Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Peter Enns Question 6: Our Review of I & I, Part 3

Here is the sixth installment of our interview with Pete Enns, the final response to our online review of his book, Inspiration and Incarnation

You can read the earlier Q & As at the links below:

#1 Who are you?
#2 A Good Calvinist?
#3 How about them Nazarenes?
#4 What'd you think of our review of your book, part 1
#5 What'd you think of our review of your book, part 2

Now #6
Here are some reactions to your third post on I&I, pertaining to chapter 4 and the NT’s use of the OT (January 26).

1.Here we go again with the therapy thing. Sheesh. I DON’T NEED THERAPY, and if you don’t believe me, you can call my therapist any time you want.

2.You suggest I may have used too many examples of the NT’s use of the OT and Second Temple interpretation. Possibly, but the opposite criticism has been tossed my way, namely by Greg Beale, who said I have far too few, not enough to support my paradigm. I am sure, Ken, that you and others somewhat sympathetic to the (rather obvious) hermeneutical point I am making in this chapter need less convincing than some, but there are others out there with a vested interest to marginalize the hermeneutical challenges of the NT’s use of the OT. I am thinking I should have drawn on even more examples.

3.I agree with your sketch of the problem, that evangelicalism has given pride of place to the “original” meaning of Scripture as the locus of authority, and this creates significant tension with the behavior of Scripture itself. As I have often put it with my students, it is a grammatical-historical study of the NT that shows that the NT authors are not doing grammatical-historical exegesis of the OT. This does not sit well with some evangelical paradigms.

I agree, too, that the Beale/Carson Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old is an attempt to answer this problem, but it doesn’t. Some essays there are pretty good, but the hermeneutical issues are rarely addressed, and when they are, there seems to be some sympathy to a more flexible understanding of NT hermeneutical practices than the authors (esp. Beale) are willing elsewhere to allow. See, for example, the comments on Matthew’s use of Hos 11:1 and the “moveable well” tradition in 1 Cor 10:4. All of this reminds me of the Carson edited Justification and Variegated Nomism volume (to which I contributed) where the editor’s assessment of the essays did not square very well with what the essays themselves were saying.

At any rate, I know there are a couple of hard-hitting reviews in the works out there, so I will leave it at that.

4.You do a good job summarizing my points in this chapter. Thanks!

5.You ask at the end where all this will lead, and you do so, I think, with an air of anticipation (rather than dread on the part of some of my critics). Well, that is the point, isn’t it? But, as I see it, where “it” is heading only has meaning if we can be clear on what the “it” is we are talking about. With respect to the NT’s use of the OT, that “it” is not a hermeneutical phenomenon rooted in an evangelical understanding of the primacy of grammatical-historical exegesis. I do not find that in the least tenable intellectually and that should be stated plainly.

1 comment:

Aaron R. said...

Hi Pete,

First of all, thanks for the outstanding contribution of I&I to the academic conversation on these issues. Your work has contributed quite strongly to my theological development.

You wrote:
"5.You ask at the end where all this will lead, and you do so, I think, with an air of anticipation (rather than dread on the part of some of my critics). Well, that is the point, isn’t it?"

I have studied at Bible college, and am now finishing a philosophy degree at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI). I am going to grad-school after I finish, and am hoping to teach and go into theology.

I am interested in "where all this will lead" with regard to the theological implications of your exegetical contributions. For example---if your exegetical work is demonstrating that God reveals himself in ways that we did not otherwise suspect (using the "messiness" of humanity, etc.), we should therefore revise our ideas of the theological doctrine of revelation.

Stuff like that.

I am chiefly interested in theology, but I am keenly aware of the deep chasm that seems to divide biblical studies from theological development. Brazos Press has a new "theological" commentary series, where theologians comment on text rather than exegetes. But I would rather turn this upside down---what would theology look like if it were developed in light of this exegesis?

All of that to say---
Can you recommend any starting points for looking at theological implications of these exegetical insights?

And secondly, what graduate schools and seminaries would you recommend (and NOT recommend) for a student such as myself, who is interested in cultivating critical thinking that sharpens faith?

Aaron R.