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Intellectual Integrity and Faith? 2: Genesis (RJS)

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Bill T. Arnold, Director of Hebrew Studies and the Paul S. Amos Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary has a new commentary out, Genesis (New Cambridge Bible Commentary Series)
.  This commentary is described as “an innovative interpretation of one of the most profound texts of world literature: the book of Genesis. … The author of this new commentary combines older critical approaches with the latest rhetorical methodologies to yield fresh interpretations accesible to scholars, clergy, teachers, seminarians, and interested laypeople.” (Ok – that covers just about everyone.)  Over the next several posts we will dig into his commentary on Genesis 1-11; The Primeval History. 

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There is always a bit of concern when terms such as innovative and fresh are used to describe an approach to scripture.  After all the books have been around for millenia – in the case of Genesis something approaching three millenia – what more can be said without treading on dangerous ground? But we know much more these days of the language, content, history and context of the book than was known 1500 years ago when Augustine wrestled with the text, 500 years ago when the reformers wrestled with the text, or even 50 years ago when our grandparents wrestled with the text. These data, this knowledge, cannot be dismissed or ignored as we move forward.

Arnold’s approach assumes the essential validity of the source analysis approach to the text of Genesis.  But Genesis must also be read canonically as a whole. In brief summary: Large portions of the text were written by a Yahwist author (J), a historian writing in the 8th or 9th century BC or before, incorporating earlier sources in the text. Although components have been assigned to an Elohistic author (E) it is unlikely that this existed as an independent document – thus this material is designated JE.  The second source is a priestly author (P) and Arnold is also convinced of a pre-exilic date for this material.  Finally Arnold suggests that Genesis, including Genesis 1-11 also contains material from a pre-exilic Holiness editor.

Rather, I propose that the Holiness editor has composed portions of Genesis as new material and edited the whole. So, for example, Gen 1:1-2:3 and the t?led?t structuring clauses may be explained as the Holiness redactor’s way of introducing and tying together the authoritative and long-revered Yahwistic traditions with the equally authoritative but more recent priestly materials.  The result is a unified whole. p.17

The t?led?t clauses frame the descendents or generations of someone or something and are used to structure the entire book.  The end result is a crafted and carefully organized whole.

The process of composition of the book of Genesis, using these various sources and traditions of ancient Israel, may be compared to the composition of the gospels of the New Testament. As the gospel author’s collected the narratives and teachings of Jesus, combining both written and oral sources, producing “an orderly account” (Luke 1:1-4) so a final redactor has done so for ancient Israel’s traditions devoted to origins – primeval and ancestral. I propose that the final edition of Genesis is the result of a similar process by an editor of the Holiness school of pre-exilic Israel, who combined and organized these various materials into a continuous and meaningful whole. p.17-18.

This leads to the first of two major questions today:

What do you think of Arnold’s comparison of the
composition of Genesis and the composition of the Gospels – source
material arranged to produce an orderly account?

Bottom line: while there may be Mosaic material in the sources used  by the Yahwist author, Genesis is not univocal and it was not composed as a whole by Moses, or anyone else. 

Arnold makes the point that when the biblical sources are held to the same standards as other ancient near eastern (ANE) texts the general context of the patriarchal story must be taken seriously – including Mesopotamian roots and sojourns in Syria-Palestine and Egypt.  The Ancestral Narratives can be rooted in the context of history. 

The Primeval History is different. Although the narrative can be placed in the context of ANE places and ideas, it is not rooted in history in the same fashion.  In fact, it appears that Genesis 1:1-2:3 and the six day creation is one of the latest additions to the text designed to set the tone and introduce the whole, composed in the late monarchy, before the exile.

Thursday we will come back to consider the text of Genesis 1:1-2:3, but I would like to end this post with a consideration of the inspiration and intent of the text of Genesis.

