I recently received IVP’s “academic alert” (Spring 2010) which has lots of interesting little tidbits and interviews. One is with Anthony Thiselton regarding his new book The Living Paul: An Introduction to the Apostle’s Life and Thought. This was a very interesting dialogue. Check it out HERE.
Here are some things that you learn.
- Thiselton had intended to write a larger tome, but was convinced that a simple lay-level intro was needed.
- He avoids peddling strange theories, but offers a balanced perspective: ‘I don’t greatly warm to packaged positions, but to a search for the truth’.
- He argues in the book that too many people generalize what Paul was saying regarding a ‘specific cultural situation’ (as in the matter of women and head coverings).
- the interviewer brings up theosis – Thiselton likes the emphasis on ‘transformation and participation’, but he rejects any connotation of ‘divinization’.
- There is an interesting brief engagement on re-capturing the trinitarian framework of atonement in Paul.
- Thiselton laments that today NT scholars tend to not be interested in theology or doctrine. He labels them, using J.I. Packer’s term, ‘technicians’. This is a concern over ‘overspecialization’. Thiselton, of course, has modeled well this diversity, especially vis-a-vis NT, hermeneutics, and philosophy.
There is much more and I am certainly eager to see this book!
When you do a PhD, you end up reading loads of monographs on a very narrow topic – for me, Paul and cultic metaphors (temple, sacrifice, priesthood, cultic worship, consecration). Then, when you land a job (God willing!), you are required to teach on broader topics. One of the courses which I will teach at Seattle Pacific University next year is Christian Scriptures – specifically from a literary and theological perspective.
I like the idea of calling it Christian Scriptures versus Bible Intro or Survey because it goes beyond merely introduction facts and figures regarding the Bible (what I call “Bible trivia”) and gets to the heart of what Scripture is and how to read it for formation and direction as a Christian.
Anyway, while I can manage the Paul end of this course (which is only a couple of weeks!) and the rest of the NT (which is about 4 weeks!), I have had to really figure out the OT world and how to glean insight from this massive field and re-package it for college first and second-year students. No easy task!
I admit that I have become enchanted with three scholars whose work seems to end up intersecting and overlapping: Walter Brueggemann, Terence Fretheim, and John Goldingay. Of course, I am also in appreciation of Brevard Childs and Walter Moberly. But I have been looking for those scholars who are able to write in a way that is accessible to we outsiders – also those who can and do write for the church. Goldingay’s OT trilogy (Israel’s Gospels, Faith, and Life) is very easy to read. Mention should also be made of T. Desmond Alexander’s wider efforts in getting good OT resources and ideas into the bottom shelves.
But – I am very new to all this OT theology stuff. Who do you love as OT theologians? I am not talking about OT historical, archaeological, and/or history of religions critics. I am sure such people are fascinating. Sadly, I have a short amount of time and it is a good OT theology that I want to pass on to my students.
1. Who are your favorite OT theologians? (I would prefer people from the 20th and 21st century!)
2. Which OT theologians have written well for beginners? What books can you think of would be palatable for underclass college students?
3. Who has done good work on:
4. How do people out there feel about the work of Paul House and Bruce Waltke?
I would greatly learn from and appreciate your thoughts!