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Introduction to the Old Testament as…
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Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture (edição: 1979)

de Brevard S. Childs (Autor)

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This Introduction attempts to offer a different model for the discipline from that currently represented. It seeks to describe the form and function of the Hebrew Bible in its role as sacred scripture for Israel. It argues the case that the biblical literature has not been correctly understood or interpreted because its role as religious literature has not been correctly assessed.… (mais)
Membro:Elinotrag
Título:Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture
Autores:Brevard S. Childs (Autor)
Informação:Fortress Press (1979), Edition: 1st American ed, 688 pages
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Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture de Brevard S. Childs (Author)

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Much of what Childs says in this groundbreaking 1979 book now seems commonplace. This is not to pass judgement on Childs, but to observe how far the working paradigm of biblical studies has changed since then. When this book was written the historical critical method was the dominant paradigm for most biblical scholars. Dominant since the latter half of the nineteenth century, historical criticism was less a method of biblical research (as, say, was form criticism) than a set of questions that biblical scholarship as a whole was trying to answer.

* What is the history of the development of the biblical text?

* What light does that shed on the history of Israelite and early Christian religion?

* How does this history allow us to interpret and explain the biblical text?

Out of such questions arose the documentary hypothesis of the Pentateuch (J-E-D-P), form criticism of the psalms and gospels, the searches for the “historical Jesus”, and the careful sifting of authorial and editorial layers in the biblical texts. The Jesus Seminar and their coloured gospels are the most prominent contemporary example.

Brevard Childs was trained as an Old Testament historical critic. Inspired by currents in literary criticism (New Criticism, Structuralism and Poststructuralism, etc), some biblical scholars were beginning to ask different questions of the biblical text. Childs was the first significant synthesis of these currents, and, as a mainstream biblical scholar, his suggested paradigm of canonical criticism provoked a storm of controversy.

Childs thesis was that, instead of reading the Old Testament to reconstruct its development, it should be read in its final form as found in the Jewish and Christian canon. Nowhere does Childs actually define “canon”, but he makes some insightful observations. One is that the formation of the canon was a dialectical process: as the community shapes the canon, so the canon shaped the community because it was an authoritative text. Another is to stress the theological and religious dimension in the canon’s formation. Nowhere does Childs uncouple the final canon with the historical nature of its development.

The real fruit of Child’s thesis comes when he deals with individual books and compares the historical critical approach to a book with a canon-oriented approach. He illustrates how tentative many historical critical reconstructions have been. Instead of seeking to explain away the text in order to reach the historical development that lies behind it, Childs makes holistic readings of biblical books in their final form.

For instance, in Isaiah he acknowledges that the book has gone through historical developments, and that the text of Isaiah 40-66 is clearly by other authors. Yet, the text obscures the identity and exact situation of those authors (in contrast to the specific situations of earlier chapters). Rather than uncoupling Isaiah 40-66 from the preceding chapters and seeking to reconstruct the prophets who lay behind it, Childs proposes that we should honour the canonical intention of the book and read it as a continuation of Isaiah of Jerusalem’s message. Fruitful exegetical insights follow.

The readings Childs advocates are now widespread among biblical scholars. Historical criticism is still practised, yet is clearly not the dominant paradigm. Many have gone beyond Childs and have uncoupled the canonical text from any historical moorings. This is an approach that Childs would reject. This book is not just a historical curiosity, but is still a useful orientation to approaching the Old Testament. ( )
  Iacobus | Feb 11, 2009 |
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This Introduction attempts to offer a different model for the discipline from that currently represented. It seeks to describe the form and function of the Hebrew Bible in its role as sacred scripture for Israel. It argues the case that the biblical literature has not been correctly understood or interpreted because its role as religious literature has not been correctly assessed.

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