Although the analogy between the form of the gospels and the form of Genesis is interesting, it has some limitations. Comparison of the resurrection accounts in the four gospels or the cleansing of the Temple in Mark and John should tell us something about the nature and purpose of scripture – and this applies to Genesis as well. On the other hand, Genesis, especially Genesis 1-11, is not assembled from eyewitness accounts or even from recent or reliable oral tradition, and this begs a question, the second major question for today:

What is the nature of the source material incorporated into the composition of Genesis 1-11 – how is this material inspired by God and inerrant in the original writing?  Or is it? Is the inspiration in the assembly and intent of the final text? Or are inspiration and/or inerrancy the wrong terms to use in the first place?



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phil_style

posted February 3, 2009 at 6:52 am


RJS, I’ve been awaiting the continuation of the series for some days now, and am glad that we have something to wrestle with. I am neither textual scholar, nor historian. My field is in earth/spatial science. I do know however, that there are those who would fiercely oppose the idea that the entirety of Genesis (save perhaps the last fraction on Moses’ death) was not written by Moses. I do not fall into that category though. In some respects, I simply have to refer to those that have expertise in the field of ANE literature.
For too long, I feel, biblical interpretation has remained the exclusive domain of theologians (no disrespect to theologians intended). The inter-disciplinary approach (aka LeRon Schultz) can help us understand more of why the texts were compiled, and what messages they have for us still. My only concerns is whether or not (to what degree) it matters what kind of vie of Genesis that the NT writer had. I’ve heard it argued that “scripture interprets scripture”, but then I wonder, who interprets the scripture that interprets the scripture?



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Luke

posted February 3, 2009 at 9:29 am


Interesting. I find it odd that Arnold actually follows the documentary hypothesis because (1) he’s at a conservative seminary (and most conservative scholars claims Mosaic authorship) and (2)it’s really losing ground fast…really fast (even among the higher critical world, thanks to Brevard Childs in my mind). I don’t say that to imply Mosaic authorship. I actually think that’s somewhat of a fairy-tale (though I do think there are probably Mosaic sources). The JEDP theory neglects the document as literature and looks at the text as some redactional mess; where we have 4 different sources kind of intertwined together. While this sounds nice and novel, it simply doesn’t hold up to the evidence when Genesis is read as a whole literarily. The pieces fit together too well for there to be 4 random sources stitched together and mixed up. So I think he’s wrong in that regard. Now I don’t doubt that over the ages there have been editors and redactors, but as far as some neat little 4-source theory that were mixed up and stitched together…not a chance. There is absolutely no evidence for it apart from reading the text in a really strange fashion. I don’t have a doubt in my mind that there are sources in Genesis, in the Pentateuch, and throughout the Bible. But as far as what they are, how many there are, what characteristics each have, etc….lets be honest, nobody knows. I respect the scholar that says that as opposed to the one who proposes a solution that is purely hypothetical and speculative. At least he says to read it canonically, but even that is undermined by his source speculation. Maybe he actually does read it canonically in his exegesis.
In regards to Genesis 1, I’m interested to hear more of his thoughts. There are more parallels in Genesis 1 with ancient Egypt than there are with any of the Mesopotamian creation stories and gods, so a late monarchical date causes me to be skeptical. I think Genesis 1 was composed closer to the time of Moses, given the impact Egypt and their gods must have had on Israel and how well this lines up with the polemics in Genesis 1.
As far as the inspiration/inerrancy thing…I stopped caring about the latter term 2 years ago, but I’m willing to hold on to the former for now until the neo-fundamentalists start using it to justify their post-enlightenment hermeneutic. Then I’ll just move on to something else ;-)



