Difference between revisions of "Reflections on Biblical Hermeneutics"
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§ This essay was published in Biblical Interpretation: Anabaptist-Mennonite Perspectives, ed. Willard M. Swartley (Elkhart, IN: Institute of Mennonite Studies, 1984), pp. -. Copyright © 1984 Institute of Mennonite Studies. All rights reserved. Published online by permission of Institute of Mennonite Studies.
<nowiki># These numerical notations indicate the page breaks in the published book. When citing this essay, please cite the appropriate page number(s) in the published book.</nowiki>
Revision as of 17:58, 15 October 2016
Reflections on Biblical Hermeneutics
Millard C. Lind§
→151# Guy F. Hershberger demonstrated his interest in hermeneutics as he sought to establish biblical bases for guiding the life and work of the church in the world. He gave careful attention to matters of biblical interpretation, particularly the question of the relation of the Old and New Testaments, in his two major books on Anabaptist-Mennonite ethics. Through his use of sociology, ethics, and history to elaborate the theological message of the Bible, he has contributed significantly to the development of my own thought.
My intention in this essay is to set forth a few reflections on a valid biblical hermeneutic, from a perspective informed by the Anabaptist tradition. These are the reflections of one who seeks to stand within that tradition, and who is in conversation with modern biblical studies within the ecumenical church and synagogue.
By “hermeneutics” I mean the twofold effort to understanding the original language of the Bible within its ancient settings, and then to translate those understandings into modern language in its social context. This view of hermeneutics thus includes both biblical exegesis and biblical homiletics, which have often been considered as separate aspects. Such an approach demands a knowledge of the ancient languages and worlds, a knowledge of contemporary languages and worlds, and a method for moving from one to the other.
By “Anabaptist” I mean that movement which began in Europe in the sixteenth century as the result of the rise of humanistic biblical studies within a certain social-economic-political milieu. These studies led to the formation of a body of believers who saw themselves set apart from the world in which they lived, by virtue of their faith. They dared to act in freedom from that world, in response to the sovereignty of the resurrected Christ whose living presence they confessed.
A revolution has occurred in biblical studies since the sixteenth →152 century. Textual criticism, literary criticism, form criticism, archaeology, the recovery of whole libraries of ancient literatures—these have all contributed to a knowledge of the Bible which is greater now than at any time since the first century. Followers of the Anabaptist tradition, with its genuine interest in biblical authority, should welcome these advances. Within the context of ecumenical debate (a characteristic of sixteenth-century Anabaptism), we need to approach the Bible anew in every generation. Our new knowledge confirms some of the central insights of the sixteenth century, though it may set those insights within new perspectives, and may serve to correct others.
Despite, or perhaps because of, the hermeneutical revolution of the past century, there are some Anabaptist understandings that I find helpful in the interpretation of the Bible. They are:
1. The congregation as a hermeneutical community.
2. An understanding of the authority of both Old and New Testaments in a relationship that is not “flat” but historical, that is, a pattern of promise and fulfillment. (I am not sure that the early Anabaptists were as negative to the Old Testament as have been some Mennonites of the past generation.)
3. The emphasis on discipleship, with the consequent demand for discerning between true and false hermeneutics.
4. The challenge to prevailing concepts of political power, grounded in an analogy to the experience of the biblical people of God in their Near Eastern and Mediterranean context.
For me, these points have an abiding relevance for the hermeneutical task of the faithful church.
Hermeneutics as Exegesis and Homiletics
Hermeneutics as we have defined it is divided into two parts, exegesis and homiletics. Exegesis is the attempt to discover what the original language meant. This original meaning is not easy to fix; it may refer to the oral tradition behind the text, or to the meaning of the text as a unit of written tradition, or to the meaning of the unit within a larger edited whole. In any case, we must realize that when we read the Bible we are crossing cultural barriers of both time and space. Bible translations which obliterate these barriers in order to make the Bible read like a modern book may have their uses, but they also have their debit side. They may remove the reader even further from the culture and milieu of which the Bible was a part. The very nature of the biblical faith, centered about certain prophetic-historical events, excludes →153 methods such as allegorizing that deny the Bible’s historical character. All readers of the text should make their journey back into the strange world of the Bible, to the extent that their ability and calling permit them.
