2010 Volume 37

Issue 01 -- Spring 2010

Emerging Voices on the Epistle to the Hebrews: pg 3-6
Eric F. Mason
Judson University
Elgin, IL 60123

The Epistle (Not Necessarily) to the “Hebrews”: A Call to Renunciation of Judaism or Encouragement to Christian Commitment: pg 7-20
Eric F. Mason
Judson University
Elgin, IL 60123
A prominent way of reading the Epistle to the Hebrews—especially among English-language interpreters—continues to be that it was written to Jewish Christian readers who were either struggling to leave Judaism or tempted to abandon Christianity in favor of their former faith. The frequent use of Scripture and Jewish examples, comparisons of Jesus with elements of Judaism, and the language of Heb 13:7-16 are often cited as proof for such readings. An examination of these three issues along with a consideration of the “warning passages” in Hebrews, however, shows that nothing in the book demands that the author be understood as addressing the recipients’ attraction to Judaism. Instead, the author’s language and approach are indebted to his biblical interpretation.

The Three Joshuas of Hebrews 3 and 4: pg 21-36

Bryan J. Whitfield        
Mercer University
Macon, GA 31207
The flow of the argument in Hebrews 3 and 4 is not easy to understand, as the writer moves from his discussion of the priesthood of Jesus to warn his readers against following the example of the unfaithful wilderness generation. In the 1920s, J. Rendel Harris suggested that understanding LXX texts about Joshua, both in Numbers and in Zechariah, could clarify the flow of the argument. This article argues for a reconsideration of Harris’s proposal and enumerates several features of Hebrews 3 and 4 that suggest the author’s interest in both Joshua the scout and Joshua the priest.

The Ethos of God in Hebrews: pg 37-52
Amy L. B. Peeler
Princeton Theological Seminary
Princeton, NJ 08542
An examination of the intersection between theology and rhetorical criticism, this paper focuses the author’s theological use of ethos. Hebrews is an excellent specimen for the study of the ethos of God because God plays such an important role both as subject and speaker of this address. Drawing from rhetorical handbooks and Greco-Roman speeches, this paper seeks to understand the rhetorical function of ethos and how Hebrews uses this tool. By investigating the author’s presentation of God’s paternal nature, it will show how the author presents the ethos of God so that its readers might see God as appealing and worthy of trust.

The Use of Rhetorical Topoi in the Characterization of Jesus in the Book of Hebrews: pg 53-70

Brian C. Small
Baylor University
Waco, TX 76798
This essay examines how the author of Hebrews employs rhetorical topoi to develop the characterization of Jesus. Aelius Theon’s Progymnasmata and Cicero’s De Inventione provide lists of the properties or attributes of persons which can be used in the argumentation of epideictic speeches. By utilizing the rhetorical topoi derived from these lists, a taxonomy is created which helps us organize the author’s conception of the character of Jesus. The author employs these rhetorical topoi to demonstrate Jesus’ excellency and to exalt him above all other human beings. The author urges his audience to adopt his characterization of Jesus so that they could have the confidence and boldness to persevere in their Christian faith.

Unveiling Jesus’ Flesh: A Fresh Assessment of the Relationship Between the Veil and Jesus’ Flesh in Hebrews 10:20: pg 71-84
David M. Moffitt
Duke University
Durham, NC 27708
The veil of Heb 10:20 is often identified with Jesus’ body. I argue that Jesus’ body—as an element of the offering he presented—is instead the means by which he passed through the veil of the heavenly tabernacle. The author’s rationale for Jesus’ exaltation above the angels and tendency to locate Jesus’ offering in heaven suggest that he thinks in terms of Jesus’ bodily ascension into heaven as a glorified human being. This creates a strong presumption that 10:20 refers not to the passing of Jesus’ spirit out of his body, but to Jesus’ embodied movement through the heavenly tabernacle.

The Veil and the High Priestly Robes of the Incarnation: Understanding the Context of Heb 10:20: pg 85-98

Mark A. Jennings
Marquette University
Milwaukee, WI 53233
This essay examines the meaning behind the appositional relationship between Christ’s flesh and the veil in Heb 10:20. Traditionally, it has been argued that the author is referring to Christ’s sacrificial death by employing the Day of Atonement motif in Heb 10:19-20. Nevertheless, the language and argument of the text is better suited within the context of covenant and temple inauguration.  Given this context, this study argues that the reference to Christ’s flesh and the veil refers to Christ’s Incarnation, when, as the eschatological high priest, he passed through the cosmic veil that separated the heavens from earth.