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Bprjam

posted February 3, 2009 at 9:37 am


Great questions, RJS – I’ve always struggled with how to conceive of “inerrancy” in response to a text that was probably redacted at some point in its transmission to us. What exactly is inspired? The drafts, or when the document was “locked down” by the jewish scribes. Especially with books of history like Kings, and Chronicles this becomes problematic.
In any case, I think inerrancy is the wrong category to think about books like Genesis, since the nature of this literature is more mythic in nature. Think of Paul Revere’s ride. The popular myth may not be “inerrant” (i.e., perfectly historically accurate), but the point is the meaning behind the action, and the details may be altered to emphasize that deeper reality.
If we think in terms of myth, the “source material” becomes the Israelite understanding of God’s action in creation and in salvation (through Abraham). It may not be “inerrant” in that it is perfectly historically accurate – but that’s not the point. The point is to emphasize God’s action in creation.
I’m a long-time reader, but these questions stimulated me enough to generate my first post.



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RJS

posted February 3, 2009 at 9:38 am


Luke,
I think that you are saying roughly the same thing as Arnold about the text. Arnold talks about the need to take both a synchronic and diachronic look at the text.
Or are you saying that the idea that the final editor, author used preexisting sources is inherently wrong? I actually think that it is obvious, even to a lay reader.



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Travis Greene

posted February 3, 2009 at 9:45 am


What is the nature of the source material incorporated into the composition of Genesis 1-11 – how is this material inspired by God and inerrant in the original writing? Or is it? Is the inspiration in the assembly and intent of the final text? Or are inspiration and/or inerrancy the wrong terms to use in the first place?
To borrow from (as almost always) C.S. Lewis, it’s the chosen mythology. Inerrancy is not a good term to use, but inspiration is. “Inspiration” is a biblical word (and more importantly, a biblical idea), unlike “inerrancy”. As to the how, that’s certainly beyond our ken.
But I think the inspiration is in the observation of God’s good word, the original translation of that world into storytelling and mythmaking done communally around the campfire, the oral transmission of those tales, and then (once technology caught up), the process of writing them down, and whatever editing and compilation took place, whenever that was. It doesn’t stretch my imagination much to think of God guiding and inspiring that whole process, as part of his relationship with the chosen people.



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phil_style

posted February 3, 2009 at 9:56 am


Travis your comment “Inerrancy is not a good term to use, but inspiration is. “Inspiration” is a biblical word (and more importantly, a biblical idea), unlike “inerrancy” ” just sparked off a whole new set of neurons in my brain (and some endorphines too it would seem). Excellent! thanks!



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Rob

posted February 3, 2009 at 10:02 am


Luke,
I would agree that JEDP as a source theory may be losing ground, but source theory in general is not. As you point out, and I would agree, to lock it down to 4 neat sources is nice, but not possible. However, there is general consensus among most “non-conservative” scholars that 100% Mosaic authorship is just as unlikely. As far as Childs, I would argue that he wasn’t against source theory. His approach was canonical, i.e. what role do these text play in the canon, and not opposed to source theory. In what I have read of Childs (which admittedly is not extensive), he assumed some form of JEDP, especially in his discussions on Genesis 1-11.



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ChrisB

posted February 3, 2009 at 11:48 am


We’re still playing with a 4-source theory? I thought Kitchens had shown that was pretty unlikely.
Can you look at the Gospels and tell me Jesus doesn’t see Moses as the source for Genesis?
If all of this is just a way to wrest authority away from Gen 1-3 (as it appears to me), what keeps someone else from doing the same to the 10 Commandments or whatever your favorite “social justice” passage is?



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RJS

posted February 3, 2009 at 12:02 pm


ChrisB,
Arnold does not take a strict four source theory – but does see multiple sources and an editor at work.
With respect to Kitchen – I don’t think most evangelical Old Testament scholars today actually think that he successfully discredited a general source theory for the Pentateuch. In fact Ken Sparks in his book (God’s Word in Human Words) says that it was Kitchen’s description of the source theory and his presentation of the evidence – followed by what Sparks found to be an inadequate refutation, that convinced him that the core of it (not all the details) was in fact correct.
Source criticism of Genesis is not my area of expertise however, and I would like to hear from some who know more about it.



