Princeton Theological Review: Theological Exegesis

The latest issue of the Princeton Theological Review is now available online. The spring 2008 issue is on the topic of theological exegesis. It features eight articles, four of them on theological exegesis in general, and four others on the life and legacy of Brevard Childs. You can download the issue here as a .pdf. The table of contents includes:
  • Daniel Treier, “In the End, God: The Proper Focus of Theological Exegeis”
  • Murray Rae, “On Reading Scripture Theologically”
  • Angus Paddison, “Theological Exegesis and John Howard Yoder”
  • J. Scott Jackson, “Jesus Christ as Humble Lord: Karl Barth and N.T. Wright on the Philippians ‘Christ Hymn’”
  • Dennis T. Olson, “Seeking ‘the Inexpressible Texture of Thy Word’: A Practical Guide to Brevard Childs’ Canonical Approach to Theological Exegesis”
  • Richard Schultz, “Brevard S. Childs’ Contribution to Old Testament Interpretation: An Evangelical Appreciation and Assessment”
  • Philip Sumpter, “Brevard Childs as Critical and Faithful Exegete”
  • Daniel Driver, “Later Childs”
The quality of these articles is very high, making this issue a necessary read for anyone interested in the subject of theological interpretation of Scripture. Treier and Rae provide helpful introductions to the topic, while Paddison engages in a creative dialogue with Yoder. Paddison states, summarizing Yoder’s views:
There is, Yoder notes, a tendency for those with high views of the biblical text to have a low view of what they can learn from re-reading the text. The Bible for Yoder is important for the function it has in churches of discernment and performance, not for any presumed textual properties. Yoder’s motivations here are a combination of his well-advertised suspicion of methodology, a corresponding wariness of overly-wrought hermeneutical models, and a misgiving that talk of hermeneutics often marks little more than the evasion of following Jesus in his ways of non-violence. When one is rooted in a community that reads the canon as authoritative, it simply is not helpful, in Yoder’s view to reflect on why Scripture has authority.
In other words, Yoder refuses to separate the words of the Bible from the work of Jesus and our calling to a life of discipleship. Authority and action, inspiration and mission, go together. Paddison also responds to the criticism that Yoder eschews issues of realism and ontology in exegeting the New Testament. In the last of the four articles on theological exegesis, Jackson examines the respective interpretations of Phil. 2 by Barth and Wright and how that passage informs their christologies.

The four articles on Childs form their own separate section within the journal. They seek to honor the life and work of Childs as a pioneer in the field of theological exegesis. The current interest in this topic can be traced in part to his many writings and his massive interdisciplinary influence in the fields of theology and biblical studies. Dennis Olson, professor of Old Testament at Princeton Seminary, provides an initial introduction to Childs’ work. Schultz, a professor at Wheaton College, approaches his legacy from the perspective of contemporary evangelicalism. Both Olson and Schultz studied under Childs at Yale. Sumpter and Driver are second generation scholars who have been guided in their studies by students of Childs. I should note that Driver is my cousin (by marriage) and his article is the only one to look at the later works of Childs, which are often ignored by contemporary scholarship.

Finally, there are a number of book reviews at the end of the issue. The first one is by yours truly and examines Jaroslav Pelikan’s commentary on Acts, the inaugural book in the Brazos series on the theological exegesis of Scripture. While I respect Pelikan’s work, I have some strong criticisms of this volume. It does no one any good to praise the work simply because of a desire to honor Pelikan after his death, which I suspect is the basis for so many oleaginous reviews.

On a personal note, this was my last issue as co-general editor of the PTR. It was a great end to two years of editorial work on this fine publication. We have left the journal in very capable hands, and I look forward to the fall issue on the life and legacy of T. F. Torrance.


Paul said…
Thanks for the link to the full TIS issue of PTR. Hopefully, you still monitor this thing; it would be cool to connect!