Monday, May 15, 2017

CWG (Chapter 3)

Chapter 3: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament

Boyd believes that the church has always used (albeit inconsistently) a christocentric hermeneutic. In other words, Christians read the Old Testament through the lens of Christ. Specifically, Jesus is our key we use to best understanding the Old Testament Scriptures. The 'in-light-of-Christ' meaning should be even more central to the Christian understanding of Old Testament passages as the 'original' meaning would have been.

This is how the New Testament authors read and interpreted the Old Testament. They felt free to find Jesus there in creative and flexible ways (some that aren't convincing to most modern people). The early church continued this way of reading the Old Testament through 'typological' and 'allegorical' readings. In fact, the Old Testament was considered 'Christian' Scripture only insofar as it was read christologically. Though set aside at the time of Constantine, the christological hermeneutic came back at the time of the Reformation (Luther, Calvin), but especially with the radical reformers (Anabaptist). More recently, the work of Barth has reignited the christological reading of Scripture.

But while this (Christian) way of reading the Old Testament has experienced a resurgence, Boyd isn't impressed withe the results. Though he whole-heartedly agrees that this is the right way for Christians to read Scripture, he believes the lens hasn't been used consistently. To remedy this, Boyd believes we need a more focused lens. The cross of Christ, specifically, needs to be at the center of our Old Testament reading. Making that point will round out part 1 of Boyd's work over the span of 3 chapters.

I agree that a christological reading of Scripture is the Christian way to read Scripture (seems like a no-brainer). Boyd did a good job of dealing with the (sometimes uncomfortable, from our perspective) way the NT authors found Christ in the Old Testament. I also agreed with Boyd that the radical reformers were on the right path in their views of Scripture and how to read it.

I may be less inclined, than Boyd, to dismiss the NT authors' specific readings as lacking modern day plausibility (I'd be more inclined to say our plausibility structures are broken). And, I'll admit, I'm a bit skeptical that the cross, specifically, should be made the epicenter of our hermeneutic. It seems to me our task is to read Christ well (and in a well-rounded way) rather than to focus on 1 aspect or event in his life. I'd suggest that the solution to misreading Jesus is not a more narrow reading, but a better reading. But I'm willing to hear Boyd's argument over the next 3 chapters.

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