bartlett, "What has Archaeology to do with the Bible or Vice Versa?"; William G. Dever, Archaeology and the Emergence of Early Israel"; Andrew D. H. Mayes, "Kuntillet `Ajrud and the History of Israelite Religion"; John R. Bartlett, "The Archaeology of Qumran"; Brian Lalor, "The Temple Mount of Herod the Great at Jerusalem: Recent Excavations and Literary Sources"; Sean V. Freyne, "Archaeology and the Historical Jesus"; and Claudine Dauphin, "On the Pilgrim's Way to the Holy City of Jerusalem: The Basilica of Dor in Israel". The first six were delivered at colloquia organised by the Consultative Committee for Biblical and Near Eastern Studies of the Royal Irish Academy in November 1994 and November 1995.
The title of this volume should not be interpreted too literally. While Bartlett's introductory essay and those by Dever, Mayes and Freyne all focus specifically on issues that arise at the intersection of biblical studies and the archaeology of ancient Palestine, the other three essays have only a peripheral relationship to biblical studies. Bartlett's paper on the archaeology of Qumran is precisely what the title claims, an overview of results of the excavations at Khirbet Qumran. Lalor's article on the excavations of the Herodian temple mount focuses on the relationship between these excavations and the writings of Josephus, attempting to demonstra te the reliability of Josephus as an observer of architectural features. Dauphin's essay examines the excavations of the Basilica of Dor and relates these findings to textual information regarding Christian pilgrimages to Jerusalem. The truly common factor running through these papers is their interest in the archaeology of Palestine, ranging over two millennia from ca. 1200 BCE to 800 CE.
The four essays which deal directly with the issues surrounding the relationship between biblical studies and the archaeology of Palestine all demonstrate that the available archaeological data provide valuable insights into the social, religious and political contexts of the biblical texts. For example, Dever argues that the origins of Israel can only be understood by a careful examination of the archaeological data and that Israelite ethnicity can only be distinguished on the basis of the archaeological assemblage (a position not shared by all archaeologists or cultural historians). Mayes shows that the material and textual remains interpreted together indicate that the religion of ancient Israel was more diverse than a cursory reading of the texts of the Hebrew Bible might suggest. Freyne delineates several ways in which the quest for the historical Jesus can be greatly enhanced and expanded by using the available archaeological evidence as part of a careful examination and reconstruction of the sociology of Galilee in the first century CE. Each of these papers demonstrates that, as Bartlett argues in his introductory essay, the results of archaeological excavations cannot be ignored by biblical interpreters nor can the textual evidence be ignored by archaeologists.
The original oral form of these papers is still evident in their published form. On the positive side, this results in essays which are, on the whole, clear and readable. They contain sufficient in-text citations and bibliographies to lead the interested reader to further resources, without being burdened by masses of footnotes which can be a barrier to non-specialist readers. The primary weakness of the oral form is the difficulty of connecting the text with the numerous archaeological plans and drawings. Undoubtedly the speakers had these in a form which allowed them to indicate features to the audience while they were speaking. Unfortunately the reader does not have the advantage of having the author present. These essays would benefit from more careful editing to make the connections clearer between the text and the features being discussed in the illustrations.
This volume would be useful to readers interested in the archaeology of ancient Palestine and/or biblical studies. Many of the essays could be fruitfully used in undergraduate courses in biblical studies, archaeology or early church history. The papers in this collection provide concise and readable summaries of the current state of the discipline in several important areas of research.
James M. Trotter
Dr Keith Dyer, Professor of New Testament, Whitley College, Melbourne.
Eric McAndrew is a member of the Veritas Fellowship, a Uniting Church group in Western Australia promoting dialogue between Christianity and mainstream science
The Revd Dr Janet Crawford, Lecturer in Church History and Liturgies, St John's College, Auckland.
The Revd Dr Austin Cooper, Lecturer in Church History, Melbourne College of Divinity, and former Master, Catholic Theological College, Melbourne.
The Revd Dr Derek Tovey, Lecturer in New Testament, St John's College, Auckland.
