Saturday, September 19, 2009

Martin Hengel on the "Centre of Scripture"

The late Martin Hengel wrote: "In view of the use of the Old Testament in early Christianity, one could speak, if one wished, of a - tacitly assumed - eschatologically determined 'centre of the Scriptures' (Mitte der Schrift), that of fulfilment in the gospel. One could also say that it was determined by Christology, soteriology and the new righteousness or - in a phrase - by the 'justification of the ungodly' (Rom. 4:5; 5:6), and that it thus essentially excluded the possibility of an external delimitation of 'the truth of the gospel' (Gal. 2:5-14) through a firmly defined collection of 'canonical' Scriptures, although one primarily concentrated on relatively few, very specific well-known Scriptures [i.e., Psalms, Isaiah, Deuteronomy]" (The Septuagint as Christian Scripture: Its Prehistory and the Problem of its Canon [trans. M.e. Biddle; London: T&T Clark, 2002], 108).

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