19 August 2009

Covenant Theology or Apocalyptic?

One of the discussions these days in NT studies is whether Paul's fundamental hermeneutic in reading his Hebrew Bible and then making sense of Christ was salvation history/covenantal (stressing continuity) or apocalyptic (stressing discontinuity). N. T. Wright makes a most helpful comment on this in his little 2005 book on Paul.

We cannot expound Paul's covenant theology in such a way as to make it a smooth, steady progress of historical fulfillment; but nor can we propose a kind of 'apocalyptic' view in which nothing that happened before Jesus is of any value even as preparation. In the messianic events of Jesus' death and resurrection Paul believes both that the covenant promises were at last fulfilled and that this constituted a massive and dramatic irruption into the processes of world history unlike anything before or since. And at the heart of both parts of this tension stands the cross of the Messiah, at once the long-awaited fulfillment and the slap in the face for all human pride.

--Paul: In Fresh Perspective (Fortress 2005), 54

No comments: