«Book Reviews BOOK REVIEWS James Henry Harris. The Forbidden Word: The Symbol and Sign of Evil in American Literature, History, and Culture Eric M. ...»
Introduction to the Volume
David, the Book of Ruth, and Its Place in a Larger National
J. Andrew Dearman
The Crucified King: STR Interviews Dr. Jeremy Treat................ 171
Jesus’ View of Repentance and Forgiveness: A
Hermeneutical Test Case
A Return to Christ’s Kingdom: Early Swiss Anabaptist Understanding and Temporal Application of the Kingdom of God
Stephen Brett Eccher Book Reviews
BOOK REVIEWSJames Henry Harris. The Forbidden Word: The Symbol and Sign of Evil in American Literature, History, and Culture
Eric M. Washington Walter Elwell and Robert W. Yarbrough. Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey
Michael L. Bryant Victor H. Matthews. The Hebrew Prophets and Their Social World.... 237 Jason T. LeCureux Mark David Hall. Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic
Brent J. Aucoin Thomas R. Schreiner. The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments
Matthew Y. Emerson Kutter Callaway. Scoring Transcendence: Contemporary Film Music as Religious Experience
Jeremy Evans Robert B. Chisholm. 1 & 2 Samuel
Ryan P. O’Dowd
152 SOUTHEASTERN THEOLOGICAL REVIEWJ. Stephen Yuille. Looking unto Jesus: The Christ-Centered Piety of Seventeenth-Century Baptists
G. Stephen Weaver Jr. Barry Webb. The Book of Judges
David T. Lamb Jonathan R. Wilson. God’s Good World: Reclaiming the Doctrine of Creation
Ken Keathley Jonathan Stökl. Prophecy in the Ancient Near East: A Philological and Sociological Comparison
Jason T. LeCureux Jackson Wu. Saving God’s Face: A Chinese Contextualization of Salvation through Honor and Shame
Wesley L. Handy Heath Thomas, Jeremy Evans, and Paul Copan, eds. Holy War in the Bible: Christian Morality and an Old Testament Problem.............. 258 Jason B. Hood W. Edward Glenny. Hosea: A Commentary based on Hosea in Codex Vaticanus
Joshua Moon Michael McClenahan. Jonathan Edwards and Justification by Faith... 263 Nathan A. Finn
Dominique Barthélemy. Studies in the Text of the Old Testament:
An Introduction to the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project
Tracy McKenzie STR 5/2 (Winter 2014) 153–56
Introduction to the Volume STR Editor
In 1841, a resident of the German village of Möttlingen approached her pastor and complained of struggles that she faced.
The struggles were spiritual, or so the villager said, and they terrorized her. The pastor, Johann Blumhardt, was initially put off by the woman, but over the course of two years invested in helping her through the struggles. Through the course of his work with this certain villager, Blumhardt became convinced the woman was wrestling with demonic affliction or possession. The climax of the pastor’s work with this woman came two years later, in 1843, when the struggles came to an end. In a moment of spiritual battle between the demonic power and the woman, Blumhardt purportedly heard the evil power cry out, “Jesus is the victor!” The woman was afflicted no more.
This moment profoundly shaped the theology and praxis of Blumhardt and his son, Christoph. Christoph grew up and joined the ranks of the pastorate as well. Together, they embraced a theology that understood that in that room that night, Jesus defeated the powers of Satan…he had literally reigned victorious in the life of that afflicted woman. After that moment, a revival broke out in 1844, which spread throughout the surrounding area. The cry “Jesus is the victor!” shaped what would become a fully-orbed ministry and teaching of the Blumhardts. Johann (Blumhardt the Elder) and Christoph (Blumhardt the Younger) would preach and teach a distinctive faith in the gospel of the Kingdom of God with this cry echoing in their hearts and minds. Christian T. Collins Winn describes it in this way: “That faith, as expressed especially by the elder Blumhardt and summed up in the phrase ‘Jesus is the victor!’ centered on the conviction that the kingdom of God, identified with the person of Jesus and the ministry of the Spirit, was a dynamic and living power that broke into history to set humanity free from spiritual and physical bondage.”1 1 Christian T. Collins Winn, “Introduction,” in Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, The Gospel of God’s Reign: Living for the Kingdom of God (BlumSOUTHEASTERN THEOLOGICAL REVIEW The influence of the Blumhardts extends beyond that revival.
