New Testament Theology

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New Testament Theology

New Testament Theology


American Evangelical Churches have been among the most forthright defenders of Israeli government policy in regard to the question of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories of the Holy Land (Guthrie, 1981). The first seven chapters of this work address the issue of the biblical heritage of promised land in the Old Testament, in first-century Diaspora Judaism, the attitude of Jesus in so far as it can be detected in the quotes of the synoptic Gospels, the distinctive interest of the Fourth Gospel in Jerusalem, the Acts of the Apostles, Paul, Hebrews and the Book of Revelation. All of these surveys, expressed in non-technical language but displaying a sophisticated and intelligent reading of the sources, provide the framework from which he addresses the question of a Holy Land theology (Guthrie, 1981).

This is a book for those with a specialist interest in musicology, theology, history, philology and Bible translation; but also for readers who would like to get beyond a passing acquaintance (Guthrie, 1981). This book is a compendium, on the typology, etymology and technical characteristics of musical information in the Hebrew Bible, is apparently the first of its kind.

Discussion and Analysis

The opening chapter is a survey of the religious and social functions of music and its educational structures in ancient Israel, a brief history of music in the Hebrew Bible, and the main contributors in modern scholarship. Chapters 2 to 6 contain the compendium proper, with musical terms analyzed in alphabetical order: plucked strings, wind and percussion (chaps. 2-4; this uses the influential typology (Guthrie, 1981). This is followed by discussions of instruments of ambivalent identification chapter 5 and generic and unclear terms chapter 6. The final chapter lays out how the meanings of musical references modulated in rabbinic texts, in the symbolic concerns of the Church Fathers, and in modern Bible translations, often due to ignorance of the ancient terms (Guthrie, 1981).

This understanding of what NT theology is leads to a method of 'doing' it. It is a method which overcomes the familiar old dichotomy between a-theological historical description and a-historical theological reflection. It leads Guthrie to depart from three recent approaches: (1) reviewing previous studies: (2) treating individual writers/documents seriatim; (3) relating the documents to main themes of systematic theology, like 'creation' and 'Christology' (Guthrie, 1981).

The book's rather different approach is to explore the process of theologizing by which the first Christians made sense of things and which issued in the NT. The book does so by focusing on three big factors that shaped their lives: (A) their inheritance of sacred scripture (Hebrew Bible/ Septuagint); (B) the impact on them of Jesus Christ, especially his death and resurrection and also his life and message; (C) their experience of the Holy Spirit (Guthrie, 1981).

Those who are familiar with Guthrie's work will not be surprised that in regard to the second factor he sees considerable continuity between Jesus's own implicit Christology and the NT writers' explicit post-resurrection one, and that he regards the ...
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