Myth, History, And Inspiration: A Review Article Of Inspiration And Incarnation By Peter Enns -- By: G. K. Beale

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 49:2 (Jun 2006)
Article: Myth, History, And Inspiration: A Review Article Of Inspiration And Incarnation By Peter Enns
Author: G. K. Beale


Myth, History, And Inspiration:
A Review Article Of Inspiration And Incarnation By Peter Enns

G. K. Beale*

I. Introduction

Peter Enns has written a stimulating book on the doctrine of Scripture, which likely will become controversial.1 Scholars and students alike should be grateful that Enns has boldly ventured to set before his evangelical peers a view of inspiration and hermeneutics that has not traditionally been held by evangelical scholarship.

After his introduction, in chapter 2 he discusses the parallels between ancient Near Eastern myths and accounts in the OT. He says that the OT contains what he defines as “myth” (on which see his definition later below), but, he affirms, this should not have a negative bearing on the OT’s divine inspiration. God accommodates himself to communicate his truth through such mythological biblical accounts. Chapter 3 discusses what Enns calls “diversity” in the OT. He believes that the kinds of diversity that he attempts to analyze have posed problems in the past for the doctrine of “inerrancy.” He asserts that this “diversity” must be acknowledged, even though it poses tensions with the inspiration of Scripture. This diversity is part of God’s inspired word.

In chapter 4, Enns shifts to the topic of how the OT is interpreted by NT writers. He contends that Second Temple Judaism was not concerned to interpret the OT according to an author’s intention nor to interpret it con-textually nor according to modern standards of “grammatical-historical exegesis.” This hermeneutical context of Judaism must be seen as the socially constructed framework of the NT writers’ approach to interpreting the OT, so that they also were not concerned to interpret the OT contextually. Accordingly, they interpreted the OT by a “christotelic hermeneutic,” which means generally that they had a Christ-oriented perspective in understanding the purpose of the OT, including the meaning of specific OT passages. This also

* G. K. Beale is professor of New Testament and Kenneth T. Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College, 501 College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187.

means that “the literal (first) reading [of an OT text] will not lead the reader to the christotelic (second) reading” (p. 158).

The final chapter attempts to draw out further implications from the earlier chapters for Enns’s understanding of an “incarnational” doctrine of Scripture.

At various points throughout the book, Enns appeals to this “incarnational” notion, contending that since Christ was fully divine and fully human, then ...

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