New Testament Interpretation Of The Old Testament: The Theological Rationale Of Midrashic Exegesis -- By: Martin Pickup

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 51:2 (Jun 2008)
Article: New Testament Interpretation Of The Old Testament: The Theological Rationale Of Midrashic Exegesis
Author: Martin Pickup


New Testament Interpretation Of The Old Testament: The Theological Rationale Of Midrashic Exegesis

Martin Pickup*

* Martin Pickup is a former professor of Biblical Studies at Florida College, Temple Terrace, FL. He currently resides at 4109 Silvermoon Dr., Plant City, FL 33566.

I. Introduction

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, evangelical scholars discussed extensively the NT’s use of the OT, paying special attention to the fact that the NT sometimes interprets OT passages in ways that depart significantly from the apparent meaning of those passages in their original context.1 Many OT

verses that are cited as eschatological prophecies of Jesus Christ, when read in their original context do not appear to have been speaking of the eschaton or the Messiah at all. Such cases provided grist for advocates of a liberal view of biblical authority.2 The challenge for evangelical scholars, then, was determining whether NT writers presented something other than a grammatical-historical interpretation of the OT and, if so, how such interpretations could square with conservative views of biblical inspiration and inerrancy.

Various proposals were suggested and debated. Perhaps the fault lay in our own reading of Scripture, so we should accept the NT writers’ interpretations of the OT even when we do not understand how they derived their interpretations.3 Maybe the OT passages in question should be seen as generic promises that included the NT’s messianic application,4 or as texts that related to the Messiah on the basis of corporate solidarity,5 or typology.6 Perhaps NT writers gave the sensus plenior (“fuller sense”) of an OT verse which they themselves were now revealing as inspired Christian interpreters,7 or which a canonical-process reading of the OT had indicated.8

Each of these proposals made a partial contribution to the resolution of the problem by explaining the NT’s use of the OT in certain instances, but none of them alone provided an overall solution. Nor did there appear to be a way to tie all of these proposals together under one all-encompassing rubric that might explain how the NT could so freely use ...

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