Biblical hermeneutics also demands a knowledge of today’s languages. Along with moving back into history, the reader must move forward into the modern age. One must be able to say, in terms that modern man can begin to understand, what the mystery of the gospel means today. This problem is compounded when we remember that ours is a missionary task, and that we must communicate the gospel not only to ourselves, but to those who have no commitment to it, those to whom the Bible is utterly foreign. Here we can learn much from a prophet like Hosea, who seized the central myth of Baalism, broke it off from its mythological moorings, and used that language to proclaim the Yahwistic faith, or from Paul, who translated the Hebraically oriented gospel of Jesus into the milieu of the Greek world.
The Home of Biblical Hermeneutics
Viewing the congregation as a hermeneutical community is an important contribution of Anabaptism to biblical hermeneutics. This perspective enables the specialist to see himself as part of a team concerned with the larger hermeneutical question. It may deliver him from trivial and unprofitable questions in research, although there may be a difference of opinion as to what the important questions are. It should also help one to realize that we cannot stop everything to deal with the problem of hermeneutics but that we must deal with it “on the run,” The results must constantly be tested in the midst of the community in its relation to the world. For the community itself to enter into the exegetical and homiletical process, the specialist must exercise his skill as a genuine leader rather than as a dogmatician.
The concept of the hermeneutical community includes also an epistemological dimension. The hermeneutical question is shifted from “What does the text mean to me?” to the more basic question, “What does the text mean to us?” Slight as this shift may seem, it emphasizes that the Bible is a public book. It is to be used and interpreted within its own public life situation, Therefore its historical and sociopolitical dimensions, as well as its psychological implications, are a part of its relevant theological message. Otherwise, if the Bible is seen only as a book for private devotions, an adequate hermeneutics becomes impossible.
I do not want to minimize the difficulties of the movement back→154ward to the Bible and forward to the twentieth century, But by accepting the congregation as the context for the Bible’s life situation, the process is quite a different one from that in which it is assumed that there is no twentieth-century life situation in which the Bible is truly at home, If the latter is true, the hermeneutical process is indeed questionable and largely meaningless, It is only within the life situation of the hermeneutical community that the fundamental analogies are experienced which make the Bible historically credible,
A Biblical Unity
There is a tendency on the part of some modern Mennonites to disregard the Old Testament. The Old Testament is essential, however, to an understanding of the New. This is true not only because the Old Testament community provides the cultural womb for the New Testament, but even more because of the nature of the biblical faith itself. We cannot understand a reality outside our own previous experience, except by a process of analogy in which similarities and differences stand out. The biblical faith, however, witnesses to certain once-for-all prophetic-historic events that never happened elsewhere and which, therefore, have no analogies outside the biblical stream of history. The history of biblical scholarship is replete with perversions of the biblical faith caused by interpreting the unique, unrepeatable event in the light of the repeatable events (mythologies or philosophies) of surrounding cultures, The “sacral kingship school” of Old Testament science has attempted to reinterpret Israel’s origins in terms of the state structures which surrounded Israel (Hooke, 1958). The “mystery religions school” of New Testament science has tried to reinterpret the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection in terms of death and resurrection as celebrated by the mystery religions of the Graeco-Roman Empire (Angus, 1925). Anselm in his theory of the atonement used pagan analogies that have distorted the biblical view of atonement in orthodoxy and Fundamentalism to this day. Bultmann, captivated by Heidegger’s existentialism, follows a similar method (Neill, 1964: 228 ff.), But one cannot capture the biblical reality in the mythologies or philosophies of this world without paganizing the biblical faith. If this is true, and if we can understand something new to us only by analogy, where are the analogies by which we may understand the biblical faith?