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RJS

posted February 3, 2009 at 12:21 pm


ChrisB,
And with respect to this question “Can you look at the Gospels and tell me Jesus doesn’t see Moses as the source for Genesis?”
I don’t think that this is a relevant question. Jesus was born, fully human, at a specific point in time, into a specific cultural situation, for a specific purpose. Without Sin. Incarnate Son of God.
So does this mean he was omniscient and stood aloof of his time and place? Did his view of hygiene conform to his culture or reflect our modern scientific knowledge of germs? Did his view of illness and disability include a knowledge of the genetic causes for many ailments? Is it sinful to have the worldview in this sense of the local culture? No – of course not. I think this extends to aspects of contemporary first century views of history and scripture as well.
I certainly think Genesis is a part of the canon and I am not trying to wrest authority away – but I do think that it has been read with wrong “eyes” in our evangelical church.



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Rick

posted February 3, 2009 at 12:32 pm


RJS #10-
Intesting point: People in the 21st Century know more about Scripture than Jesus.
I wonder in what other ways He was mistaken. ;)



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Luke

posted February 3, 2009 at 1:42 pm


RJS (#4),
I may be closer to Arnold than I realize, but I see much more value in the synchronic approach as opposed to the diachronic. I see little value, if any at all, in a diachronic approach to be frank. I am not saying that the final editor/redactor using preexisting sources is wrong. As I said before, I think sources were indeed used. I was just making the point that we have no idea how many were used, we have no idea where different sources were used, we have no idea which sources were used, we have no idea at what time period sources were included, etc. So because of this, I think it’s unfruitful to speculate and we must read the text “canonically” (as Childs would say, also synonymous with synchronically). If I were writing a Genesis commentary, I would spend very little time talking about sources b/c of our lack of knowledge. I think it is very clear that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are from 2 different sources (I personally don’t see any other way around it), but I feel that we must still read them canonically. I don’t feel that many other portions of scripture are very clear in regards to different sources as are Gen. 1 & 2. I guess I just see source criticism as kind of a dying discipline that didn’t achieve very much.
Rob (#7),
I’m glad to see that we agree about JEDP theory. Source theory in general may not be losing ground, but I believe with the rise of literary and canonical criticism in the last 20-30 years, it is not very authoritative or payed very much attention to. Bultmann’s views were extreme and I frankly think he was dead wrong about many things. I believe he did more to hurt scholarship than he did to improve it. I don’t think it’s important nor fruitful to tell if this passage is from “P” or that is from “J.”
I admit that 100% Mosaic authorship is not likely (pretty much impossible). I don’t think Moses wrote about his death, nor did he write that he was the most humble man to walk the face of the earth. As I said earlier, 100% Mosaic authorship is somewhat of a fairy-tale that neo-fundamentalists like to hold on to b/c they have to have an answer for everything. I’m just saying that we don’t know the answer. I do think that some of what we see in the Pentateuch is from Mosaic sources (Yahweh did tell Moses to write things down), but to extrapolate that and say that all of it is Mosaic is myopic. I believe even many critical scholars would agree with that theory. Even conservative OT scholars, of whom Arnold is one, are finally admitting that every word of the Pentateuch was probably not written by Moses. At the institution I attend the OT scholars essentially say that we can see Moses’ hand on the Pentateuch but he probably didn’t write it all, nor are all the sources Mosaic. The guys who would claim it is all Mosaic would be at institutions like Southern and Bob Jones. I know Childs wasn’t against source theory (I’m not against it, I just think it’s unfruitful and entirely speculative), but he saw its weaknesses and chose the canonical route, a route that has helped the progression of OT scholarship very much and I am very thankful for. I am not advocating throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I am just saying lets be honest and say we don’t know the answer to most of these questions.
ChrisB,
I don’t know anything about Kitchens’ theory, but a lot of people have shown that JEDP is unlikely (even critical scholars). Those who advocate the 4-source theory don’t read the Bible as literature. Rather, they perform literary surgery and try to pick it apart and come up with absurd conclusions. A canonical approach and a literary approach, which have both gained great respect in the OT field, are the route most are going nowadays. As far as the “Jesus” proof, I really like RJS’ answer and agree with her 100%. You become Nestorian and docetic when you make arguments like that and you neglect Christ’s humanity and incarnation. God contextualizes to meet people where they are at. Some things are of no concern to him if his children don’t know the answer. I don’t see different sources being used or a denial of Mosaic authorship to be a way to undermine the authority of Genesis 1-3 and think it’s intellectually dishonest to make that claim. Authorship doesn’t prove or disprove content or substance. Authorship is solely traditional and doesn’t change the meaning of the text one bit.



