Re: [asa] Enns is officially leaving WTS: joint statement released

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Thu Jul 24 2008 - 21:45:49 EDT

1st, the center of scripture - "what it's all about" - is Christ. (Of course there are naive ways as well as more adequate ones of understanding this.) In particular, the OT is to be read in terms of the NT & the way NT writers understand OT passages has to be taken seriously.

2d, the canonical setting of a text - within particular books, testaments & the whole Bible - has to be considered. This involves more than the familiar (& correct) principle that context must be taken into account. E.g., it's the common understanding of critical scholars that there are 2 different creation accounts in Genesis, written by different authors perhaps 500 years apart. But they now have a certain relationship within the Book of Genesis so that they are canonically related & not simply separate texts. Furthermore, even though it seems very likely that Moses didn't write them, at least in their present form, the fact that they are part of what the tradition has understood to be the Mosaic corpus has canonical significance.

3d, books within the canon are more authoritative, & have a different kind of authority, than contemporary writings of similar types. This of course is obvious for traditional Christians - the Bible is unique. It can't be taken for granted today, for some biblical scholars deny that the fact that some writings are within the historic canon has more than historical significance. & a perhaps subtle distinction has to be stated. One of the things that makes conservatives suspicious of Enns is the way he draws parallels between extra-biblical texts and parts of scripture, but in doing so he is not suggsting that those other texts have the authority of, e.g., Genesis. That's to be contrasted with something like the approach of the Jesus Seminar, which not only compares the canonical gospels with the Gospel of Thomas but in fact considers the latter document to be as authoritative (or non-authoritative) as Mark or John - or in some cases more so.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Jack Haas
  To: George Murphy ; ASA list
  Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 5:12 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Enns is officially leaving WTS: joint statement released

  Well said George!
  As a conversation starter, would you suggest one or two "theological" interpretative principles that might be useful for ASA concerns?
  Thank you O:-)

  Jack Haas

  George Murphy wrote:
    Not just within evangelicalism (in the American sense). The same fault line - though not terribly sharp - could be perceived in the Missouri Synod split in the 70s.

    & though Enns is (from my standpoint at least) the "good guy" in this case, my sympathies tend to lie with systematics folks in many debates. Biblical studies people are in danger of missing the forest for the trees - i.e., failing to have an overall theological interpretive principle.

      ----- Original Message -----

      From: David Opderbeck
      To: Ted Davis
      Cc: ;
      Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 1:35 PM
      Subject: Re: [asa] Enns is officially leaving WTS: joint statement released

      Anyone know where he is landing? I'm glad at least that the WTS administration acknowledged that Enns' "teaching and writing fall within the purview of Evangelical thought." For those truly interested in the debate provoked by I&I, the WTS official documents discuss the theological fault lines between the Systematic (opposing Enns) and Biblical Studies (supporting Enns) faculty in detail: IMHO, the differing perspectives in these documents reflect a fault line within evangelicalism as a whole, one that is not easily closed.

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Received on Thu Jul 24 21:46:39 2008

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