Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thinking about the NT use of the OT after listening to Robert Thomas' "A Critique of Rom. 1:16-17 as Intertextual Echoes"

Robert Thomas presented a paper at ETS that touched again on the New Testament (NT) use of the Old Testament (OT).

Citing Richard B. Hays, Thomas argues for single-meaning in interpretation. Let me give you a snippet:. Hays writes concerning 2 Cor. 3:16:
"In light of the metaphorical union of Moses and Torah, we can perceive that this sentence is a symbolic nexus that gathers into itself multiple meanings: Moses turns to the Lord and the veil is removed from his face; Israel turns to Christ and the veil is removed from Moses/Torah; the reader of Paul's letter turns to the Spirit and the veil is removed from Moses the metaphor so that all these turnings can be seen with metaphorical simultaneity, in the wink of an eye. These are not merely 'different possible intepretations' of the same text; they are multiple senses carried by the one metaphor" (Hays, Echoes of Scripture, 124-25).
Thomas responds:
"In so many words, Hays has ignored a time-honored principle of grammatical-historical interpretation, that a single passage can have one meaning and one meaning only unless a context makes clear that an author intended more than one meaning."
Having thought about the NT use of the OT, I am leaning heavily to the importance of providing a resource on the subject to pastors and students in Latin America. I do believe that this topic could make for a very interesting and useful elective class for seminary students! It is a very important issue. Preach through any book of the NT and you have to wrestle with it.

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