Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The new Exodus

I’m going to respond to this post:

Steve himself does admit that some scholars (he cites B. Waltke), do believe the NT reinterprets the OT (Not to be funny, but I’m not actually sure Hays is being fair to Waltke.  I think I read somewhere where Waltke said he did not believe this).

For examples where Waltke explicitly says what I attributed to him, see his Old Testament Theology, 560, 577.

With all due respect I think Steve is letting a presumed theological motif pass rudely over what the texts are really saying.  As I pointed out in Reason 37:
37. In reality what happens is that the theological presuppositions of the interpreter which are read into the NT text and then back into the OT.  There is a corresponding breakdown between what the biblical texts say and what they are assumed to mean.  Thus, it is the interpretation of the reader and not the wording of the biblical text which is often the authority for what the Bible is allowed to teach.
The truth is, something outside the texts he uses is making him see types that are not there.  Could that something be that he is “reinterpreting” the passages because of his commitment to letting his understanding of the NT dictate what the OT must say, and what God intended to say?  Perhaps not.  But in my experience and reading, that is what is going on.

I'd simply point out that this sort of accusation doesn't facilitate a constructive dialogue. And that's because the allegation is reversible. An amil or covenant theologian could level the same allegation against Dispensationalists, viz. the dispensationalist is imposing his theological precommitments on the text, is filtering the text through a dispensational grid.

Henebury's accusation does nothing to advance the argument. For both sides say that about the other. It begs the question.

Hays then links to Jer. 16:14-15, which houses a promise of return amid denouncement for sin.  I think he is correct to see a connection with Isa. 11 & 35, but there is no typology and no alteration in the “land-motif.”  Better places to go would be Jer. 30:1-10; 31:1-14, 21-16; 32:37-41; 33:14-26.  These show again that there is no typology and “territorial referents” are constant.   Steve’s “typology” of recapitulation is not there.  He has brought it with him.  This shows why one should never formulate doctrine from supposed “types.”

i) When the OT presents a new Eden or new Exodus motif, that, by definition, involves shifting territorial referents.

Instead of real Eden, Eretz-Israel takes the place of Eden. Instead of real Egypt, Babylon takes the place of Egypt. So the original territorial referents change.

ii) This is characteristic of a typical relation. In typology, one concrete thing symbolizes another concrete thing. In the new Eden motif, Eden now stands for Eretz-Israel. In the new Exodus motif, Egypt now stands for Babylon.

iii) This is more than just Edenic or Exodus imagery. Rather, you have the same plotline.

In the Edenic plotline, you have expulsion and restoration. In the Exodus plotline, you have captivity and deliverance.

iv) This, in turn, involves a type/token relationship, where the general type remains the same, but different tokens exemplify the same type. In this case, the type is the master plotline while the token is one particular way the same type can be exemplified in time and space. One time or place can substitute for another time or place.

A type is repeatable or multiply-instantiable. Specific instances of the same kind. In addition, each token represents the same type, like variations on the same plotline.

v) The fact that the OT has a new Eden or new Exodus motif tells us how the OT views the theological function of land in the first place. In the OT, land has this type/token significance. That’s why the OT can swap out one territorial referent while swapping in another territorial referent.

vi) I’d also point out that a theological motif is open to further development.

Steve does not think Israel is a type.

I didn’t say Israel is not a type. I didn’t affirm or deny that Israel is a type. I didn’t say one way or the other. Rather, I said we don’t have to view Israel as a type of the church to ground the unity of the Testaments.

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