Our answer is that the biblical stream of history provides its own analogies; this is the importance of the biblical understanding of promise and fulfillment and of typology. When the New Testament →155 church looked for analogies by which to understand the Christ event, they went to the Old Testament: “This is that which was spoken....” No doubt Jesus’ own self-understanding was largely shaped by Old Testament analogy. The Old Testament was indispensable for the early Christians not only because it was the matrix for the New Testament community’s culture, but because through the Scripture they experienced that newness of the Word of God, which provided analogies for the understanding of the unique event that had happened among them. It is only by use of these analogies within the stream of biblical history that we can escape from a paganization of the Jesus event.
The Old Testament is necessary, however, not only to provide analogies for the faith event, but also because the great themes of the faith, such as the understanding of God, the understanding of the world (creation), sin and salvation, mankind and peoplehood, are presented as continuities in the two Testaments (Brunner, 1963). The New Testament event may alter the character of some of these emphases, but the continuities are dominant, and without the Old Testament we cannot fully understand these themes.
It is also true that the Old Testament is to be understood in the light of the New. But this presupposition is not a dogma to be enforced by an allegorical method. If we merely read the thought of the New Testament back upon the Old, we deny the value of the Old Testament, When, however, we view the Old Testament narrative within the context of the Near East, with its historic struggle between assimilation to and rejection of that culture, it becomes evident that the New Testament as fulfillment is no longer an arbitrary dogma. As a result of biblical research, one can now say that while the Old Testament developed in the ancient Near Eastern environment and the New Testament within the Graeco-Roman environment, neither was really at home in its environment. Both were closer to each other than they were to their environments. Both are to be interpreted in the light of each other, rather than in the light of their environments, though these environments are important to their understanding.
The Bible in the Context of the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean World
Since the time of the church fathers it has become traditional to contrast Jerusalem with Athens. Such a contrast of the Bible with its environment is much more ancient than the Hebrew-Greek clash, →156 however, for in fact it goes back to pre-kingship Israel. This ancient contrast is not so well known, however, because until recently, ancient Near Eastern history was unknown. The Old Testament jutted into the modern world like a rocky promontory from the past; readers of the Bible knew next to nothing of the environment with which it interacted. Thanks to archaeology and the discovery of ancient libraries, this isolation no longer exists. Today the volume of the ancient Akkadian literature is at least as great as that of the Greek and Latin literature which has come down to us. This means that we are able not only to compare the Bible with Athens, but to compare the entire story from Abraham through Jesus and Paul with the Near East and Graeco-Roman world. With this larger perspective, we can observe not only the Bible’s rejection of outside cultural items, but also its assimilation of many of them.
In contrasting the Bible with its environment, scholars have usually emphasized formal differences. For example, William Klassen has called attention to Auerbach’s judgment of the literature of Greek antiquity: “We are forced to conclude that there could be no serious literary treatment of everyday occupations and social classes . . . of everyday customs and institutions ... in short, of the people and its life. Linked with this is the fact that the realists of antiquity do not make clear the social forces underlying the facts and conditions which they present” (Auerbach, 1957:27), Over against this the literature of the Bible “portrays something which neither the poets nor the historians of antiquity ever set out to portray: the birth of a spiritual movement in the depths of the common people, from within the everyday occurrences of contemporary life, which thus assumes an importance it could never have assumed in antique literature (Auerbach 1957: 37). This difference of form is obviously connected with the content, however, and it is questionable whether emphasis on merely formal categories can adequately portray the real contrasts.
Scholars have also emphasized the formal category of history in attempting to distinguish the Bible from the Near East. Mowinckel makes a typical statement: “While the other peoples experienced the deity in the eternal cyclic process of nature, the Israelites experienced God in history.” Certainly there is some truth in this statement, but it is misleading as a generalization. Clearly the gods of the Near Eastern states participated in their people’s history also, since they were always considered decisive in the fighting of wars. For example, Assyrian art provides us with an example of the divinity fighting alongside the king. In a relief of Ashurnasirpal there is a complete conformity between the →157 warlike movements of the god and the king. Before the battle, king and god advance with bow drawn toward the enemy. After the battle, both have their bows slung in celebration of victory (Mendenhall, 1973: Figs. 10–13). Thus, we cannot say that Yahweh acts in history and that gods do not act in history. The point is rather to observe how Yahweh acts in history as compared to the gods.