Their thought and ministry impacted many and developed into the Bruderhof movement that survives today. They influenced the theology of Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Emil Brunner, each of whom find stimulus and provocation from the thought of the Blumhardts.2 Jürgen Moltmann draws upon their work to understand the place of humanity and the remainder of the created order in God’s kingdom.3 The Blumhardts, with their emphasis upon the work of the Spirit, have influenced Pentecostal and Charismatic theology in the present day as well. This is evidenced, in part, by the myriad of academic resources on the Blumhardts coming from those Christian circles and academic institutions affiliated with Pentecostal and Charismatic theology. 4 All in all, the shadow of the Blumhardts looms large.
Still, the rallying point of this theology, “Jesus is the victor!,” draws us to fundamental questions of the meaning of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the coming of the kingdom of God. Indeed, the theology of the Blumhardts can tend towards chiliasm the coming of the kingdom now through the signs and wonders of healing and demonic overthrow. Despite this, the elder Blumhardt especially understood (rightly) that the kingdom expressions in the present day were signs pointing to ultimate consummation of God’s kingdom in the future. But it is nonetheless tempting to see signs as ultimate, especially when progress is made in the world today. The Blumhardts (especially the younger Christoph) took the chiliasm further and their name is associated with the Christian Socialists in hardt Series; ed. Christian T. Collins Winn and Charles E. Moore; trans.
Peter Rutherford, Eileen Robertshaw and Miriam Mathis; Eugene, OR:
Cascade Books, 2014), p. xx.
2 See, for example, Blumhardt’s influence on Barth in David Paul Henry, The Early Development of the Hermeneutic of Karl Barth as Evidenced by His Appropriation of Rom. 5:12–21 (NABPRDissSer 5; Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1985), pp. 104–106; Christian T. Collins Winn, ‘Jesus is the Victor!’ The Significance of the Blumhardts for the Theology of Karl Barth (Princeton Theological Monograph Series 93; Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2009). For Blumhardt’s influence on Bonhoeffer, see Jürgen Moltmann, Sun of Righteousness, Arise!: God’s Future for Humanity and the Earth (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010), pp. 79–81. We should note that Blumhardt’s influence on Moltmann appears in this volume!
3 Moltmann, Sun of Righteousness.
4 See the Blumhardt Series published by Cascade, for instance.
INTRODUCTION TO THE VOLUMEGermany in the early twentieth century. The gospel, for the Blumhardts, centered upon the victory of Jesus over all powers through his death and resurrection. But this meant that his kingdom would not be—indeed could not be—equated with an escape from the world but rather a reorientation to it.
So, even though God brings both ‘signs of the kingdom’ as well as the kingdom itself, the Christian community was called to struggle alongside God for the coming God’s kingdom. This struggle manifested itself not only in seeking healing through prayer, fasting, and worship, but also in and through active service, works of mercy, and justice. All of these were tangible forms of witness to the coming kingdom, concrete enactments of the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Thy kingdom come!’5 The story of the Blumhardts needs to be heard again today, not only because of its interest for Church historians, but also (and significantly) because of the way that that story reminds us of how we understand the fundaments of the Christian faith: the gospel, the nature of the kingdom of God, and the role and nature of Christian mission in God’s world today.
This edition of STR is loosely themed around one of the fundaments identified above: the kingdom of God. In this volume, authors engage the nature of the kingdom from a variety of perspectives. In our first essay, Andrew Dearman explores the link between the genealogy of David at the close of the book of Ruth and its ties to the national storyline of Israel. His work is important, because it connects the Davidic line to God’s purposes in salvation.
