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Chapter 6 outlines a political theology of monotheism using Assmann’s concepts of the Mosaic distinction, supplemented by other scholars like Mark S. Smith, Robert Gnuse, Rainer Albertz, et al. We dwell closely here on Israel’s political conditions of sovereignty, subjugation, and exile that all help illuminate – as we saw in Gans’ critique – what historical peculiarities constitute the Hebrew discovery of monotheism. I explore how monotheism could be composed of polytheistic building blocks – first in state-based religion and political symbols, like monolatry and despotic vassal treaties – but transform among an exiled people into a division of God from political representation.
Too little scholarly attention has been paid to the paradox that those from the southern kingdom of Judah wrote, collected, and edited a foundational narrative not of Judah but of Israel, the ethnonym more closely associated with the northern kingdom even within the biblical narratives. This chapter argues that, rather than staking their claim to be the sole heirs to the heritage of the covenant with YHWH, the Judahite biblical editors constructed a biblical narrative that emphasizes that Judah is only one portion of a larger Israel that is presently—from the perspective of the editors and their implied audience—incomplete and awaiting reunion and restoration. By constructing an Israel of the past and rhetorically situating the reader in exile, the editors of the Primary History (Genesis–2 Kings) and 1–2 Chronicles establish a perspective of restoration eschatology in which an idealized biblical Israel (of course under the leadership of Judah) does not presently exist, having lost its status due to covenantal disobedience and disunity, but remains a social and theological aspiration.
This chapter traces foundations for the organizing framework of the modern nation-state to post-Conquest England. Feudalism was essential, as institutionalized in the royal prerogative, administrative kingship, and covenantal social bonds. I focus on the historical factors that made England distinctive, in this period, both in the intensity of its feudal structures and in the strength of royal, prerogative powers. I argue that a unique combination of Anglo-Saxon legal legacies with the Norman Conquest's imposition of powerful rulership facilitated the coalescence of a regime involving new levels of social power. Roman law, canon law, and English common law each played vital roles in this coalescence, with new levels of economic growth fueled by new types of legal privileges. Development of new technologies, for example the windmill, was one result.
This chapter examines Josephus' views of exile and eschatology, arguing that although he is careful in how he communicates his views in this area, Josephus continued to hold to a traditional view of exile and restoration, repeatedly indicating that Rome's dominance would be temporary and that a restored Israel will eventually rule the world. The chapter argues that Josephus' restoration eschatology informs his use of the term "Israel," as he distinguishes between the Jews under Roman rule and the whole of Israel, particularly the ten tribes, who remain beyond the Euphrates and are now a "boundless multitude" (Antiq. 11.133) simply awaiting the time when God initiates the promised restoration.
In addition to treating the critical issues that are peculiar to Luke-Acts—for example, the birth narrative, the distinctive parables, and the relationship between Lukan and Pauline traditions—this chapter discusses Luke's reconfiguration of Israel's history.
Central to current Pauline scholarship is the desire to do right by Paul’s Jewish heritage and the first-century Judaism that formed him. To do right by Judaism historically is, however, not the same as doing right by Israel theologically. Exegetes continue to think of Israel’s existence as subvenient to the wellbeing of the nations. This chapter argues that the narrative substructures assumed in contemporary approaches form the building blocks of a different reading. This account should be centered on the nonfunctional nature of God’s relationship with Israel as witnessed by the Torah, the prophets, and Paul. It is a relationship motivated by divine love for this people. Read through the lens of the incarnational vision of Colossians and Ephesians, it is a relationship born of God’s desire to give Godself in incarnation. If Christ is the embodiment of the first divine intention vis-à-vis all that is not God; and if human embodiment is essentially particular, located in a particular history, culture, tribe, and family, Israel is the very particularity created to receive God’s presence. In Christ, God’s first decision is to be a God for others; those others are Abraham’s family.
This chapter contrasts the traditional Protestant understanding of justification with two rival ways in which contemporary exegetes conceive of the anatomy of God’s justifying act: the salvation-historical proposal of N. T. Wright and the apocalyptic reading of Douglas A. Campbell. Like the reformers, N. T. Wright understands justification as a forensic event. Unlike them, Wright thinks about justification primarily in ecclesiological and eschatological categories. Justification is to be declared a member of the eschatological covenant family. Douglas A. Campbell thinks of justification as a saving rather than a juridical account. To be justified is to be set free and delivered. The chapter argues that, on close analysis, Wright is not as far from Campbell’s position as is usually thought - not least by Wright himself. Wright’s description of what actually happens in justification goes far beyond a juridical declaration. On both the salvation-historical and the apocalyptic account, justification is centered on resurrection and thereby the result of an eschatological divine intervention.
