Fall 2018: Second Temple Judaism and New Testament Studies

ctr cover 16.1For the last few decades, a significant portion of biblical scholarship has been invested in research that shows how Jewish literature of the 2nd temple era contributes to the historical/cultural backdrop of the New Testament. In many cases, such endeavors have produced extremely helpful insights for our understanding of Scripture. Yet at the same time, inquiries into how this literary corpus possibly correlates to the thoughts of biblical writers has sometimes raised controversial questions. Such instances have led to stimulating engagements between scholars and theologians in some cases while in others, there have been staunch disagreements resulting in considerable impasses. Consequently, because of the potential influence that 2nd temple Judaism has upon biblical interpretation, our Fall 2018 edition of CTR offers six articles on the subject.

Our lead article is written by Joseph R. Dodson who serves as Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Dodson provides an overview of how the account of Israel’s failure at Sinai in Exodus 32–34 is interpreted by various sources in the 2nd Temple era. Dodson then compares these readings with two specific ways in which Matthew alludes to this part of Israel’s history when describing Jesus’ divine disclosure at the mount of transfiguration and his later mandate for disciples to be made of all nations.

Our second article is by Nicholas G. Piotrowski who is the current President and Academic Dean of Indianapolis Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. Piotrowski engages the well-established conversation about how the concept of exile was understood by different Jewish sects during the 2nd temple period. In doing so, he explores some of the implications that the motif of Israel’s hope of national deliverance has for how we should read the New Testament today and subsequently develop a more robust biblical theology.

The third article is written by Jordan Ryan who is Assistant Professor of New Testament at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Ryan summarizes key developments in Judaism that emerged during the Hasmonean era of Jewish history and how they affected major regions of Galilee leading up to the time of Christ. He does so by examining several critical passages in 1 Maccabees that pertain to the concept of Israel’s national vindication and then discusses how several relevant archaeological discoveries have helped shape scholars’ understanding of Judaism during this period.

Our fourth contributor is S. Michael Ahn who is Associate Professor of New Testament at Gateway Seminary in Ontario, California. Ahn engages a prominent idea advocated by some guilds within New Testament scholarship who argue that New Testament developments in early Christological thought are partly influenced by a major theme in some 2nd temple literature that views Moses as a kind of messianic figure. Ahn contends that this approach is defective methodologically and requires serious reconsiderations.

Our fifth author is Harry A. Hahne who is also a Professor of New Testament at Gateway Seminary. Hahne surveys a diverse spectrum of views that currently exist regarding the nature of apocalyptic literature in 2nd temple writings. He does so in order to show how selective elements of apocalyptic thought are undeniably part of Paul’s theological outlook that he expresses in Romans 8:19–22.

Finally, our last entry is by Mitchell L. Chase who is Adjunct Professor of Old Testament at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. Chase provides a concise treatment of how Daniel’s famous prophecy regarding a future resurrection and final judgment of humanity (Dan 12:1–2) is a major part of Paul’s theological matrix when describing the return of Christ. Chase surveys several of the well-known Pauline texts pertaining to eschatology to show how Daniel’s points of emphasis emerge in Paul’s depictions of the Christian hope.

Following these articles are thirteen book reviews that inform readers about works which can improve their theological libraries. And also remember that past issues of CTR can be accessed online at atla.com. Your local university or seminary can provide you with a password.

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