The Interpretation Of The “Stone” Passages By Peter And Paul: A Comparative Study -- By: Douglas A. Oss

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 32:2 (Jun 1989)
Article: The Interpretation Of The “Stone” Passages By Peter And Paul: A Comparative Study
Author: Douglas A. Oss

The Interpretation Of
The “Stone” Passages By Peter And Paul:
A Comparative Study

Douglas A. Oss*

The cornerstone of evangelical hermeneutics since the Reformation has been that Scripture, and only Scripture, is the objective revelation of God, the inerrant and infallible rule of faith and practice. Perhaps no topic in recent years has called this foundational truth more into question than the use of the OT in the NT.1 On the basis of the exegetical methods and interpretations of the NT writers, some scholars have been led to reject the traditional evangelical cornerstone of inerrancy while others have continued to accept and affirm it on the basis of those same NT methods. Within the debate concerning the use of the OT in the NT, then, as it is written, “for those who believe, the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” but “for those who do not believe, it is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”

Consequently, of major importance is the continued investigation of the hermeneutical methods that are operative in the NT. It would be problematic if not paradoxical to affirm on the one hand the inerrancy of Scripture, if on the other hand one denies the validity of the very methods that played a vital role in the production of its content. This of course raises the complex question of whether modern exegetes should use the methods of the NT authors. If the exegetical principles and procedures we find in the NT were valid in the first century, are they still valid today? This and related issues will be taken up later in our discussion. For now we must focus on the more fundamental issue of determining the influence of the first-century Jewish intellectual milieu on the hermeneutics in the NT corpus. Moreover we will give consideration to specific methods that are demonstrable in the interpretations of the OT in the NT.

* Douglas Oss is assistant professor of hermeneutics and New Testament at Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.

When one undertakes to investigate the hermeneutical principles and procedures of the first-century Jewish milieu it is not long before he realizes that there is no one technique that is constitutive of any single group or genre. Nor is any single technique solely the prerogative of any particular type of literature, whether pesher, midrash, targum or whatever.2 Rather, it appears that the Jewish intellectual milieu pervaded the various schools of exegesis such that the similarities of method are much more striking than the dissimilarities. Again, no single exegetical feature is entirely distinct...

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