Page 7, 2nd March 1984

2nd March 1984
Page 7
Page 7, 2nd March 1984 — Biblical books by Graham Jenkins.
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Biblical books by Graham Jenkins.

The cynicism

of old Job

Job and Jonah: Questioning the Hidden God by Bruce Vawter CM (Fowler Wright, £4.20).

The Living Utterances of God: The New Testament Exegesis of the Old by Anthony Tyrrell Hanson (Darton Longman and Todd, £4.95).

CHRIST LANITY seems to be divided on the value of the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible). Either a sheer fundamentalist outlook reflected in their own commentaries, generally with a bias to find texts to support their own particular streams of thought, or. the other Christians who accept the Old Testament as a guide to life. using a critical eye to fathom the true biblical message for mankind.

Fr Vawter has interpreted Job and Jonah in an unusual way. No pessism. no sickly balm. but a healthy regard for God's purpose. As he sees it. neither Job nor Jonah offer full answers, but they do pose questions for us to think about. and perhaps we will find that God is not hidden as is commonly supposed.

The author brings out the , humour and cynicism, or maybe it should be sarcasm. of these two great biblical characters.

Professor Hanson points out the term, New Testament. originated in the second century after Christ. and the writers thereof did not know the term. Old Testament, but always referred to those books as "the scriptures**.

This is a prelude to his conviction that we can not understand the thought of the writers of the New Testament unless we realise their interpretation of these same scriptures. This requires the 'examination of contemporary Jewish methods of handling scripture.

The author explains Jewish traditions of exegesis and then proceeds to what he describes as the New Testament inheritance beginning with the interpretation of scripture by Our Lord himself, followed by Paul's evaluation of scripture texts. The rest of the New Testament is similarly treated.

The average reader will sit up voth surprise to come across phrases. which though familiar. are disassociated with "the scriptures" (the Old Testament).

The last chapters of the book are most valuable, where having seen what use the New Testament writers made of the scriptures we now have to apply their reasoning to our view.

Hermeneutics-plus; the understanding of the New Testament writers and our understanding of their interpretation.

Dr Hanson terminates with the fact that God is revealed in the course of salvation history in both the Old and the New Testaments. but he does not

accept the theory that everything in the Old Testament finds its fulfillment in the New. but only certain vitally important elements.




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