Re: [asa] A question on morals (OT and NT)

From: Pete Enns <>
Date: Wed Nov 04 2009 - 08:49:26 EST

I'll try to comment more later, but I agree with this. A former
professor of mine, Paul Hanson, used to talk about the "form/reform"
dynamic on the OT, where particular ways of thinking gain assent but
then are themselves later reformed/changed. Chronicles is one global
example of this.

It is worth asking, esp. in the evangelical world, whether we are not
expecting too much of the Bible as a rule book of propositions rather
than as a book that reflects active theological thinking.

Some of you may no longer be wondering why I left WTS..... :-)


On Nov 4, 2009, at 8:38 AM, Murray Hogg wrote:

> Hi Pete,
> I can see where the Talmud might be an interesting analogue - but
> I'd have to play with it a bit myself.
> As it is, the suggestion spawns one random thought:
> Regardless of what dates we put on the various OT books and portions
> thereof it seems to be pretty evident that the OT isn't the
> unvarnished account of Israel's history that many would like it to
> be. But this fact alone suggests that one doesn't need to even go as
> far as the Talmud to discover a dynamic engagement with the
> tradition as we already see just this very thing within the pages of
> the canonical OT itself. The idea, then, that the covenant community
> EVER had a static notion of scripture might be a tad unrealistic and
> we may well need to accept that dynamic engagement with the
> tradition has ALWAYS been part-and-parcel of the covenant
> community's practice.
> Of course, the tradition eventually ends up becoming codified -
> first in the OT and subsequently in the Talmud and NT (same sort of
> thing happens in Islam with the Koran and Hadiths) - but I wonder
> (and it's just an idle musing for now) just what this suggests for
> our theory of Scripture? All too often the focus is on the
> codification. But what happens if one focuses on the dynamic nature
> of the tradition in its formation and subsequent reception?
> Could it be that the discontinuity and the continuity are, in fact,
> one and the same thing? That is, might it not be the case that the
> one constant throughout the entire history of the tradition is that
> the tradition itself has always been dynamically appropriated?
> Perhaps our maxim should be "Plus ca change, plus c'est le meme
> chose" or something of that order?
> Blessings,
> Murray
> Pete Enns wrote:
>> I think trajectory is a good model for the relationship between the
>> testament.
>> Another model I have toyed with--very simply--is that the NT is
>> analogous to to the Talmud. Both reflect attempts to engage the
>> Bible/OT in view of changing circumstances: for Jews, the exile and
>> for Christians the death and resurrection of the messiah.
>> I think the trajectory and Talmud models together aim at addressing
>> the continuity and discontinuity seen in the NT vis-a-vis the OT.
>> To get back to the original point, I think Bernie is concerned
>> about the fact that discontinuity is something that resides in a
>> book that is supposedly written on some level by God.
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Received on Wed Nov 4 08:49:57 2009

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