On The Value Of Intertestamental Jewish Literature For New Testament Theology -- By: J. Julius Scott, Jr.

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 23:4 (Dec 1980)
Article: On The Value Of Intertestamental Jewish Literature For New Testament Theology
Author: J. Julius Scott, Jr.

On The Value Of Intertestamental Jewish
Literature For New Testament Theology

J. Julius Scott, Jr.*

Many evangelicals working in Biblical studies live with a discomfiting uneasiness that we usually hold only at the fringes of consciousness. As serious, responsible professionals we want to stay close to the cutting edges of our discipline and to contribute to its ongoing development. But, committed as we are to the once-for-all character of Biblical revelation, we are haunted by questions of the appropriateness of seeking to discover the new in what we believe to be timeless, changeless, self-sufficient and eternally relevant. On the other hand we are convinced that even conservative scholarship cannot stand still. Although our “givens”—God, his truth and expectations as revealed in Scripture, and the basic nature and needs of man—do not change, there is constant motion in both the human and scholarly dramas of which we are a part.

Emphases, approaches and points of primary concern change from generation to generation. New discoveries, re-evaluations of data, reassessment of assumptions and of long-accepted methods make possible the correction or readjustment of previously assumed interpretations or attitudes and the discovery of new and clarifying insights into the spiritual truths committed to us.

Philosophical and methodological assumptions and cultural, societal pressures recently have caused major disruptions in the field of Biblical theology as a whole.1 The after-shocks still rattle windows and collapse walls even within the evangelical world. No longer is Biblical theology automatically assumed to be a collecting agency for the data of systematics. A glance at the table of contents of some newer works reveals radical departures from approaches taken in the past by traditional Biblical theologians. There are now differences in the kinds of questions being asked, in the ways in which material is presented, and in the emphases being made. Contemporary circumstances and conditions have forced attention upon issues once not viewed as problem areas or, if so recognized, seldom raised because it was assumed that there was generally a settled conservative consensus on them. Thus a generation ago problems involving life-style and conduct codes, cultural customs and expectations, humanitarian activities and social justice, liberation and revolution within a Christian context, male-female roles, proper forms of expression for corporate Christian life and worship, missionary and evangelistic strategies, or the relation between Christian theology and the social sciences, if considered at all, received what to modem students appear as superficial attention and simplistic solutions.

In t...

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