As Dearman will conclude, the book of Ruth is “a part of a national storyline running from the ancestral accounts to the dynasty of David, with YHWH at work over generations to preserve a chosen family (the “House of Israel”).” God’s work with this house will then be found in the ministry of Jesus, the King (See Matt. 1:1, for example). The king of the Kingdom of God is the Davidic king of Israel. Dearman’s essay is followed by an interview with Dr. Jeremy Treat. STR invited Treat to contribute because of his most recent publication The Crucified King. His volume draws together atonement theology and the kingdom of God in provocative and fresh ways. Treat’s essay is followed by Joshua Chatraw’s article on the concepts of repentance and forgiveness in Jesus’ teaching. His work is important, because repentance is the doorway to the kingCollins Winn, “Introduction,” pp. 20–21.
156 SOUTHEASTERN THEOLOGICAL REVIEWdom of God (at least on Mark 1:14–15!). Chatraw’s real target here, is how N.T. Wright understands concepts within the larger framework of his hermeneutical programme. Chatraw assesses Wright’s approach hermeneutically and then provides a different take on Wright’s understanding of repentance and forgiveness according to Jesus in the Gospels. Chatraw’s article reminds us that good exegesis is a necessary and indispensible tool that helps us approach God’s Word so that we can hear its message of the kingdom well and in so doing, respond to God’s call rightly. Finally, this volume closes with Stephen Eccher’s wonderful analysis of the concept of the kingdom of God among early Swiss Anabaptists. Eccher’s work is a piece of historical theology, and it serves the volume very well.
It helps us understand why it is those in the Anabaptist circles of Christianity tend towards a non-territorial and (perhaps) even escapist and pietistic understanding of the kingdom of God. This is a theological move as well as a historical one.
Each of these essays, then, provides different approaches to the theme of the kingdom of God and is loosely oriented to it. It is my hope that this volume will be of interest to specialists and non specialists alike. And as we move in Advent towards Christmas, our praise today reverberates with cry of the Blumhardts: indeed “Jesus IS the victor!” Our prayer is that Christ’s kingdom may come on earth as it is in heaven.
STR 5/2 (Winter 2014) 157–70 David, the Book of Ruth, and Its Place in a Larger National Storyline J. Andrew Dearman Fuller Theological Seminary
IntroductionThe purpose of this essay is to offer supporting data for the proposal that the composer(s) of the book of Ruth drew upon and alludes to a larger national storyline to show that YHWH was at work among David’s tribe and clan to bring forth his dynastic rule in Israel. On the one hand, the reception history of the book is congenial to a connection with the biblical figure of David, given the generations of Jews and Christians who have taken cues from its concluding genealogical formulae (4:17b; 4:18–22) to see the preceding narrative in light of Davidic rule, past and future.1 On the other hand, modern, historical-critical scholarship has largely concentrated on other matters of the book’s interpretation. There seem to be two related reasons for this. The first is that for decades concern for genre analysis of the book has been broadly influenced by a comment of Goethe2 and the pioneering form-critical analysis of Gunkel. 3 Their comments are almost always noted by subsequent commentators and the book is commonly described by the
1 In terms of reception history and post-biblical Jewish interpretation,
see Jacob Neusner, The Mother of the Messiah in Judaism: The Book of Ruth (Valley Forge, PA: Trinity International Press, 1993). See also footnote 25 below. For early Christian appropriation of the book, see already Matt 1:3–6 and Luke 3:31–33.
2 “(D)as lieblichste kleine Ganze betrachtet werden kann, das uns episch und idyllisch überliefert worden ist,” in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Berliner Ausgabe. Poetische Werke (Band 3, Berlin: Aufbau Verlag,
1960) p. 165.
3 Hermann Gunkel, “Ruth,” Reden und Aufsätze (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1913) pp. 65–92 used the terms “idyll” and “novella” to describe the book. See further E. F. Campbell, Jr., “The Hebrew Short Story: Its Form, Style and Provenance,” pp. 83–101 in H. N. Bream, R. D.
Heim, and C. A. Moore, ed., A Light Unto My Path: Old Testament Studies in Honor of Jacob M. Myers (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1974).