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ChrisB

posted February 3, 2009 at 1:48 pm


RJS … wow. I know we wrestle with what the incarnation involved and what it means to be fully God and fully man, but you’re opening a huge can o’ worms. Rick demonstrates this nicely.
“So does this mean he was omniscient and stood aloof of his time and place?”
If not, then we can say he was wrong about his mission, the nature of atonement, the judgement of “sin,” everlasting life, hell, and anything else we want to say was simply a product of the ancient, superstitious, patriarchal, pre-scientific society in which he lived.
I know, you said he was born for a “specific purpose,” but you’ll have to defend the idea that he knew what it was.
I’ve always said an idea is not shown to be false simply by the fact that it makes theology harder, but be sure you want to go down that road.



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Luke

posted February 3, 2009 at 2:07 pm


Chris,
Why do we always have to result to slippery slope arguments? We need to learn to live with tension and not see things so black and white. Just because Jesus contextualized himself and called the Pentateuch the books of Moses, even if Moses didn’t write them, does not at all imply or leave open the opportunity to suggest that he was wrong in everything he said. That is a slippery-slope argument, and they are dead wrong about 99% of the time.



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RJS

posted February 3, 2009 at 2:22 pm


ChrisB,
It is a “wow” kind of thought – what exactly it means for Jesus to be God incarnate, fully human as well as fully divine. Humans are embodied – and limited in many ways as a result. Jesus did perform miracles before the resurrection – but these were for a purpose and through the power of the Father. He didn’t appear and disappear and such before the resurrection. The fact that Jesus called the Pentateuch the books of Moses is a very minor consideration.
But the suggestion actually comes not out of the current discussion, but from reading evangelical NT scholars and their thoughts on Jesus. This has framed much of my thinking on these issues. Perhaps Scot will weigh in here.



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AHH

posted February 3, 2009 at 2:35 pm


The problem with slippery slope arguments is that, once you accept one of them, you end up accepting all of them :-)
Seriously, Jesus was incarnated in a culture where tradition meant that “Moses” was a common way of referring to the Pentateuch. It makes sense that Jesus would use the same idiom. This *could* be for the sake of effective communication when Jesus really knew better (like Calvin’s concept of “accommodation” in Scripture). Or it *could* be a consequence of kenosis, the full humanity of Jesus (would the incarnated Jesus have scored 1600 on his SATs? would he have shared his culture’s ideas about many things?).
Either way, I don’t think this use of “Moses” by Jesus means source approaches to the Pentateuch are wrong, any more than Jesus’ use of the mustard seed means that botanists are wrong when they tell us it isn’t really the smallest seed.
One could argue similarly about Paul’s use of “Adam” in referring to human sin, but some would see that as sliding too far down the slope …



