Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bockmuehl on New Testament Theology

In Seeing the Word chapter three, Bockmuehl looks at the possibility of a NT Theology given the diversity of voices in the New Testament (indeed a "a cacophony of ireconcilably conflicting interpretations and pleas for power" according to some). Are we left with an entirely phenomenological approach to the theology of individual letters rather than a singular message of the New Testament? In contrast, Bockmuehl argues that: "There is in fact a strong case that the New Testament text itself begs to be read systematically, whether as a canonical whole or in its constituent parts". The various writers, in their diversity and disagreements, claim to be concerned with the same Gospel as their fellow Apostles. An ecclesial reading is possible because the texts imply a Christian readership, what is more, "the New Testament does not create the church but rather presupposes and confirms it at every turn".

In terms of a method for NT Theology, Bockmuehl proposes: (1) To establish the kerygma of the New Testament; (2) to seriously engage in the issue of unity and diversity; and (3) plot the place of the New Testament in historic Christian Theology.

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