The Bible’s Self-Consciousness
We are on safer ground for comparative work when we let Israel speak for herself. What was Israel’s own self-consciousness of her difference from the nations?
The ancient poetry of the Pentateuch reveals that Israel was strongly aware of such a difference: “Lo, a people dwelling alone, and not reckoning itself among the nations!” (Numbers 23:9, RSV). This self-consciousness is delineated again and again, in the oldest as well as the more recent sources. For example one of the oldest sources of the Pentateuch contrasts Yahweh’s call of Abraham with the self-willed character of the primitive democracy of a Babylonian city state (Genesis 11 and 12, tenth century BC). The Book of Hosea, a polemic of Yahwism against Baalism, concludes with an attack on kingship as rebellion against Yahweh, although it is fitting to Baal.
This polemic against kings is found throughout the Bible: Yahweh against Pharaoh in the escape from Egypt (Exodus 1–15); Yahweh against Sennacherib (Isaiah 37:23-29, eighth century BC); Yahweh against the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:4-21, seventh or sixth century, BC); Yahweh against the prince and king of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:1-19, sixth century BC). Outside of Israel, kingship was considered as “let down from heaven,” a blessing of the gods (Pritchard, 1969: 265). Within Israel, kingship was regarded as human rebellion, a rejection of the rule of Yahweh (whose will was communicated not through the king, but through His prophets) to become “like all the nations” (I Samuel 8; 12;cf. Judges 8:22,23;9:7-15; Deuteronomy 17:14-20).
William McKane has shown how the problem of political power was at the heart of the prophetic conflict with the political wisdom of the ancient Near East, The prophet’s
main concern is not that power should be stripped of the fearful crudity and grossness of which it partakes in the awful insecurity of our world—the world of the twentieth century. He does not principally work for the refinement or ratification of power, for this implies gradualism and is a political rather than a prophetic →158 solution. The prophet urges rather that the concept of a balance of power is unreal, because it leaves God out of the reckoning. The Israelite prophets and the contemporary prophets assert that power is not built in with historical existence in the way that the statesmen suppose. God reserves all power to himself and so the locus of power is outside historical existence. From this flowed the doctrine of instrumentality in the Israelite prophets. God moves the nations like pawns on a chess-board, but he is the only real policy-maker and reserves all power to himself.
In this case the statesman ought not to concern himself with power, for, if this is the situation, all that is left for him as for the rest of us is to know the will of God and do it. Beyond this everything rests with God. The statesman will say that the crudity of the balance of power in our world today is a true reflection of the tensions and perilous insecurity of the international community and that it is the unresolved, intractable problems, daunting in their magnitude and delicacy, which will have to be tackled and solved one by one before there is any betterment. But the prophet believes that faith has a creative potential and can transform a situation. If we had faith in God and loved our neighbour and were prepared to take the absolute risk for the sake of Christ, the world would cease to be an armed camp. (McKane, 1965: 129 f.)
Yahweh’s law and leadership were not experienced through an office of institutionalized violence, but in the reality of covenant relationship and worship, and in the office of the prophet who communicated the divine will to the people. This revolutionary kind, of government reached its climax in the suffering servant of II Isaiah who went out to win the nations for Yahweh, armed only with Yahweh’s word (North, 1956). That his enterprise ended with suffering and death and that it is this psalm of suffering and death which was decisive for the early church’s understanding of Jesus shows that both Old and New Testaments are dealing primarily with the problem of political power.
Jesus’ own self-consciousness in relation to the nations had to do precisely with the question of leadership and the exercise of power. Jesus declared to His disciples, “Among pagans it is the kings who lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are given the title Benefactor. This must not happen with you. No; the greatest among you must behave as if he were the youngest, the leader as if he were the one who serves. For who is the greater: the one at table or the one who serves? The one at table, surely? Yet here am I among you as one who serves!” (Luke 22:24-27, The Jerusalem Bible; cf. Mark 10:41-45; Mat- →159 thew 20:24-28). The unity of this saying with Jesus’ words about the cross should be obvious. The self-consciousness which set off both Old and New Testaments from the nations had to do with the question of political power. The Bible’s radical answer to this central question of power gave new structure to the biblical faith and new form to the literature.
