The next member of the Alexandrian school could hardly be more different in some respects than Clement. I am referring to Origen (ca. 185-254 A.D.). Unlike Clement, Origen was indeed first and foremost a Bible scholar, an exegete. Nevertheless, his go to method was allegorizing of the Biblical text, sometimes in service of reconciling the Biblical tradition with the Greek philosophical one. One of the methods used in the Alexandrian approach to Scripture is what we would call the ‘word… Read more

Clement of Alexandria (ca. 150-214 A.D.) is treated next, and as Childs admits, he really doesn’t have much to say about Isaiah, or if he did, it is mostly lost to us with his work Hypotyposeis being no longer extant. We do have some fragments of the Ecologue Propheticae in which we find a few citations of Isaiah (Is. 40.6 in 25-26; Is. 19.20 in 16.2; Is. 44.6 and 45.5-6 in 38.1, and Is. 2.3 in 58) but it is… Read more

It is the approach of Childs which involves both critical engagement and also empathy with the sources he examines that distinguishes his work to a real extent from that of Sawyer who is too focused on abuses of the OT. The next church father Childs gives attention to, quite rightly, is Irenaeus (130-200 A.D.), particularly because we now have to hand a version of his long lost book The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching. It is something of a mercy… Read more

As Childs points out, the earliest post-NT Christian commentator on Isaiah in any significant way is Justin Martyr (ca. 100-165 A.D.). He knows no Hebrew, so he is following some form of the LXX text. He cites Isaiah some seventy-six times, thirty nine of which have citation formulae such as ‘Isaiah says’ or ‘Isaiah cries’ or ‘the Holy Spirit cries through Isaiah’ in his three major works which have survived—his Dialogue with Trypho, and his two Apologies. His use of… Read more

Brevard Childs was one of the very great OT scholars of the late twentieth century and into this century, and his last major contribution to Biblical Studies is a book entitled The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture (Eerdmans, 2004). What follows in the next series of blog posts is a detail synopsis of this important book with running commentary and critique. I would urge you to read the book for yourself and see what you think, as it… Read more

I’m working away on a book that deals with Isaiah in the OT and NT, not least because Isaiah is the most frequently cited book from the OT in the NT. In the process of doing this book, I’ve been doing a lot of reading of OT literature on Isaiah, including about the running feud that went on between Brevard Childs and the post-modernists, particularly Walter Brueggemann, particularly over the issue of Christian readings of the OT and whether indeed… Read more

The following is a re-post of something I wrote in 2009 for my Beliefnet blog. It seems even more relevant today what with all sorts of unethical behavior going on in the church, including in conservative Christian churches. A CENSUS OF THE CONSENUS: NT ETHICS—Preliminary Considerations Even drama is too static an understanding of theological ethics. Ethics cannot be simply about rehearsing and repeating the same script and story over and over again, albeit on a fresh stage with new… Read more

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“There’s nothing in the Bible that says ‘thou shalt not wrestle’ says the wife of pastor Chris as he is struggling with whether to go back to wrestling to pay his family and church’s mounting bills. And believe it or not, this movie is based on the true story of the life of Rev. Chris Whaley, a Baptist pastor, now in Florida, but the movie only covers the period when he first became a pastor in Michigan of a down… Read more

Here is a very interesting article which demonstrates the importance of archaeological work for the understanding of the historical Jesus and his ministry. See what you think—- Read more

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