Forward Thinking on ‘Reading Backwards’– The Interview Part 4

8) One of the issues often raised about Matthew is the difference between prediction and fulfillment, the latter being a much larger category of things. So when Matthew says Is. 7.14 is fulfilled in the story of Jesus, would you take him to mean that it was predicted in Isaiah, or that Isaiah simply said more than he realized, speaking to his own immediate audience, and so Christ is a filling out of the story and a fulfilling of it that would go beyond the original intended meaning, but not … [Read more...]

Forward Thinking on ‘Reading Backwards’– The Interview Part 3

6) At one level you are arguing that if we pay attention to the broader OT contexts of the OT texts that are cited, paraphrased, alluded to or echoed, we will better understand what the Gospel writers are saying about Jesus and his ministry. That would seem to presuppose a very sophisticated audience that has ‘the requisite encyclopedia of reception’ (to use your phrase) for any or all of the canonical Gospels, or at least an audience with a few persons very knowledgeable of the OT who could exp … [Read more...]

Forward Thinking on ‘Reading Backwards’– The Interview, Part 2

3) What exactly do you mean by figural (or even metaphorical) reading of the OT? How would this differ from say an allegorical reading of the OT or a typological reading of the OT (ala Melchizedek and Christ in Hebrews)?***See pp. 1-4, 104-05 for definition and discussion of figural reading. Erich Auerbach’s classic treatment of figural reading proposes that “the two poles of a figure are separated in time, but both, being real events or persons, are within temporality.” This is very close to … [Read more...]

Man Shoveling Snow in Lexington while Break Dancing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x84GKqcpY4EIn case you are wondering what's been going on besides cabin fever for the last three weeks in snowbound Lexington, here is something to give you a clue. … [Read more...]

Forward Thinking on ‘Reading Backwards’– The Interview, Part One

STARTING POINT---I take it as a given that you have clearly shown in this book that the narrative logic of all four Gospels is that Jesus is a part of the divine identity, and thus that strictly speaking there is no ‘low-Christology’ to use an old phrase, in any of them, if we take the collective witness of each whole Gospel on its own merits. This a fair summary of one of your major thrusts in the book, right?***Basically right. But it could be misleading to say there is no “low Chris … [Read more...]

Forward Thinking on Reading Backwards’– Part Six

In the Gospel of John the suggestions that 'Moses' (and the prophets)spoke about Jesus are repeatedly in evidence (Jn. 1.45). Jesus does not denigrate or dismiss Moses, rather Moses is said to testify about Jesus. "There is a fateful circularity here: reading the writings of Moses should lead to believing in Jesus; but in order to understand Moses words, one must first come to Jesus to receive life." (p. 77). Furthermore, one has to enter this hermeneutical loop at the very point this Gospel … [Read more...]

Forward Thinking on “Reading Backwards”– Part Five

Richard rightly stresses from the outset the importance of the Jesus Bible study for the bewildered disciples in Lk. 24, where, without explication it is said that the Law,Prophets, and Psalms all testify to Jesus. He intends to contest the notion that the Gospel of Luke represents a low Christology depicting Jesus as merely a Spirit inspired prophet, a teacher of wisdom, a righteous martyr. In other words, Luke is credited with depicting Jesus in the same manner the befuddled Emmaus Road … [Read more...]

Forward Thinking on Reading Backwards– Part Four

In his chapter about Matthew's use of the OT, Richard begins by making the valid point that Matthew shows far less reticence than Mark in making narrative claims about Jesus and linking them to specific OT texts, often citing those texts, and in the birth narrative especially using fulfillment formulae. He begins by noticing the ways in which Matthew 24 modifies Mk. 13, the apocalyptic discourse, for instance by specifying that the 'abomination' will take place in the Holy Place, the Temple. It … [Read more...]

Forward Thinking about Reading Backwards– Part Three

One of the interesting questions raised by Richard's approach to the reading of the OT is whether or not it is reasonable to assume that the various Gospel audiences had the requisite 'encyclopedia of reception' that he assumes they do, in order to catch the allusions and echoes of OT Scripture in various of the Gospel narratives. This question is especially pressing with a Gospel like Mark's which has few overt citations of the OT unlike Matthew and does not use the fulfillment formula of … [Read more...]


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