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...]

McFarland USA– A Feel Good Classic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOupcStlL0cYou have to give him credit, Kevin Costner is good at sports movies (see e.g. Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, Tin Cup etc.). In terms of recreating on film a true and inspirational story, McFarland USA is his very best sports film. In this film Costner plays coach Jim White, who creates out of nothing a cross country team composed of seven young poor fieldworkers from McFarland Calif. a small mostly Hispanic town in the San Joaquin valley.They … [Read more...]

Forward Thinking about Reading Backwards– Part Two

The first proper chapter of this little gem of a book is a lecture on the hermeneutics of figural interpretation, and we shall spend this post on that chapter. Drawing on the famous words of Martin Luther about how the OT is the swaddling clothes manger in which the Christ is lain. So Hays argues that Luther is reading the NT figurally in order to proclaim the legitimacy of a figural reading of the OT (p. 2). Hays then adds that if the Christ is wrapped in OT attire, he is both contained and in … [Read more...]

Forward Thinking about ‘Reading Backwards’— Part One

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I've been reading my friend Richard Hay's NT offerings for close to 40 years now. I read his dissertation involving Galatians when he was still writing the chapters, and I would send him comments and suggestions. Following this review, which like the book will not be lengthy, but in several parts, you will get to read the dialogue or exchange we had about the book in future posts.Let's start with the disclaimers. From the outset Hays stresses that he is not suggesting "that the … [Read more...]

The Animals went in Two by Two– Yet Another Flood Account

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(A shot of Mt. Ararat I took in 2011).Our fried Pete Williams, the warden of Tyndale House at Cambridge had this recent report on the finding of yet another flood account, this one perhaps from about 1700 B.C. or so. Here's the report.... ------The animals went in two by two ...There were many interesting discoveries relating to the Bible in 2014, but perhaps Irving Finkel of the British Museum may be congratulated for making one of the most interesting. Finkel, an expert in the … [Read more...]

Kingdom Conspiracy– Part Ten

This will be our last post on Scot McKnight's fine book which came out last fall (Brazos Press). It has many merits, not least of which is it is very clearly written, gets right to the point, and has lots of memorable lines like "the Pharisees emphasized the love of Torah, contrasted with Jesus who emphasized the Torah of love". In this post I want to sum up on a few points to makes clear where I think Scot and I differ.The first of these points, which you should have gathered from … [Read more...]

Kingdom Conspiracy– Part Nine

BEN: I find p. 164 very confusing. You say "The fundamental mission of kingdom citizens is to glorify God by living the life of 'good deeds'. God is most glorified when kingdom citizens live under King Jesus as a faithful community."This would seem to making doing good deeds and kingdom mission one and the same thing especially in the context of the salt and light verses. No?SCOT: We glorify God by good deeds -- that's straight from Jesus. And part of kingdom mission is for … [Read more...]


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