Israelite Covenants Understood in the Light of Ancient Near East Covenants -- By: René A. López

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 08:24 (Aug 2004)
Article: Israelite Covenants Understood in the Light of Ancient Near East Covenants
Author: René A. López


Israelite Covenants Understood
in the Light of Ancient Near East Covenants

René A. López

Doctoral Candidate
Dallas Theological Seminary

Introduction

Everyone involved in Old and New Testament1 studies is well aware that “the Bible in Christian tradition rests on the religious conception that the relationship between God and man is established by a covenant.”2 Walther Eichrodt’s Old Testament volume points this out by emphasizing how the theme of covenant is the center in biblical studies.3 He has not gone without criticism.4 Nevertheless, even if his work has often been criticized as perhaps being too narrow in scope by stressing the center of covenant in Old Testament studies, “it is now generally admitted that his

emphasis is not at all out of step with the Ancient Near Eastern world.”5 William F. Albright admits his failure in his second edition of From the Stone Age to Christianity, “To recognize that the concept of ‘covenant’ dominates the entire religious life of Israel to such an extent that W. Eichrodt’s apparently extreme position is fully justified.”6 Covenant is indeed the thread that binds the relationship between God and man, especially Israel.7

However, skepticism has been on the rise ever since the enlightenment period stemming from the Renaissance. These periods produced “humanistic studies that questioned the authority of the church and its traditions.”8 This type of skepticism gave birth to

modern higher criticism—which has questioned since its start the historical origin of the Israelite covenants. Julius Wellhausen, a well-known “high priest of the JEDP movement,”9 postulated and maintained that the Old Testament religious concepts and covenants were formulated around the eighth and seventh century.10 Along with Wellhausen, numerous other scholars have argued for the Documentary Hypothesis11 to the detrimental conclusion of

rejecting Mo...

You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()