Tucked away at the end of the Minor Prophets, the Books of Haggai and Zechariah offer messages of challenge and hope to residents of the small district of Yehud in the Persian Empire in the generations after the return from Babylonian exile. In this volume, Robert Foster focuses on the distinct theological message of each book. The Book of Haggai uses Israel's foundational event - God's salvation of Israel from Egypt - to exhort the people to finish building the Second Temple. The Book of Zechariah argues that the hopes the people had in the prophet Zechariah's days did not come true because the people failed to keep God's long-standing demand for justice, though hope still lies in the future because of God's character. Each chapter in this book closes with a substantive reflection of the ethics of the major sections of the Books of Haggai and Zechariah and their implications for contemporary readers.
Puritan theology was distinctly literary. Defined in relation to the Bible and asserting a scriptural standard for faith and religious practice, it was firmly anchored in reading and interpretation. Conversely, puritan theology shaped puritan literature. Puritans considered the Bible as they read it and heard it taught, and they interpreted and wrote about their own experiences in light of the Bible and other textual models of religious experience. Puritan texts were shaped by theology, both because theories of reading and writing were central to puritan faith and because puritan faith was central to the lives and experiences of many puritan writers. Puritan writers – both ministers and laypeople – addressed the complexities of their beliefs and their religious experience in various genres, including theology manuals, sermons, spiritual autobiographies and conversion narratives, and poetry. Puritan writers also addressed theoretical questions about what kinds of textual expression were most appropriate and most spiritually efficacious for their communities. As ministers, political leaders, and laypeople wrestled with the challenges of their faith and its consequences for individuals and communities, they created a varied body of illuminating and moving texts that reveal the rich complexity of puritan belief and puritan literary practice.
This chapter examines passages in Hebrews where the Son is portrayed as the speaker of Scripture quotations (Heb 2:10–18; 10:1–10). In Hebrews 2, the Son, perhaps responding the Father in Hebrews 1, pledges to praise God among his human siblings. He likewise expresses his own faith in the Father. In Hebrews 10, the Son presents himself as a willing offering who has entered the world to do the Father’s will. In each case, Jesus speaks to the Father and demonstrates his status as an exemplary representative among humanity.
Chapter 3 explores divine responses to the ways God responds to the ruptures wrought by violence in the physical world, especially as presented in Genesis 8-9. In Gen 8:22, God assures humanity that he would uphold the cycles of creation in the face of human corruption, such that it would not sustain the impact of violence as it did before the flood. Psalm 74 portrays an analogous world in which God’s ongoing power over creation subdues the chaotic ruin that violence unleashes in the world. I also suggest that God’s promise to never again curse the land reverses the land curse arising from Cain’s act of violence (4:12). This chapter also addresses the ‘laws’ of Gen 9:1-6. Some understand Gen 9:1-6 to address humanity’s bloodlust for violence. God tolerates a modicum of violence against animals, but restrains it. I suggest by contrast that the ‘fear and dread’ reflects the fractured relationship between humans and animals. Also, the so-called ‘laws’ only point toward the need for law, and in the world of the story, indicate only what God himself will do. Moreover, the text restricts humanity’s power over the life(blood) of animals. Finally, the creation covenant (9:7-18) reflects ways that God restricts the use of divine violence in the post-flood world. This creation covenant anticipates God’s later covenants with Israel and the land.
Biblical and non-Biblical prophecy from the ancient Near East, in all its manifestations, is an equivalent form of divination translated through human words and gestures. Prophets do not need to be members of a guild of religious practitioners or operate within a cultic context based on learned skills. They are measured by the perceived veracity of their message and their strict adherence to the god they serve. The recording of these messages in letters or collected sayings becomes the basis for what we term “prophetic literature,” a diverse body of literary forms that at its heart demonstrates to devotees the active interest of the god(s) in human activities and endeavors. To comprehend the basic characteristics of prophetic literature in the Hebrew Bible, this study examines the social and cultural setting contributing to its development as well as the prophetic traditions that are found in documents from ancient Mesopotamia.
This chapter continues the exploration of the development of the doctrine of justification during the Middle Ages, focussing on the question of how sinners are able to appropriate justification. The chapter opens by considering the nature of the human free will (liberum arbitrium), a question discussed by Augustine, but which was found to require further conceptual development in the light of ambiguities and lack of precision at certain points. One of the questions regularly raised for discussion in the early medieval period concerned whether some form of predisposition for justification was required, and how this was to be correlated with the compromised capacities of fallen humanity. This chapter considers the debates within medieval theology over the the necessity and nature of the proper disposition for justification, which often centred on the question of the relation of human and divine contributions to the process of justification. Finally, the chapter considers the origins and application of the medieval theological axiom facienti quod in se est Deus non denegat gratiam (‘God does not deny grace to anyone who does their best’).
