Method And Old Testament Theology -- By: Tim Meadowcroft

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 57:1 (NA 2006)
Article: Method And Old Testament Theology
Author: Tim Meadowcroft


Method And Old Testament Theology

Barr, Brueggemann And Goldingay Considered

Tim Meadowcroft

Summary

In the past several years two of the English speaking world’s most influential Old Testament scholars, Walter Brueggemann and John Goldingay, have produced lengthy volumes of Old Testament theology. In the same period James Barr has produced a comprehensive methodological reflection on Old Testament theology. Barr raises a number of key issues which continue to inform the discipline. The theologies of Brueggemann and Goldingay each in different ways illustrate these methodological issues, and may be critiqued in their light. What emerges when this is done is an appreciation of two Old Testament theologians whose rigorous readings of the final form of the text produce significant insights for both the church and the academy. In the opinion of this reviewer the particular methodological strengths of Goldingay are those that are most likely to prove helpful both for the ongoing development of Old Testament theology and for the church’s reading of the Old Testament.

1. Introduction

In the past several years two of the English speaking world’s most influential Old Testament scholars have produced lengthy volumes of Old Testament theology. Walter Brueggemann’s 700 page Theology of the Old Testament, Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy appeared in 1997 and John Goldingay’s Old Testament Theology, Israel’s Gospel came out in 2003.1 In the case of Goldingay, his 900 pages are merely the

first instalment in a three-part project. Each man’s long career has been marked by an acute methodological reflection on the task of the interpreter, a creative and respectful reading of the text itself, and a commitment from within the academy to the contemporary church as hearer of both the text and its interpretation. These volumes each integrate those characteristics as they bring a lifetime’s reflection on the God revealed in the pages of the Old Testament.2 In the same period James Barr has produced his comprehensive reflection entitled The Concept of Biblical Theology, An Old Testament Perspective.3 His 600 page volume is not an Old Testament theology per se, but is an important methodological overview of that enterprise.

These are simply three of a number of voluminous works added to the English corpus of Old Testament theologies over the past fifteen years or so, but taken together they offer a useful picture of the curren...

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