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This chapter concludes the argument of the book with a final comparison to Alvin Plantinga's Reformed Epistemology; challenges to theologians, philosophers, and biblical scholars; and suggests further avenues for research.
I propose that the Hebraic philosophical style consists of modes of raising philosophical problems, often in contraposition to the wisdom of Israel’s neighbors, and asking the reader to think through the doxastic commitments required by them. As with discerning a "Socratic method" in the disparate texts depicting Socrates , a particular set of dispositions and commitments is required to see this philosophical style in the Christian Scriptures. This is not a "trait list" approach, but a collection of traits that exhibit an organic unity. The Hebraic philosophical style features this cluster of attributes: pixelated, networked, ritualist, transdemographic, mysterionist, and creationist.
The scholarly conclusions regarding Paul’s relationship with Hellenistic philosophy center around the parallels between Paul and contemporary philosophers (e.g., Seneca or Epictetus) or philosophies (e.g., Stoicism, Middle Platonism, Epicureanism, etc.), each with varying theses on Paul’s uncritical consumption of such philosophies or his savvy redeployment of Hellenism. Aside from encyclopedic convictions that often fund such comparisons, differences between Paul and Hellenism are discussed less often. What if his dispositions and diatribes could be related to his view of the prophetic office undergirding Hebraic philosophy as easily as they could to the rhetoric of the cynic or stoic? This chapter will suggest that Paul’s style of philosophy is largely Hebraic. However, because Paul’s epistles are audience-centric in their formation, so, too, the style is often garbed in Hellenistic philosophy. Nevertheless, the Hebraic style of philosophy is what drives his effort.
If the scientific epistemology parallels Hebraic epistemology in any significant way, then the conceptual paradigms of truth and the mechanics of justification could – or, perhaps, should – follow suit. The Hebraic model of "truth" that emerges differs at key points from some, but not all, of our folk notions of truth today. Specifically, the true/false binary that funds current and popular models of justification appears to be too rigid a model for the Hebraic style. I examine a Hebraic notion of truth and justification in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Although I will put both truth and the logic of justification in conversation with contemporary ideas, I do so only to show both the kinship we share with biblical notions, and the critique offered from the biblical texts.
This chapter explores the idea that a discernible and Hebraic epistemological process is present, relevant, and persistent across the Christian Scriptures. Moreover, when looking for present-day analogs for biblical epistemology, the scientific enterprise proposed by Michael Polanyi, Marjorie Grene, Thomas Kuhn, et al. best fits the bill.
The Egyptian and Mesopotamian speculative worlds are explored through their extant literature and assessed as scholarship, speculation, or philosophy. Though metaphysically and epistemologically complex, the lack of a speculative tradition with prescribed philosophy helps to explain why Assyriologists and Egyptologists often put Israel in league with the Greeks rather than the ANE world.
The NT displays the greatest intellectual retrieval of Hebraic thought and literature in antiquity. In this chapter, I explore the idea that the New Testament authors largely favor the Hebraic philosophical style and strategically engage the styles of Jewish-Hellenism and Roman philosophy. Any consideration of the philosophical style of the NT authors must reckon with the Hellenistic styles du jour. Hellenism’s philosophies developed into sophisticated Roman rhetorical forms in the first century, forms in which some of the NT authors might have been steeped. In this chapter, I consider which aspects of Hebraic and Hellenistic philosophical styles the gospel authors employ and possible motivations behind their employments.
When assessing epistemic justification in the biblical narratives, we must consider how much the author reveals about justification in the text itself, and, only then, what types of justification appear to be employed by the characters. There are at least three possible type-scenes used across these texts to justify a conclusion: tests, ouija, and witnesses.In this chapter, I review the twentieth-century discussions of logical necessity and justification and how the biblical authors employ means of justification similar, but not identical, to scientific inquiry.
The biblical tradition is an intellectual tradition. Seeking to understand the biblical texts is an intellectual enterprise of its own. But that is not the one task here. The texts and the communities that practiced their directives handed down an intellectually rigorous tradition uniquely capable of shaping an entire people into a shrewd and discerning lot. And so, it was passed down as texts, rituals, and community – philosophy as a way of being a people.
Using the question – Can humans naturally infer a creator from created things? – I explore examples of Hellenistic Jewish thinking that hybridizes the Hebraic philosophical style with the Hellenist. Wisdom of Solomon and Philo are compared to Paul's treatmetn of this question in Athens (Acts 17; Rom 1–2). Paul takes a distinctively Hebraic approach while Wisdom and Philo show signs of significant hybridity.