'Mosaic Covenant' as a Possible Referent for Νομοσ in Paul
Matthew B. Leighton (IBSTE, Barcelona)
Any serious enquiry into Paul's view of the law must include lexical considerations regarding the meaning of νόμος ('law') itself. A general consensus has emerged that νόμος predominantly refers to Mosaic legislation. A few scholars, however, have suggested that νόμος should sometimes be taken as a synecdoche for the Mosaic covenant administration. This article attempts to substantiate the plausibility of that referent by appealing to precursors for it in the OT and intertestamental literature, examples of a few of Paul's uses of νόμος, and linguistic considerations related to word choice.
Moral Transformation Through Mimesis in the Johannine Tradition
Cor Bennema (Union School of Theology)
Johannine ethics is a problematic area for scholarship but recently there has been a breakthrough. In this new era of exploring Johannine ethics, the present study examines the concept of moral transformation through mimesis. The argument is that when people live in God's world, their character and conduct are shaped in accordance with the moral beliefs, values, and norms of the divine reality, and that mimesis proves to be instrumental in this process of moral transformation. The study also explores how Johannine Christians in the late first century could imitate an 'absent' Jesus and what they were seeking to imitate.
'King of Kings' in Other Words: Colossians 1:15a as a Designation of Authority Rather Than Revelation
Christopher S. Northcott (Lincoln Road Bible Chapel, Auckland)
Colossians 1:15a is typically understood to designate Jesus as the way in which the otherwise unknowable God can be known by human beings. Support for this conclusion is drawn from Hellenistic Judaism, Greek philosophy, and theology merely inferred from the 'image of God' concept in Genesis 1:26-28. However, a more satisfactory reading of this verse sees in it a presentation of Jesus as Yahweh's representative ruler of the earth. There are several supports for this reading: (1) the explicit development of the 'image of God' concept in Genesis; (2) parallel uses of the 'image of God' concept in ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman sources; (3) the modification made to the preposition in Colossians 1:15a; (4) an alternative reading of the word 'invisible'; and (5) the subsequent phrase in Colossians 1:15b, 'firstborn of all creation'. By describing Jesus in such a way, he is presented as the legitimate ruler of the world, potentially in deliberate contrast to the world rulers of that day: the emperors of Rome, who were thus viewed by the merit of their special relationship with their gods.
Hebrews 12:18-24: Apocalyptic Typology or Platonic Dualism?
Gareth Lee Cockerill (Sierra Leone, West Africa)
Those who have approached Hebrews either from the point of view of apocalyptic eschatology or from the perspective of neoplatonism have often misinterpreted the two 'mountains' in Hebrews 12:18-24. The first understand these 'mountains' as representing the Old and New Covenants; the second, the earthly and heavenly worlds. This paper argues that the two 'mountains' represent two present possibilities. The first is the present state and future destiny of the disobedient who are excluded from fellowship with God; the second, the present state and future destiny of the faithful who enter into that fellowship.
This interpretation is substantiated by a careful examination of the text and confirmed by the way this interpretation fits with Hebrews' rhetorical strategy and use of the Old Testament. Crucial to the argument is the total lack of continuity between the two mountains that would be essential to substantiate either of the traditional interpretations.
'Tantum in Domino': Tertullian's Interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7 in His Ad Uxorem
Coleman Ford (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville)
Tertullian of Carthage (c. AD 155–240) is most remembered for his adherence to the Montanist sect and subsequent moral rigidity. While various opinions exist as to the Montanist influence upon his writings, signs of such adherence are evident from an early period. This is true of his treatise Ad uxorem, written in the early third century. His views of marriage, specifically in light of the Pauline injunctive from 1 Corinthains 7:39, provide readers with an early, and relatively unexplored, perspective on Christian marriage. This essay examines this early treatise from Tertullian, and his interpretation of Paul, in order to better understand the complexities of Tertullian's early view of marriage. Addressing the work of Elizabeth Clark on this topic, this essay presents the tantum in Domino ('only in the Lord') phrase as pivotal for understanding Tertullian's view of marriage (and subsequent remarriage) as a created good.
Justification by Faith 1517–2017: What Has Changed?
Paul R. Williamson (Moore Theological College, Sydney)
One of the three foundational covenants Reformed/Covenant theology is built upon is the Pactum Salutis or covenant of redemption. This refers to an intratrinitarian covenantal agreement, purportedly made before the creation of the world, to secure the salvation of God's elect. The theological rationale and exegetical support for such a pre-temporal covenant is set out and examined, and it is argued that there are serious exegetical problems with the alleged biblical foundations for such a theological construct.
Justification by Faith 1517–2017: What Has Changed?
Anthony N. S. Lane (London School of Theology)
Justification was a key issue at the Reformation, and Protestants and Catholics have polarised over it. There was a brief moment of agreement at the Regensburg Colloquy in 1541, but this was swept away by the Council of Trent, whose Decree on Justification (1547) took care to demarcate itself from Protestantism. Hans Küng initiated a new approach, seeking points of agreement rather than difference. That approach eventually gave birth to the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (1999). This does not pretend that no differences remain but claims that they are acceptable. It is fruitful to consider the differing concerns of each side.
The focus of this paper is what may or may not have changed in Protestant–Catholic relations on justification, not the changing picture of modern biblical studies. In particular, I will not be looking at the New Perspectives (plural) on Paul nor at John Barclay's recent magnum (if not maximum) opus.
The Process of Producing the Standard Inscription of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud/Kalḫu
J. Caleb Howard (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore)
In spite of the fact that the Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions have been known and read for a century and a half, the mechanics of their production are still poorly understood. Studies thus far have relied mainly on references to production in Neo-Assyrian letters and inferences from the final forms of Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions. Textual variation between manuscripts of the same composition and the formats and execution of the inscriptions are largely untapped sources of information for the mechanics of production.
The Gospel of Matthew in a Sixth-Century Manuscript Family Scribal Habits in the Purple Codices 022, 023 and 042
Elijah Hixson (University of Edinburgh)
The past fifty years have seen a number of studies devoted to scribal habits. This line of research begins with E. C. Colwell, who proposed a method to determine scribal habits in the 1960s in order to attempt to quantify the types of claims Westcott and Hort made about what scribes would have been more likely or less likely to do. James R. Royse refined the method in his 1981 dissertation on P45, P46, P47, P66, P72, and P75, finally published in 2008. A number of other studies in scribal habits have appeared along the way, mainly focused on manuscripts dated to the third, fourth, and fifth centuries.
'A Table in the Wilderness?': The Rhetorical Function of Food Language in Psalm 78
Michelle A. Stinson (Trinity College, Bristol)
Across time and cultures, the daily need to eat and drink has ordered and consumed human life. It is not surprising that this preoccupation with food is also reflected in the biblical text. While scholars have shown a far-reaching and protracted interest in food and meals in the New Testament, little attention has been directed to this topic in the Hebrew Bible (HB). Food texts in the Psalter remain largely untouched.
Where Is God in the Megilloth?: A Dialogue on the Ambiguity of Divine Presence and Absence
Brittany N. Melton (University of Cambridge)
The Introduction begins with observation of apparent divine absence in each of the Megilloth (Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Esther) based on the facts that God never appears or speaks in any of these books and that there is a lack of divine mention in two. This theme spurs the question: Where is God in the Megilloth? However, answering this question is complicated by the complexity of conceptualising divine presence and absence in the Hebrew Bible.
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