This suggests that in our study of the Bible we must interest ourselves in more than the theology of the Bible. Biblical sociology, politics, and psychology are essential to the understanding of the biblical God, Israel had no concept of separation of church and state. Yahweh was Lord of her entire life. Her concept of separation was not between religious life and secular life, but between herself and the nations. Israel was different from the nations, though she was tempted to become like the nations. This difference of Israel from the nations is the Old Testament paradigm for the “separation” of church and state.
The Kingdom of God and History
Israel testified that this self-conscious difference from the nations was not due to her own acts, but to the action of God in her behalf: “Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?” (Deuteronomy 4:33, 34, RSV)
In my opinion the possibility of independent structures for the faithful church stands or falls with the question of the relation of the biblical tradition to the historical event to which it points. If biblical tradition has no fundamental relationship to historical event, then faith today has no real relationship to history either, and we are doomed to a kind of spiritualism which the Bible abhors. Biblical faith claims that God acted in history for the salvation of mankind. If God did not so act in history, then biblical faith is a fraud.
This raises the question of historical method. The significant difference in Old Testament historical method does not lie between Martin Noth and John Bright, but between Noth and Gerhard von Rad. Von Rad argues for the omnicompetence of the analogy of historical event as the fundamental basis of modern biblical criticism. This means that to understand the rise of Israel the historian must get →160 behind the unique claims of the Exodus and Sinai traditions to show that the real history of Israel’s beginnings was more or less the same as the origin of nations elsewhere. In von Rad’s view, any uniqueness in Israel’s religion was not caused by the juncture of word and deed in an actual theohistorical event, but by theological reflection which re-constructed past history.
In contrast to von Rad, Martin Noth writes:
Yet in spite of all these historical connections and possibilities for comparison, “Israel” still appears a stranger in the world of its own time, a stranger wearing the garments and behaving in the manner of its age, yet separate from the world it lived in, not merely in the sense that every historical reality has its own individual character, and therefore an element of uniqueness, but rather at the center of the history of Israel we encounter phenomena for which there is no parallel at all elsewhere, not because material for comparison has not yet come to light but because so far as we know, such things have simply never happened elsewhere. (Noth, 1958:2, 3; italics added)
Noth’s treatment of the Reed Sea event illustrates his method. His examination of all the relevant sources of the Pentateuch uncovers much contradictory detail, but also one common agreement: the act was Yahweh’s alone, and Israel did no fighting at all. This common agreement, Noth feels, is the more remarkable in the light of the contradiction in detail (Noth, 1962: 119ff.). This evaluation and examination of the sources is as far as the historian can go, though it is evident that Noth accepts this common testimony. If one were to reject it, he would then need to explain the absurdity and tenacity of the biblical tradition, in face of overwhelming odds from ancient to modern times. A similar question about the assumptions of historical method is also involved in the quest for the historical Jesus.
The Hermeneutical Community and Miracle
The question of miracle is a crucial one, for it involves not merely peripheral events such as healings, but the fundamental events on which biblical faith rests—the Exodus and Sinai, the resurrection and present rule of God in Christ. It is my opinion that miracle is an essential element of biblical faith.
