How will theological interpretation tackle Joshua?

One of the courses that I am scheduled to teach is called Christian Scriptures.  This approach is, I think, more profitable than “Bible Survey.”  Bible surveys are basically interested in teaching about what Scripture contains, while a consciously theological foundations course for the Bible tackles the questions: what does it mean to read the Bible as holy Scripture?  How does it inform and ground faith?  How does it all work together to bring believers into communion with God?  While, in the past, I have taught survey-like courses, this will be the first time I teach a theological approach to the content, origins, message(s), and purposes of the Bible.  Also, I am a New Testament scholar (wannabe) by trade, and I will need to do some serious catch-up with the OT texts, theology, and the like.

I happened to notice that Eerdmans is going to release, very soon, another of their Two Horizons commentaries – this time on Joshua – fanscinating!  Even in the book description, the authors (Gordon McConville and Stephen Williams) acknowledge the ethical challenge of what appears to be the divine sanctioning of genocide.  I think this series is well-suited to address these kinds of issues and I look forward to learning from their perspective.

On a very similar note, one of my fellow students (now graduated) from Durham, Douglas Earl, studied the topic: “Reading Joshua as Christian Scripture” with none other than Walter Moberly.  His thesis is being published, under the same name, with Eisenbrauns in their Journal of Theological Interpretation Supplement Series.  No fear, this new series will not cause you to break the bank.  Earl’s volume will retail at just $37.95. 

If I end up picking up either or both of these, you can be sure I will give my thoughts.

Two New Articles of Mine to Look Out For…

I am happy to report that I have two articles coming out in the near future:

‘ “Vessel” in 1 Thessalonians 4:4 and the Epistle of Jeremiah: The Strategy of a Pauline Metaphor in Light of the Apostle’s Jewish Background, Teaching, and Theology’ Irish Biblical Studies 27.4 December 2009: 138-155.

NB: In this article, I argue that Paul’s use of skeuos has some affinity with the symbolic use of it in the Epistle of Jeremiah where the term can be used to critique an idol which is just an empty “vessel” with no value to the one who made or owns it.  So also, Paul refers to the bodies of his converts as “vessels” like idols if they let their passions get the best of them.  I wrote this about three years ago, so I can see that my writing style is much more coherent and cleaner now.  Nevertheless, I think the evidence I offer is very compelling, but you be the judge!

I am more excited about the second article, coming in 2010:

“To Whom Was Christ a Slave?  Double Agency and the Specters of Sin and Death in Philippians” Horizions in Biblical Theology Spring 2010: pp. TBA.

Here I offer an apocalyptic reading of the Philippian Christ-hymn; essentially I resurrect Kaesemann’s view, but without a gnostic redeemer.  I argue that Christ came into the form of humanity to become a slave of Sin and Death.  But like “double agents” of espionage fame, Christ is really “working” for God, and his ultimate goal is to undo the operation and power of these specters (Sin and Death) from the inside.  Once Paul has developed this argument, he is able to recast several other characters in this way, starting with himself – the Roman prisoner who is spreading the Gospel in chains; Epaphroditus who almost died, but works on behalf of God.

The first article should be in (UK) libraries in a month or two, I imagine.  I will send a notice when the HBT article is online.