Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Nijay Gupta on Goldingay

Nijay Gupta has written two reviews of John Goldingay's new book, Do We Need the New Testament?

1. His first post is positive: Goldingay is right!
2. His second post pushes back: Goldingay is wrong!

I think Nijay does a great job of this. Let me say that I simply didn't grow up hearing that the OT wasn't my testament. In fact, I knew far more about the OT going into college than I did about the New Testament. I tested out of NT Survey in college at SWU and I remember thinking, wow, I know a whole lot less about the NT than the OT. I take this as a reflection of how much OT preaching I must have heard growing up and going to camp meeting.

In fact, I identify more with what I take to be the background of Fee and Stuart. I grew up with concern about "shaving the edges of your beard" (Lev. 19:27) and women "wearing that which pertaineth to a man" (in my case, slacks; Deut. 22:5). I grew up needing to hear about passages in the NT that told me not to let anyone judge me for whether I observed a sabbath (Col. 2:16). We did, however, eat pork chops.

I respect Goldingay greatly, but some of the things he says about the NT are nothing short of astounding to me (read Nijay's review).

I have been rather soft-spoken on my two-fold hermeneutic till now, believe it or not. But I think I will get more assertive in this now second phase to my career as a scholar. There are two distinct ways to read the Bible--historically and sacramentally. They need not contradict. They are both legitimate.

I am both tired of the theological interpreters who pretend history does not exist. And of course I reject the old school historians who dismiss the sacramental entirely. Goldingay, in typical evangelical fashion, tries to overlay the historical with the sacramental. Very popular right now. He skews the history to make it fit with the theological, and he pretends the sacramental is the historical.

But it basically amounts to fundamental historical incompetence. It will not stand.

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