Issue 02 -- Summer 2010

Salvation in the Johannines: pg 119-20
Peter Rhea Jones
McAfee School of Theology
Atlanta, GA 30341

A Tale of Three Cities: pg 121-32
G. Todd Wilson
Seneca, SC 27672
The life of William E. Hull can be characterized by the time he has spent in three cities during his ministerial and academic profession: Louisville; Shreveport; and Birmingham.  In this tale of three cities Bill Hull pursued three callings: teacher, pastor, and administrator. In each phase he kept one foot in academia and the other in the church, and in every stage he was very much a synthesizer.  As a result, he ever sought to integrate the knowledge of theology with the practice of ministry and to maintain a healthy dialectic between head and heart. He called the idea of bringing theological education into the service of the church “the defining issue of his career.”

The Fourth Gospel’s Soteriology between New Birth and Resurrection: pg 133-46

Charles H. Talbert
Baylor University
Waco, TX 76798
The Fourth Gospel’s soteriology begins with grace (1:12) and ends with grace (6:40). What about the period in between? This essay focuses on 15:1-17 and the concepts of Jesus' abiding in believers and believers’ abiding in Jesus. The former is best viewed as the language analogous to the presence of Yahweh in Israel, protecting, guiding, and providing. The latter is best seen in light of the ancient Greek formula “in God” meaning “in God's hands” or “dependent on God.” If so, it is not a reciprocal indwelling. For the party with the higher status “to be in” the party with the lower status means the former enables the latter. For the party with the lower status “to be in” the party with the higher status means the former is dependent on the latter. So understood, the Fourth Gospel’s soteriology is by grace from beginning to end and all the way in between.

God’s Lamb: Divine Provision for Sin: pg 147-64

G. Roger Greene
Mississippi College
Clinton, MS 39058
The concept of sin in the Gospel of John is often misunderstood, as is the introduction of Jesus as “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29).  Careful examination of the concept reveals a personal model of divine provision which is able to overcome the singular deadly sin of willful unbelief.  There is but one radical sin in John’s Gospel—the willful refusal to come to faith in the unique Son of God.  Jesus, as God’s provision, God’s Lamb, thus “takes away” the sin of willful lack of faith, although paradoxically, a failure to come to faith brings sin

Peter as Exemplary Disciple in John 21:15-19: pg 165-78

R. Alan Culpepper
McAfee School of Theology
Atlanta, GA 30341
This article focuses on the dialogue between Jesus and Peter that occurs in John 21:15-19, centering in particular on two issues that have occupied previous scholarship.  The first of these is whether or not this pericope establishes Peter as the shepherd of the church in the same way that Matthew 16 does. The second is whether or not the change in verbs for love in Peter and Jesus’ conversation is integral to its meaning. Analyzing the intratextual connections between John 21 and the rest of the Gospel, Culpepper argues that this dialogue reflects Peter’s role as an exemplary disciple for the community. He is a representative figure whose identity as a shepherd showcases God’s forgiveness and the importance of loving both the Lord and the community of believers.

A Presiding Metaphor of First John: μένειν ἐν: pg 179-94

Peter Rhea Jones
McAfee School of Theology
Atlanta, GA 30341
The New Critics, sensitive to patterns, approached literary writings as organic wholes, the texts to be read qua texts. Robert Heilman, a Shakespearean critic, paid particular attention to master metaphors that dominate a work and penetrate the lesser imagistic groupings. He looked for “synthesis scenes.” In this article “abiding” is identified as the presiding metaphor that implies the underlying organic wholeness of 1 John. First John 3:23-24 does quite well as a synthesis scene, incorporating as it does both orthodoxy and orthopraxy replete with the presiding metaphor abiding. Selected texts related to orthodoxy and orthopraxy that featured key usages of abiding are analyzed succinctly. This presiding metaphor does fit a probable Sitz, may reflect the original terms of dispute and a recasting by the Elder but invites fresh readings. For the writer the mystical relationship of abiding is circumscribed by a particular Christology and Christological ethic. It enables and transforms in a salvific relationship in which one must persevere.

John 2:1-11: A Sermon for the Second Sunday after Epiphany: pg 195-200

Charles L. Rice
Trinity Episcopal Church
Mt. Pocono, PA 18344
Jesus’ ministry as the saving Word of God is launched at a village wedding.  Shortage threatens the feast of love, but at Jesus’ word six brimming urns of the best wine tell of the abundant joy of God’s salvation coming into the world through him. At Cana, the Evangelist shows us an epiphany at a marriage—with all its potential for highest joy and keenest disappointment—revealing the saving Christ and illumining all those human experiences where the Word made flesh breaks through to us.

