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CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Wume 48. Number 4 Announcement .......................................- Authority in English Theology fmm the Oxford Movement ........................... to the hesent .John Stephenson 265 Jonathan Edwards: A Case of Medium-Message Conflict ..................... Klernet Preus 219 ...................................... Theological Observer .2W ....................................... Homiletical Studies .303 Theological Observer INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR THE STUDY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT The Ninth Congress of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament took place in the ancient university town of Salammca (28 August - 2 September 1983) under the patronage of His Majesty. Juan Carlos. King of Spain. The convocation was preceded by briefer reunions of the Inter- national Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies, the International Organization for Masoretic Studies, and the Society of Biblical Literature (in the case of the latter, the first European session of an essentially Amaican organization). It was the fit occasion on which the IOSOT had convened in Spain, and the serene site of the oldest Iberian university (founded around 1215, junior only to Bologna and Paris)' provided a picturesque and sup- posedly appropriate setting. In some respects, however, the stage seemed somewhat inappropriate to this scholarly spectacle. The majestic monuments to medieval and renaissance architecture which comprise the academic quarter of Salamanca heard very few echoes of any theology antedating the "Enlightenment" and the rise of rationalism. A par- tial exception to this general rule was the inaugural lecture delivered by the president of the IOSOT, Luis Alonso Schoekel, amid the regal splendor of the ceremonial hall const~cted by the "Catholic Monarchs." Ferdinand and IsabeIla. Noting the grandeur, not only of the buildings of Sakuuanc~, but also of her past professors, Professor Schoekel observed. "We can easily be satisfied with the result of our historical-critical method and can sweep the scholars and writers of the past under the carpet on which we have been walk- ing." Choosing Fray Luis Ponce de Leon (d. 1591) as a representative example of pre-critical scholars worthy of contemporary consideration, Professor Schoekd proceeded to make an enjoyable excursion into the life and work of this Augustinian monk, poet, and professor of Old Testament exegesis in six- teenth centqy fhlanxmca. On other occasions, too, there was the moderating influence of British and Spanish scholarship attempting to apply the brakes to the wilder wheels of the more radical German and American critics, especially in the case of theories suspected of Marxian provenience. Such an atmosphere was evident, for ex- ample, in the evaluation of the so-called Mendenha-Gottwald hypothesis of ancient Israelite origins. George E. Mendenhall of the University of Michigan described it as "reasonably certain that ancient Israelite society and ideology were a rPsp0n.w to the destruction of civilization at the end of the Late Bronze Age, not the causew-a position, in other words, directly contrary to the pic- ture painted by the Book of Joshua. "The entire historical context of the early Israelite Federation is the Early Iron Age, and therefore the formation of the Twelve Tribes is to be placed not much before 1150 B.C." In the most elo- quent address of the congress, J. W. Rogerson of the University of Sheffield provided a trenchant critique of the use of sociology in Old Testament studies. 300 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Advocating a "deliberately British" approach. Professor Rogefson warned sociological exegetes against confusing reportage of data with attempted ex- planations of the data and against forgetting the "quasi+xperhatal nature" of such sociological explanations. "It is not enough to show that a given model may explain the data." argued Professor Rogerson. "The preferred model must be justified against other possible models." Nevertheless, the essential validity of higher criticism was the common assumption of almost all the mcipants in the congress. There were, of course, some papm of a neutral character by virtue of their subject matter (textual criticism, history of exegesis, etc.). And William S. LaSor. to be sure, delivered a lecture on the in- terptetation of apocalyptic literature in which he affied the divine nature of the Old Testament and denied the presence therein of vatkinio ex ewntu ("prophecies from the event" - referring, of course, to the critical concept of "prophecies" which are not really predictions of futwe events, but are actual- ly descriptions of past events - descriptions which were ascribed by the unknown men who wrote them to supposed prophets of an earlier age in order to convince their contemporaries of the divine authority of their fraudulent productions).' These propositions, however, served only to disqualify his presentation from serious consideration by his audience (the fallibility of Scripture being, after all, the very cornerstone and sine qw non of higher criticism). Clearly, moreover. there was considerable anxiety about the interrelation- ship between the various categories of higher criticism, fostered by the practi- tioners of one "criticism" clashing with those of another, or, at least, ignoring the work of comrades-in-anns. Alrdy in his inaugural call for perennial dialogue on "methods and models," the president of the IOSOT saw the con- tinual appearance of new methods as producing a sense of insecurity in those accustomed to the use of older critical approaches. Thus, a number of papers emphasized the mutual interdependence of all the "niticisms" and