John Winthrop, the most important founder of Puritan Massachusetts, organized much of his legal and political thought around the concept of covenant. In constitutional terms, this meant that while all authority comes from God it must be grounded in mutual consent to be legitimate. For Congregationalists like Winthrop, this applied to church as well as state, and the decentralized nature of congregational ecclesiology required active political intervention. In matters of the law, Winthrop combined traditional English institutions and procedures with covenantal ideals. He opposed the codification of Massachusetts’ laws, favoring customary or common laws, because he feared that, without discretion on the part of judges, the punishments handed out would lack equity and violate the covenantal ideal of charity. This charitable and communitarian ethos was exemplified in his irenic statesmanship and relatively lenient treatment of dissent among his fellow covenanting Congregationalists.
Financial incentives may aid in conservation if they broaden the numbers and types of landowners who engage in protection and conservation management on private land. We examined the hypotheses that financial incentives (1) encourage participation of people with lower autonomous motivation towards conservation and lower self-transcendence (i.e. benevolence and universalism) values compared to participants in similar programmes without such incentives; (2) enable more on-ground works and activities; and (3) enhance feelings of competence and autonomy with respect to conservation actions. We surveyed 193 landowners in private land conservation programmes in Tasmania, only some of whom had received financial incentives. All of these landowners had high self-transcendence values, and autonomous motivation towards the environment. Owners of large properties and participants with higher self-enhancement values, lower self-transcendence values and lower autonomous motivation towards the environment were slightly more likely to engage in incentive programmes. However, people who received funding did not report more conservation actions than people in programmes without incentives. Owners of larger properties receiving incentives reported fewer conservation actions. Thus financial incentives probably recruited a few into nature conservation who may not have otherwise engaged, but did not result in a more intensive level of conservation management. Our results caution against the blanket-use of incentives amongst landowners who may already have values and motivations consistent with environmental action, and point to the need for further research on the socio-psychological characteristics of landowners, to examine the contextual factors that influence the effects of conservation payments.
I argue that the authors of the December 2015 Vatican statement “The Gifts and the Calling of God Are Irrevocable” both present the Jewish Old Covenant as a good covenant (rejecting traditional Christian supersessionism) and nonetheless view Jews’ conversion to the better Christian New Covenant as desirable. I challenge the assumption that post–Nostra Aetate positive views of the Jewish covenant, including the claim that Jews are already “saved,” preclude a desire for Jews to convert to Christianity. On the contrary, I show that the authors’ claim that the New Covenant is the “fulfillment” of the Old Covenant provides a motive for contemporary Christians to emulate the efforts made by those early followers of Jesus who shared the gospel with their fellow Jews. To support my argument, I first carefully study the writings of Cardinal Walter Kasper. The authors of Gifts draw almost entirely on Kasper's nuanced and complex views regarding the desirability of Jewish conversion to Christianity, adopting even his approach to and format for presenting this controversial claim.
The Working Party has developed some practical hints and tips for those developing integrated risk management (IRM) plans for UK defined benefit pension schemes in the context of the requirements of the Pensions Regulator. Four case studies are presented to illustrate its conclusions, which are encapsulated in the ten commandments for effective IRM. IRM is the consideration of investment, funding and covenant issues, and how these interact. Its purpose should be to aid decision making and so should have a clear outcome in mind. It should be a continuous process and should form part of everyday trustee governance – it is not simply a one-off exercise. Whilst most Trustees and advisors consider funding issues when setting their investment strategy and vice versa, fewer fully integrate covenant into their decision-making process. However, covenant underpins all risk taken in a pension scheme and so needs to form a regular part of trustee discussions and analysis by advisors.
Now that more than five decades have passed since Nostra Aetate initiated a new relationship between Jews and Catholics, it has become possible to identify certain basic principles—predicated on an appreciation of ongoing Jewish covenantal life—that are emerging in Catholic ecclesial statements. Such a “theology of shalom” seeks “right relationship” with the Jewish people and “wholeness” in terms of the church's own self-understanding. The article proposes three fundamental axioms. A theology of shalom (1) sees Jews and Christians as co-covenanting companions; (2) respects and reckons with Jewish self-understanding; and (3) focuses on final fulfillment in the future. It elaborates three subpoints for each principle to elucidate several implications and questions. The article concludes with the suggestion that the maturing Catholic-Jewish relationship may be moving into one of mutuality in which both communities can study and learn from their respective covenantal ways of walking with God.
This article offers a new reading of Mozi’s chapter “Ming gui” 明鬼, conventionally considered as a treatise explaining Mohist ideas about ghosts and spirits, by shifting the focus from the ghosts (gui 鬼) to the concept of ming 明, interpreted as “sagely illumination.” The “Ming gui” chapter does not discuss ghosts in general, but instead a specific group of “punitive ghosts” who mete out punishments and rewards; it also shows that ming gui was not a group of ghosts particular to Mozi or Mohism alone, but was widespread in the beliefs and practices of the period. The execution of justice, which is the crucial concern of the treatise, depends on ming—the principle of justice and Heaven’s agency in human life—and not on ghosts. Ming also is an indispensable component of sagehood, as it is the illuminated sage ruler (ming jun 明君) who, on behalf of Heaven, ultimately metes out just punishments and rewards.