Selected Sermons of William E. Hull: pg 201-30
William E. Hull
Samford University
Birmingham, AL 35229
Dr. William E. Hull is widely acknowledged as one of Baptists’ brightest scholars and most articulate preachers. For Baptists “of a certain age,” many of Hull’s sermons continue to have far-reaching and widespread impact. Thus, while it is unusual to include writings of the honoree in a Festschrift, it seemed wise in this case to include four sermons to showcase William Hull’s eloquence and keen theological insight into the human condition. Two of them deal profoundly with the difficult issues of death and disease (“The Sound of Silence: In Memoriam, Laura Lou Claypool,” “Finding God in the Darkness”); two of them explore theologically the nature of the Bible and the peculiar people called Baptists (“Shall We Call the Bible Infallible,” “Who are Southern Baptists?”).

Bibliography of William E. Hull: pg 231-53


Issue 03 –- Fall 2010

Alien or American? Baptists and Immigration at the Turn of the Century
Rosalie Beck
Baylor University, Waco TX 76798

It’s All About a Missing Rib: Human Sexuality in the Bible
James L. Crenshaw
Emeritus, Duke University, Durham NC 27708

Evaluating Morton Smith: Hoaxer Outed or Colleague Slandered?

Charles W. Hedrick
Missouri State University, Springfield MO 65897

“For It Has Been Written”: Paul’s Use of Isa 54:1 in Gal 4:27 in Light of Gal 3:1-5:1

Alicia D. Myers
Baylor University, Waco TX 76798
Appearing in the midst of an allegory, Paul’s quotation of Isa 54:1 only adds to the confusion of Gal 4:21-5:1. This article attempts to resolve this confusion by addressing how Paul’s use of Isa 54:1 fits in with the larger context of Gal 3:1-5:1. Building on the work of past scholars, this article takes careful note of the connections between Gal 4:21-5:1 and its larger context including, repeated motifs and the pattern of Scripture introductions. In light of such connections, Paul’s quotation of Isa 54:1is integral to his argument, being accessible in different ways for his various audience members.

Restoring the Peace: The Edict of Milan and the Pax Deorum

Jason A. Whitlark
Baylor University, Waco TX 76798
The thesis of this article is to demonstrate that the so-called Edict of Milan belongs to the larger imperial discourse concerning the pax deorum.  To this end this article will explore the key features of the articulation of the pax deorum in the monument of the Ara Pacis Augustae, in the epic of the Aeneid, and Eusebius’ panegyric biography of Constantine.  In light of this discourse, the language of the Edict of Milan will indicate that Constantine was legalizing the Christian religion and its god in terms that pagan imperial citizens would have recognized to be preserving the traditional Roman religion. The conclusions of this thesis continue to demonstrate the difficulty and complexity of talking about the “conversion” of Constantine that lead to the issuing of the edict.

The Suffering God and Cross in Open Theism: Theodicy or Atonement?
Jordan Carson
Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton NJ 08542
My essay engages the role of the cross in the open theist notion of atonement.  I defend the claim that Jesus’ crucifixion is the suffering of God against the accusation that this reduces atonement to theodicy.  I examine the role of suffering in atonement, kenosis, and theodicy.  I argue that theodicy is a state of existence and not just a question, the lens through which we view the world and through which we must approach atonement.  By viewing the cross as God’s suffering, our selfish, sinful fixation on suffering is broken and new possibilities are found, at one with God.