Miracle, however, is not to be understood in terms of the nineteenth-century argument between science and religion, but in terms of the biblical doctrine of creation. From this perspective, →161 miracle is strange and offensive not only to modern man, but to ancient man as well, Had an Egyptian or Mesopotamian thinker encountered the biblical doctrine of creation he most likely would not have understood it; had he come to understand it, he would have been shaken to the foundations, largely because of the biblical assumption of freedom, As Christopher North points out:
<blockqutoe>The concept of creation is not obvious, nor does it come naturally to mankind. Everywhere except in the Bible, interpretation of the universe is naturalistic, and worship is, in one form or another, worship of “the great god Pan.” This is true of the religion of classical Greece, of “polymorphic” Hinduism, of humanism in its various forms, of the current concept of “one single branching metabolizing protoplasm,” and of the popular idea of “the life force” as the creative agent in the universe, Outside biblical theism all interpretations of the universe are so many more or less refined forms of what the OT stigmatizes as the worship of Baal, Baal being conceived as the personification of the life process. (1964:14)
This concept of creation originated in Israel not as speculation on what had happened “back there,” but through the present experience of the newness of Yahweh’s creation of a people. This is evident from the relationship of the creation event to salvation history. In Nehemiah 9:6-37, for example, the thought of Yahweh as Creator is brought to bear upon what appears to be a frustrated salvation history, that is, Israel’s slavery to the Persians (Psalm 33; Isaiah 43:19; 65:17).
Remarkably, Israel projected the creative act of Yahweh in her own prophetic-historical experience onto Yahweh’s relation to the entire universe, past, present, and future, While by His creative activity Yahweh gives order and regularity to the whole, at the same time He is making all things new in the creation of His people. There is no conflict between Yahweh’s regular ordering of the seasons, and the new act of salvation history; both are based on His promise (Genesis 8:21-22 and 12:1-3).
Yahweh’s free creative act on behalf of His people was thus a promise of His creative presence both now and in the future, If we can believe in the possibility of miracle in this sense—that God is free to create something new in biblical times, in the present day, and in the future—this is of greatest consequence for a truly biblical hermeneutic, for it enables the break with the immanent cause-effect pattern of the secular historian. →162
The Hermeneutical Circle
We have now come full circle in our hermeneutic of the Bible. For it is only by the experience of the new creation that we can realistically affirm with the prophets “that power is not built in with historical existence in the way that statesmen suppose” and that “God reserves all power to himself and so the locus of power is outside historical existence” (McKane, 1965: 129). The experience of creation alone will make us bold to believe – not that our faith has the creative potential to transform a situation, but that God has already acted creatively in the situation, and by our response to that act we can enter into the freedom of His suffering in making all things new.
It was faith of this character that enabled the Anabaptists of the sixteenth century to act in freedom from the power structures and political assumptions of their age. In a similar manner, Guy Hershberger challenges the “colony of heaven” to “the good fight of faith, overcoming evil with good – with love, nonresistance, and the way of the cross, even as Christ overcame the world by going to His cross” (1958d: 55).
In the biblical pattern of promise and fulfillment, it is God’s new act of covenant in Christ that provides a solid bridgehead which His people may occupy in the midst of the violent history of the twentieth century, in full confidence that His creative word is the determinative power leading to the future. →163
§ This essay was published in Essays in Biblical Interpretation: Anabaptist-Mennonite Perspectives, ed. Willard M. Swartley (Elkhart, IN: Institute of Mennonite Studies, 1984), pp. 106-114. Copyright © 1984 Institute of Mennonite Studies. All rights reserved. Published online by permission of Institute of Mennonite Studies.
# These numerical notations indicate the page breaks in the published book. When citing this essay, please cite the appropriate page number(s) in the published book.
- War, Peace, and Nonresistance included chapters on both Old and New Testaments. Another chapter distinguished between biblical nonresistance and other types of pacifism. The Way of the Cross in Human Relations begins with two chapters on biblical foundations, and utilizes Scripture references throughout.
- In some respects a case can be made that the synagogue has been closer to the teaching of Jesus than has the mainline church. The Anchor Bible commentary series, edited by W. F, Albright and D. N. Freedman, is an example of the ecumenical character of contemporary biblical studies.
- For discussion of Anabaptist hermeneutics, see Bender (1938), Kaufman (1951), Wenger (1938), Klassen (1966a and 1966b), and Yoder (1966).
- See Riedemann (1970) for an example of the Anabaptist attitude toward government. Two of my former students, David Mann and Frederic A. Miller, have written papers on this subject.
- See Zimmerli (1965); I have written a response to this book (Lind, 1966).
- Quoted by Albrektson (1967). Albrektson’s book is a criticism of this concept among Old Testament specialists. In my opinion his work does not demolish the point, but qualifies it.
