Where Should Twenty-First-Century Evangelical Biblical Scholarship Be Heading? -- By: Craig L. Blomberg

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 11:2 (NA 2001)
Article: Where Should Twenty-First-Century Evangelical Biblical Scholarship Be Heading?
Author: Craig L. Blomberg


Where Should Twenty-First-Century Evangelical Biblical Scholarship Be Heading?

Craig L. Blomberg

Denver Seminary

Recent developments and resulting needs are assessed in a variety of areas: historical Jesus research and issues of OT historicity, Pauline theology and theologies of individual OT books, critical methods for the study of both Testaments and especially historical study, contextualized biblical studies, biblical ethics, the application of the OT in the NT age and the quotation of the Old in the New, Greek and Hebrew grammar, OT textual criticism, and the interaction between church and the academy.

Key Words: Jesus, Paul, biblical theology, biblical criticism, contextualization, ethics, OT in the NT, grammar, textual criticism

I feel a bit like the Ph.D. student ready to submit his or her dissertation, only to discover a definitive work on the identical topic that has just been published. I heartily recommend Markus Bockmuehl’s “‘To Be or Not to Be’: The Possible Futures of New Testament Scholarship” as required reading for OT and NT scholars alike.1 With delightfully crafted prose and allusions to Shakespeare, Bockmuehl traces the fragmentation of our discipline, the inability of scholars even to agree on what questions should be addressed, and the need for historical, theological, literary, and hermeneutical approaches to complement one another. As a possible way forward he proposes that more attention be devoted to the Wirkungsgeschichte of biblical texts, freeing us from the tyranny of always interacting in greatest detail with the most recent scholarship, and to the ideal or authorial reader of each part of Scripture, an approach that blends the most valid

Author’s note: A previous version of this paper was presented at the IBR’s annual national meeting in Boston in November 1999. Since then, I have added footnotes and updated documentation.

concerns of author-, text-, and reader-centered hermeneutics. Because Bockmuehl has dealt so well with general trends and overarching methodological issues, I will focus somewhat more narrowly on a few specific, key concerns for evangelical biblical studies. I quickly confess my inability to comment nearly as intelligibly on OT matters, but I am grateful for help from my colleagues Danny Carroll and Rick Hess for several of the points mentioned below.2

I was chosen for this task in part because of my presentation at the 1994 Tyndale Fellowship meetings entitled “Critical Issues in New Testament Studies for Evangelicals Today,” ...

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