Saturating the airwaves...

Bruce Gardner b.gardner at abdn.ac.uk
Sat Mar 3 05:41:22 EST 2001


Dear Dan and Harold,

The arguments for NT interpretation of the OT/HB are very like the 
arguments surrounding the anthropomorphic principle in Creation. One says: 
the universe is created by God because it is designed to produce Man. The 
other: the universe produces Man who sees that fact as central.

Here it is, in this case:

  EITHER:

(a) The OT is designed to be fulfillled by the NT.

OR:

(b) The NT is designed to fulfil the OT.

Since the NT is a product of reflection on the HB tradition, of course it 
looks like the solution.

It is obvious that the NT makes a habit (e.g., Isa 7:14; 11:1f) of 
reinterpreting texts in a very Jewish way. But then the Qumranians and the 
Rabbis both saw themselves as the fulfillers of past hope too. As a result, 
you find tree stumps growing again outside the Holocaust memorial at Yad 
Vashem, to commemorate not the Christian Messiah but the miracle of Israel 
for whom that application of the HB text is (equally self-evidently) about 
Israel's ethno-religious survival.

Also, while I do set aside the J/E debate as too inconclusive, and prefer 
the D(euteronomistic tradition followed by P(riestly Writer) and then the 
C(hronicler) I cannot ignore there is growth and development in the HB/OT 
corrresponding to D, P and C, for to reject that is to reject the evidence 
in favour of a fiction that the ancient Hebrew scriptures are exactly 
historical. Only the person who has not actually read the Bible can claim 
that with confidence. The holding of that opinion in the face of facts as 
simply 'things not yet understood' can seem a self-deception, and most of 
all give Christians a bad name as people who think they can afford to be 
irrational.

Consider, for example, two views of a plague on Jerusalem: 2 Samual 24 and 
1 Chronicles 21. Is there NO sign of development there?  Are there no fresh 
perspectives to be noted at all?

Bruce Gardner.







------------
Bruce Gardner
b.gardner at abdn.ac.uk
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