- I quote McKane at some length because he is not a pacifist nor an Anabaptist, and thus should not be suspect because of his presuppositions, McKane himself rejects the prophetic ethic in favor of the ethic of “responsibility” of ancient Near Eastern wisdom (pp. 129f.), But if McKane is correct in his contrast of these two ethics, it is then evident on which side this puts the ethics of Reinhold Niebuhr, e.g., Moral Man and Immoral Society. His ethic is contrary to that of the prophets and Jesus and is more in line with NE statecraft. This is the fundamental issue between the Bible and its environment; this is what Genesis 3 is about. See my unpublished paper, “The Anomaly of the Prophet.”
- For the importance of Isaiah 53 to the New Testament interpretation of Jesus, see Dodd (1965). Hooker (1959) may be successful in qualifying Dodd’s thesis, but in my judgment does not demolish his argument.
- For a statement of the differences between Bright and Noth, see Bright (1956).
- Von Rad makes a sharp distinction between the confessional character of biblical faith and the way the events “really happened.” “These two pictures of Israel’s history lie before us—that of modern critical scholarship and that which the faith of Israel constructed—and for the present, we must reconcile ourselves to both of them.” He holds that modern critical scholarship is “rational and ‘objective’; that is, with the aid of historical method and presupposing the similarity of all historical occurrence, it constructs a critical picture of the history as it really was in Israel” (italics mine). In a footnote he sympathetically quotes E. Troeltsch: “The means by which criticism is at all possible is the application of analogy…. But the omnicompetence of analogy implies that all historical events are identical in principle” (1962:107).
Bibliography of Sources Cited
Albrektson, Bertil. History and the Gods. Sweden: C.S.K. Gleerup, 1967.
Angus, Samuel. The Mystery-Religions and Christianity. London: J. Murray, 1925
Auerbach, Erich. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1957.
Bender, H. S. “The Theology of Conrad Grebel.” MQR 12(Jan 1938), 27–54.
Bright, John. Early Israel in Recent History Writing. Chicago: A.R. Allenson, 1956.
Brunner, Emil. The Misunderstanding of the Church. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1953.
Dodd, C. H. The Old Testament in the New. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1965.
Hershberger, Guy F. The Way of the Cross in Human Relations. Scottdale, Pa.: Herald Press, 1958.
Hooke, S. H. Myth, Ritual and Kingship. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958.
Hooker, Morna D. Jesus and the Servant. London: S.P.C.K., 1959.
Kaufman, Gordon D. “Sane Theological Emphases of the Early Swiss Anabaptists.” MQR 25(April 1951), 75–99.
Klassen, William. “Anabaptist Hermeneutics: The Letter and the Spirit.” MQR 40(April 1966), 83–96. [In art., 1966a]
------. “The Relation of the Old and the New Covenants in Pilgram Marpeck’s Theology.” MQR 40 (April 1966), 97–111. [In art., 1966b]
McKane, William. Prophets and Wise Men. Naperville, Illinois: Alec R. Allenson, Inc., 1956.
Mendenhall, George E. The Tenth Generation: The Origins of the Biblical Tradition. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973.
Neill, Stephen. The Interpretation of the New Testament: 1861–1961. London: Oxford University Press, 1964.
North, Christopher R. The Suffering Servant in Deutero-Isaiah. London: Oxford University Press, 1962.
Noth, Martin. The History of Israel. New York: Harper, 1958.
------. Exodus: Old Testament Library. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1962.
Pritchard, James B. “The Sumerian King List,” Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969.
Riedemann, Peter. Confession of Faith. New York: The Plough Publishing House, 1970.
Wenger, J. C. “The Theology of Pilgram Marpeck.” MQR 12(Oct 1938), 205–256.
Yoder, John Howard. “The Hermeneutics of the Anabaptists.” MQR 41(Oct 1967), 291–308.
Zimmerli, Walther. “Promise and Fulfillment.” In Essays on Old Testament Hermeneutics. Claus Westermann, ed. Richmond, Virginia: John Knox Press, 1965.