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RJS

posted February 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm


Luke,
If by source criticism you mean attempts to reconstruct original documents and such, I agree with you – the power of Genesis is in the final canonical document – and this is what I think is inspired.
But now we get to what “inspired” means.
I hold pretty much the same view about the gospels – all this talk about M and L and Q and dissected parts of Q and such is somewhat informative, but largely a speculative exercise. The gospel writers used sources – but the canonical documents are the four books we have. We need to read them canonically, not dissect them into bits.
But now we get to the interesting part. I seriously doubt that Jesus “cleansed the Temple” at Passover time twice – yet John has it early in his ministry (John 2) long before the Triumphal Entry (John 12) and Mark has it late (the day after the triumphal entry starting the passion week (Mark 11)). Is one of these error? Or should we take it as guide to what it means to think about scripture as the inspired Word of God in the first place?
How we answer this question – how I answer this question – comes back and impacts how we (or I) look at Genesis 1-11 (and much of the rest of the OT).



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Rob

posted February 3, 2009 at 3:30 pm


Good thoughts RJS. Here’s my issue though with a solely canonical approach. I don’t see an easy separation between the canonization process and the creation/editing process of the Scriptures. So, if we look solely to the canon, we see John placing Jesus’ death at a different time than the other Gospels. What do we make of that? Well, we could say that John’s purpose is theological, and he wishes to tie it to Jesus as the Lamb…whereas the other writers might have a different purpose. We can’t arrive at such conclusions from canonical approaches alone, but from contextual, historical, and genre understandings of how the text came to be. That’s why I think we need all of those things (culture, genre, history, canon) to get a better glimpse of inspiration. I view inspiration as a process that involves all of that, and that is accomplished through the imperfect vessel of humanity. God is the primary source of Scripture, but humanity was the immediate source.



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Chris E

posted February 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm


ChrisB, I usually agree with you but I think RJS and others are correct about the Jesus/Moses thing. I just looked through Matthew and Mark and could not find a single instance where Jesus attributed the written material to Moses. He often said something like “Moses said” or “Moses commanded” but he never says “Moses wrote”. As for “the book of Moses” perhaps that is akin to saying, “the book about Moses” or “the book of the story of Moses” rather than “the book Moses wrote.” I haven’t looked through Luke and John yet, and of course there is the rest of the NT, since they are inerrant/inspired/not wrong too often.



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Randy

posted February 3, 2009 at 5:00 pm


Just a short comment on RJS’s and Chris B’s thread on what Jesus knew. This is not complex scholarship but reflective thought.
I just finished a few chapters in Henri Nouwen et. al. “Compassion: A View of the Christian Life.” There Nouwen mines what it meant for Jesus to be “God with us” quite deeply. He considers that Phil. 2 presents Jesus as making himself fully subject to the powers and principalities and everything else that made human life in that period so tenuous.
“You’all” are right. This is a can of worms, but I think a fruitful one.
Peace,
Randy



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ChrisB

posted February 3, 2009 at 6:41 pm


For the record, I’m ok with the thought that Jesus used “Moses” in a culturally acceptable sense. I’m not ok with the notion that Jesus would mistakenly think that he was the author.



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Luke

posted February 3, 2009 at 9:40 pm


Chris,
Can you explain why? Would Jesus have known what DNA is, or what a computer is? Would he have known that the earth was round and revolved around the sun? It’s not about denying his deity, it’s about acknowledging his humanity.



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RJS

posted February 3, 2009 at 9:45 pm


Bprjam #3,
Sorry I overlooked this before – Kings and Chronicles are another great example where we have two different looks at the same thing.
Good thoughts – and things like two creation accounts (Gen. 1 and Gen. 2); Kings and Chronicles; four gospels; and so forth are not problems to be solved – but clues on the reading of scripture.



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Your Name

posted February 3, 2009 at 10:03 pm


Luke:
You said, “The guys who would claim it is all Mosaic would be at institutions like Southern and Bob Jones”. I am at student at Southern and you are wrong, not all OT profs here believe Moses wrote the entire Pentateuch. And Im sure we are not in the same boat as Bob Jones. But (unfortunetley!) they would want to give Moses most of the credit and shake thier heads at this thread.
Rob:
Is you pen name Kenton Sparks? (JK) Good points, but of course we must be more careful than much of critical scholorship when we attempt to get “behind the text” and try to guess whats in the mind of the biblcal authors when they wrote.