Issue 04 -- Winter 2010

Editorial Introduction
Lidija Novakovic
Baylor University
Waco, TX 76798

"From the Beginning It Was Not So...": Jesus, Divorce, and Remarriage in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls
C. D. Elledge
Gustavus Adolphus College
Saint Peter, MN 56082
The legal writings among the Dead Sea Scrolls offer the promise of helping to locate Jesus' teachings on the Torah within the diverse spectrum of early Jewish legal reasoning. An important case in point is Jesus' rejection of divorce and remarriage, a multiply attested teaching in the Markan (Mark 10:1-12, Matt 19:1-12), Q (Matt 5:31-32, Luke 16:18) and Pauline (1 Cor 7:10-11) traditions about Jesus. Many specialists have identified an essential continuity between the Scrolls and Jesus on divorce, thus illustrating how his surprising prohibition had its antecedents in earlier Judaism. Other scholars have more recently argued for greater distance between their respective teachings, an indication that Jesus' opposition to divorce may have transcended all contemporary understandings of Jewish law. After a review of the New Testament evidence, this article demonstrates how Jesus' concern over remarriage was shared by the authors of the Scrolls, as revealed through the ongoing study of the Temple Scroll (11Q19), the Damascus Document (CD, 4Q271), and other writings. In light of Qumran documents, Jesus seems to have radicalized to an unprecedented degree legal positions on remarriage that had already gained currency in earlier Jewish thought. The topic of divorce and remarriage, therefore, allows a promising vantage from which to observe how one contested problem within Qumran research may directly impinge upon historical understandings of Jesus.

Interpreting Traditions: The Qumran Community and the Gospels

Henry W. Morisada Rietz
Grinnell College
Grinell, IA 50112
This essay uses examples from the Gospels and Qumran help to illustrate the ways in which ancient interpreters created different meanings by changing the contexts of their texts. The first example looks at Isaiah 40:3 in its original historical context as well as in the Gospels and in the Rule of the Community. The essay also examines passages from the Pesher Habakkuk and the Gospel of Matthew to suggest that these documents represent two examples of early contextual biblical interpretation. Each reflects a dynamic interplay between its pre-understanding of the Bible and how it relates to their history as well as how both these elements turn interpret and are interpreted by their communities' present situation.

"The One Who Eats My Bread Has Lifted His Heel Against Me": Psalm 41:10 in 1QHa 13.25-26 and John 13:18

Nicholas J. Zola
Baylor University
Waco, TX 76798
The Qumran Hodayot (1QHa 13.25-26) and the Gospel of John (13:18) share a remarkable usage of the same line from Ps 41:10: "The one who eats my bread has lifted his heel against me." Both texts place the verse on the lips of a community leader to describe his experience of betrayal and abandon. This article argues that Ps 41:10 not only serves a similar narratival function within each composition, but also performs a similar rhetorical function within each community as a paradigmatic call to communal solidarity. Thus, the common use of Ps 41:10 in these texts functions on two levels: to tell the story of the betrayal experienced by the community leader (what has happened) and to address the ongoing inner-community problems of internal disaffection and division (what is happening).

John, Qumran, and the Question of Sectarianism

Carsten Claussen
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
The rather different communities behind the Gospel of John and the Qumran scrolls have often been called "sects." But what does this term really mean? The original study of sectarianism goes back to the seminal contributions of Max Weber and Ernst Troeltsch, which led to the "church-sect" distinction. More recent studies of Bryan Wilson, however, provide much more helpful criteria to define a "sect." As these are employed to analyze the belief systems and structures of the two different communities, it becomes obvious that while the Qumran community may rightly be called a "sect" the same would hardly be justified regarding the Johannine community.

Exploring the Function of Symbolic Dream-Visions in the Literature of Antiquity, with Another Look at 1QapGen 19 and Acts 10

John B. F. Miller
McMurry University
Abilene, TX 79697
Symbolic dreams and visions found in the literature of antiquity function in ways that their more straightforward counterparts, message dreams and visions, cannot. After summarizing these functions as they relate to both narrative and socio-historical concerns, the present study examines Abram's dream in 1QapGen 19, highlighting an underexplored observation of Marianne Luijken Gevirtz. Gevirtz suggested that symbolic dreams and visions occasionally have the ironic function of simultaneously intimating God's approval of an action while avoiding attributing such approval directly to God. In such cases, God's direction is implied, but attention is focused primarily on the human interpretation of the dream-vision encounter. The present study argues that this ironic function may be helpful for understanding Peter's symbolic dream-vision in Acts 10.

Hebrews and the Dead Sea Scrolls: Some Points of Comparison

Eric F. Mason
Judson University
Elgin, IL 60123
Scholars of both the Dead Sea Scrolls and Hebrews have long been interested in possible relationships between the texts, and early enthusiasm in the 1950s and 1960s soon gave way to much more negative assessments. This article proposes a more nuanced approach that recognizes significant differences in the scrolls and Hebrews yet also affirms several important shared traditions in three areas: cosmology (especially conceptions of a heavenly sanctuary in apocalyptic Judaism), messianism (particularly between the priestly messiah at Qumran and the priestly Christology of Hebrews), and Melchizedek (chiefly the compatibility of portraits of the figure in these two literatures).