The Revd Dr Ric Barrett-Lennard, University Chaplain and part-time Lecturer in Church History, Murdoch University, Perth.
Dr Nancy Victorin-Vangerud, Lecturer in Systematic Theology, Murdoch University, Perth.
Dr Suzanne Boorer, Lecturer in Old Testament, Murdoch University, Perth.
Dr James Trotter, Associate Lecturer in Old Testament, Murdoch University, Perth.
John Barton (ed.), The Cambridge Conmapnion to Biblical Inbterpretation (Cambridge University Press, 1998), 0521485932
Thomas F. Best & Dagmar Heller (eds), Eucharistic Worship in Ecumenical Contexts (Geneva, WCC, 1998), 2825412325
Robert D. Dale, Leadership for a Changing Church: Charting the Shape of a River (Nashville, Abingdon, 1998), 0687014859
Cindy Dingwall, Worship Time with Kids: Bible-based Activities for Children's Church (Nashville, Abingdon, 1998) 0687052491
John M. Drescher, Invocations and Benedictions for the Revised Common Lectionary (Nashville, Abingdon, 1998) 0687046297
Christopher Duraisingh (ed.), Called to One Hope: The Gospel in Diverse Cultures (Geneva, WCC Publications, 1998) 282541235X
The Ecumenical Review, vol. 50, No. 2 (April 1998), "Turn to God - Rejoice in Hope": Unfolding the Eighth Assembly Theme.
Alan Falconer (ed.), Faith and Order in Moshi: The 1996 Commission Meeting (Geneva, WCC, 1998), 2825412333
Robert Karl Gnuse, No Other Gods: Emergent Monotheism in Israel, JSOTS 241, (Sheffield Academic Press, 1997) 1850756570
C. David Grant, Thinking through our Faith: Theology for 21st Century Christians (Nashville, Abingdon, 1998), 0687017270
Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches: Seventh Report (Geneva, WCC, 1998) 2825412597
Shannon Jung et al, Rural Ministry: The Shape of the Renewal to Come (Nashvillke, Abingdon, 1998) 0687016061
Randy L. Maddox (ed.), Rethinking Wesley's Theology for Contemporary Methodism (Nashville, Kingswood, 1998) 0687060451
John S. Mansell, The Funeral: A Pastor's Guide (Nashville, Abingdon, 1998) 0687067901
James Earl Massey, The Burdensome Joy of Preaching (Nashville, Abingdon, 1998) 0687050693
Johannes C. Moor, The Rise of Yahwehism: The Roots of Israelite Monotheism (Leuven, Peeters, rev edn. 1997)
Lewis S. Mudge, The Church as a Moral Community: Ecclesiology and Ethics in Ecumenical Debate (New York, Continuum, 1998), 0826410480
Robert L. Randall, Walking through the Valley: Understanding and Emerging from Clergy Depression (Nashville, Abingdon, 1998) 0687014638
Anne Rogovin, Learning by Doing: Home & School Activities for all Children (Nashville, Abingdon, 1998)0687000858
Michael Root & Risto Saarinen (eds.), Baptism & the Unity of the Church (Geneva, WCC, 1998), 2825412503
Lyle E. Schaller, The Church Consultant: The Collected Works on CD-ROM (Nashville, Abingdon Software, 1998) 0687066891
Hershel Shanks and Jack Meinhardt (eds.), Aspects of Monotheism: How God is One (Washington, Biblical Archaelogical Society, 1997)
Leonard Sweet, 11 Genetic Gateways to Spiritual Awakening (Nashville, Abingdon, 1998) 0687051738
Barbara Brown Taylor, God in Pain: Teaching Sermons on Suffering (Nashville, Abingdon, 1998)0687058872
Robert can de Weyer, Celtic Prayers: A Book of Celtic Devotion, Daily Prayers and Blessings (Nashville, Abingdon, 1998), 0687078474
C. Dale White, Making a Just Peace: Human Rights & Domination Systems (Nashville, Abingdon, 1998), 0687031338
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