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About the Authors
Edward W. Klink III (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is associate professor of New Testament at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University and has written works on the audience and origin of the Gospel of John and the audience of the Gospels.
Darian R. Lockett (PhD, University of St. Andrews) is also associate professor of New Testament at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. He has written on purity and worldview in James.
The two authors have an extensive interest in biblical theology, particularly to bring clarity to the confusion of definition and method.
The term “biblical theology” has been used in many ways by many different scholars. There is currently no consensus on how to define biblical theology or how it should be undertaken. While some might take the term to refer to a theology that is in accord with the Bible, or to the theology contained in the Bible itself, the use of “biblical theology” as a technical term actually may be traced back to J. P. Gabler’s inaugural address at the University of Altdorf in 1787. Gabler divided sharply between biblical theology and dogmatics, a division that remained popular within the academy. Geerhardos Vos in his inaugural address at Princeton in 1892 argued for the reunion of these two disciplines, but he has been mostly ignored. After the Second World War, a Biblical Theology Movement arose, mostly in America. The movement was unified around the resurgence of theology, the unity of the Bible, and God’s revelation in history. The Biblical Theology Movement failed because it was too diverse and inherently conflicting in its methodology, but it left its influence in the academy.
Since Gabler, there have been several key issues involved in doing biblical theology. What is the connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament? Many scholars find this to be the most important question in biblical theology. Another issue is historical diversity versus theological unity. The biblical documents are quite diverse in historical setting and language, so how much of its theology is unified? Another issue is the scope and sources of biblical theology. While some scholars want to use only the canonical document (and even that depends on which canon one is speaking of), others want to broaden the scope beyond the canon. One must also ask, What is the subject matter of biblical theology? Various suggestions include history, God, the actions of God, and the belief of the writers. It is helpful to distinguish between the content of the biblical authors and the biblical writings. Lastly, is biblical theology a churchly or academic discipline? If the results are normative, the church must be involved, but if it is solely descriptive, then the discipline has but little antiquarian interest for the church.
With these issues in mind, this book examines five different types of biblical theology. The typology functions heuristically and is not intended to be a perfect division between all types. For each type, one chapter explains the methodology and another chapter explains the work of a major proponent or practitioner of that type. The five types lay across a spectrum, with a focus on history at one extreme and a focus on theology at the other extreme. The order from most historical to most theological is: historical description; history of redemption; worldview-story; canonical approach; theological construction.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Spectrum of Biblical Theology
I. Type 1: Biblical Theology as Historical Description
A. Chapter 1. Biblical Theology as Historical Description: Definition
B. Chapter 2. Biblical Theology as Historical Description: James Barr
II. Type 2: Biblical Theology as History of Redemption
A. Chapter 3. Biblical Theology as History of Redemption: Definition
B. Chapter 4. Biblical Theology as History of Redemption: D. A. Carson
III. Type 3: Biblical Theology as Worldview-Story
A. Chapter 5. Biblical Theology as Worldview-Story: Definition
B. Chapter 6. Biblical Theology as Worldview-Story: N. T. Wright
IV. Type 4: Biblical Theology as Canonical Approach
A. Chapter 7. Biblical Theology as Canonical Approach: Definition
B. Chapter 8. Biblical Theology as Canonical Approach: Brevard Childs
V. Type 5: Biblical Theology as Theological Construction
A. Chapter 9. Biblical Theology as Theological Construction: Definition
B. Chapter 10. Biblical Theology as Theological Construction: Francis Watson
VI. Conclusion: Understanding Biblical Theology
BT1: Biblical Theology as Historical Description: Definition
The first type (“BT1”) is similar to the History of Religions School from the nineteenth and twentieth century. Krister Stendahl in 1962 defined biblical theology (“BT”) as a descriptive enterprise, divorced from dogmatics. He thus divided between the ideas of the Bible (“what it meant”) from the ideas of the modern world (“what it means”). BT1 is therefore defined as the task “to affirm the exegetical or descriptive nature of biblical theology and deny the theological or normative nature of biblical theology” (p. 31). This type of Biblical Theology is the theology of Bible on its own terms, researched by contemporary methods, and undertaken by biblical scholars rather than theologians. Because of this last point, Biblical Theology is for the academy, not the church. (Although, there are some that still believe in discovering what the text means for the church today, e.g., Stendahl.)
Since BT1 is concerned with the historical beliefs of the biblical authors, the scope of the sources includes….
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Understanding Biblical Theology: A Comparison Of Theory And Practice