Monday, October 6, 2014

A Paradigm for Biblical Theology

I propose that we think of Biblical Theology as train running along the tracks.  The tracks are Exegetical Theology and Systematic Theology.  The ties to which the tracks are attached are the Story of Israel. 

The laying of the ties sets the direction the train will travel.  The tracks attach to the ties and enable the train to move toward its destination.

Exegetical theology and systematic theology have in recent history operated as monorail systems.  They worked in studied ignorance of each other.  What was called “Biblical Theology” was an unstable hybrid monorail system, either one-sidedly directed to the biblical material or a systematic exposition of one or both testaments according to a pattern set by systematic theology.

The ties which set the direction of the tracks are the Story of Israel.  This is both the form and content of Biblical Theology.  Exegetical and Systematic Theology are both grounded in this Story.  Both are driven by the direction it moves.  It is the context for Exegetical Theology and the content with which Systematic Theology works.  No monorails allowed here!

Both Exegetical and Systematic work grounded in and driven by the Story of Israel draws together in mutual reciprocity and even modification.  Jesus’ fulfillment and transfiguration of Israel’s story and Paul’s reworking or even invention of Christian theology ride these rails.  The former brings narrative climax; the latter bears theological reformulation for taking the Story to the world.

That, at any rate, are where my methodological musings take me today.  Thoughts?


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