proposed the integration in one way or another of historical criticism, literary criticism. rhetorical criticism, structural criticism, canon criticism, etc. And, in reality, as stated previously, the validity of higher criticism was the least common denominator in the positions of almost all the participants in the IOSOT con- gress, regardless of which particular "criticism" may have been the specialty of each. In a study, for example, of Joseph's final exchange with his brethren (Gen. M:15-21), Walter Brueggeman sought to do justice to both "the 'inter- nal dynamics' of a literary kind" emphasized by Gerhard von Rad and "the 'external function' of the text in the Pentateuch" stressed by Martin Noth. Describing many statements in Genesis M as deliberately ambiguous, Pro- fessor Brueggeman saw the account as a picture of "family relations in a con- flict situation" in an exilic context-in other words, some twelve or more en- turies later than the setting specified by the text of Genesis 50 itself. More im- portantly, this reconstruction, like critical exegesis generally, resists seeing the point of the Joseph story as God's preservation of the people from whom, ac- cording to prior promise, the Savior of all men was to come. An intriguing example of the way in which theory is built upon theory in the critical house of cards was provided by Wilson Chang of Hanshin University in Seoul. His paper, "John Milton and the Yahwist ," compared the personal Theological Observer 301 circumstawxsofahistoWfigurt~~Wdataisprofusclrpd "the Yahwist." of wbom Professor Chang acknowkdgai that we know Little. Not to put too fine a point on it, indeed, the very aristemx of 'the Yahwist" is a hypothesis--aad one deduced only from supposed implicit evidence in the Pentateuch which runs counter to the explicit testimony of the document itself in its present form (as the crib are quite prep& to admit)' as wdl as an external sources of &t times, induding mts madt by our Lord and His apostles (e.g., John 5:4547).' Nevcrthks, Professof Chmg could cbcribe the Yahwist as a man living in the I)avidk-S&mm& paiod who "may bave wanted to compost the national epic of Israd emsnrting fran the call of Abraham." but whosc involvement with the court pditics of his day brogQmd his peqxdive and caused him to project his schcme an the way back to the Migin of the cosmos. The theological nihilism of higher criticistn was pressed to its logical artreme by Imre Mihdik of Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. His kaure, 'Elohim and Monotheism." argued that in their original forms the supposed J and E sources of the Pentateuch (Yahwist and Elohist) were not using dif- facnt names for the one God of Id, but rather were extolling two different gods. One was Yahweh, a particular Hebrew tribal god, and the 0th was El. the father of the gods in the Canaanite pantheon as be is described in the Ras Shamra tabaets. While the Pentateuch, bowever. was passing through various editions over the course of the centuries, so too was Isradite monotheism gradually devdoping from the polytheism inherited from the mastors of Israel. Thus. "D decided to merge the two gods Yabweb and El into one. and "P" sought to defuse any tension between the gods of "J" and "E" by in- troducing Yahweh in Exodus as a new manifestation of El and by using the name "El" before that point and "Yahweh" afterwards. Professor Mihalik sm the final grand redactor of the Pentateuch of attempting (as a result of his thorougbgoiag monotheistic bias) to eliminate the name of the ancient Canaanite deity El from his sources by mechanically replacing it with "Elohim." In its pre-final form, however, the Pentateuch was "a covenant . . document for two worshipping communities." empbwmg the unity of their originally distinct gods. Professor Mihalik was, indeed, merdy drawing the Logical conclusion from the historical-critical method of exegesis when he observed. "Akind of 'ecumenical' attitude toward extina religions seems to be a prerequisite for this task." Notes 1. Editorial Escudo de Oro, Todo Salnrnanca y su Provincia (Barcelona: Editorial Escudo dc Oro, 1983), p.3. 2. Otto Eissfeldt, The Old Testament: An Intmdudion, tr. Peter Aclrroyd (Oxford: Blackwell. 1965). p. 520. summarizes the genaal critical posi- tion on the Book of Daniel in this way: "But when the book came to be dated between 167 and 163, this wried with it at the same time the 302 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY recognition that only the prodamation of .ibe imminent coming of the end-time was genuine [although supposedly erroneous] prophey. Othawk the book provides vuticinium u eventu and the dcacription of the distress preceding the end docs not exlend beyond the Sdrucid period...." Eissfeldt argues, in typical fashion. that in chapter 999-39 the semnd aMpaign of Antjochus N against Egypt (167) "is so exactly 'prophesied' that we here clearly have vulin'nium ex mntu.. . ." 3. Robert Pfeiffer, In~uctwn to the Old Tesfamemt (New YorL: Harper, 1941). for exampk, makes this assation, pp.133-134: "Thcrr is no reason to doubt that the PgltatNch was coMidaed the divine revelation to Moses when it was caMwized about 400 B.C. ...The Deuteronomic Code, found in the Temple in 621, was off' ac- cepted at once as the transcript of a divine revelation to Moss. The author of this code would not have incorporated in his propbetic oracle of Moses current civil and ritual laws unless he had reason to believe that their Mosaic origin woukl not be questioned. The Pen- tateuch is only an ediuged edition of the Deuteronomic Code." 4. Thus, Eissfeldt states without any note of concern, p. 158: "The name used in the New Testament dearly with reference to the whole Pen- tateuch-tkBookofM--is~tobeunderstoodasmeaning that Moss was the compikr of the Pentateuch." Do- n4accmum Lindsay Judiscb