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AHH

posted February 3, 2009 at 10:48 pm


RJS #10 and others seem to be getting at some of the mystery of incarnation, two natures, etc. in asking about the knowledge of the incarnated Jesus. Certainly there is balance required and one can go too far with doctrines of kenosis, but I think much current Evangelical Christianity flirts with Docetism, allowing that Jesus had a human body but walling off human-ness from his mind.
This part of the conversation may seem like a tangent from RJS’ original post, but I see a relationship. I think many Evangelicals have a “Docetic” view of Scripture, treating the humanity of the Biblical writers as something to be minimized and eliminated to the extent possible. While it is surely imperfect, I think the analogy of “incarnation” for God’s inspiration of Scripture (made in different ways by Peter Enns and N.T. Wright) is a pretty good one, and we should beware of Docetism in both realms.



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Johan ter Beek

posted February 4, 2009 at 5:01 am


I think its OK to use the word “inspiration” for texts in Genesis 1-11 even though the text itself is composition of different sources. It is still a fantastic imagination of believing people who see the hand of God behind history and natural order.
I do not agree with the remark “composed in the late monarchy, before the exile.” I think Gen 1 is one of the latest additions to the text but i think is written in or after the exile, not before. Creation suggest also “new creation” of Israel after exile.
Do you think its possible to read Gen1 in more than one way? The first to read is as the narrative of creation of evrything (because its the first chapter in the redactional proces) and second to read is as profetic imagination, the re-creation of Israel after exile.



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Rick

posted February 4, 2009 at 7:56 am


Rob #18:
good thoughts.
Chris E #19:
John 5:46-47
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%205:46-47;&version=47;
Chris B #21:
Well said.
RJS #23:
“…are not problems to be solved – but clues on the reading of scripture.”
Yes (although “clues” makes it sound like God is hiding something), but we need to be very careful in determining what tools we use, and how to properly use them.



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Tad DeLay

posted February 4, 2009 at 8:42 am


@ChrisB (#21)
“I’m not ok with the notion that Jesus would mistakenly think that [Moses] was the author.”
I understand how this sounds like we are saying jesus was mistaken, but i don’t think we have to think of it in those terms. If the jewish community thought of moses as the writer, it would be very highly controversial, yet not really helpful, to correct their historical error that was not the point. I first felt this rub when i noticed that Jesus quotes “david”, but when you flip back to the place in psalms jesus is referencing, the plain text there attributes the psalm to one of the other psalters



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Derek Leman

posted February 4, 2009 at 9:16 am


RJS:
Good post. Thanks for summarizing the book for us. I love book reviews and summaries since I can’t read every book.
Hebrew Bible is an area of study I have spent a lot of time in (M.T.S. from Emory University in Hebrew Bible), though I spend more time now in other areas (2nd Temple Jewish writings).
My quick impression is yet another weak case for source analysis. I take a sort of agnostic view on this matter at present, but I amazed by the certainty some people have about such things. I agree with you the comparison to the gospels does not seem apt. The dating of the sources as pre-exilic or post-exilic also seems a futile exercise in imagined certitude.
Nonetheless, I’m sure Arnold has some great things to say and I look forward to your summary.
Derek Leman
derek4messiah.wordpress.com



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Rick

posted February 4, 2009 at 9:42 am


Derek #29-
“The dating of the sources as pre-exilic or post-exilic also seems a futile exercise in imagined certitude.”
If so, then it limits our ability to use and rely on cultural and/or literary comparisons as a hermeneutical tool (in this instance).



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posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: Deity or Deism noted: ...this reminds me of why I get a

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Ou

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or two with their hands ... but that's what makes this diet

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »




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