Christopher R. Seitz. The Elder Testament: Canon, Theology, Trinity. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2018.
The Elder Testament serves as a theological introduction to the canonical unity of the Scriptures of Israel. Christopher Seitz demonstrates that, while an emphasis on theology and canonical form often sidesteps critical methodology, the canon itself provides essential theological commentary on textual and historical reconstruction.
Part One reflects on the Old Testament as literature inquiring about its implied reader. Seitz introduces the phrase “Elder Testament” to establish a wider conceptual lens for what is commonly called the “Old Testament” or the “Hebrew Bible,” so that the canon might be read to its fullest capacity.
Part Two provides an overview of the canon proper, from Torah to Prophets to Writings. Seitz here employs modern criticism to highlight the theological character of the Bible in its peculiar canonical shape. But he argues that the canon cannot be reduced to simply vicissitudes of history, politics, or economics. Instead, the integrated form of this Elder Testament speaks of metahistorical disclosures of the divine, correlating the theological identity of God a
cross time and beyond.
Part Three examines Proverbs 8, Genesis 1, and Psalms 2 and 110—texts that are notable for their prominence in early Christian exegesis. The Elder Testament measures the ontological pressure exerted by these texts, which led directly to the earliest expressions of Trinitarian reading in the Christian church, long before the appearance of a formally analogous Scripture, bearing the now-familiar name “New Testament.”
Canon to Theology to Trinity. This trilogy, as Seitz concludes, is not strictly a historical sequence. Rather, this trilogy is ontologically calibrated through time by the One God who is the selfsame subject matter of both the Elder and New Testaments. The canon makes the traditional theological work of the church possible without forcing a choice between a minimalist criticism or a detached, often moribund systematic theology. The canon achieves “the concord and harmony of the law and the prophets in the covenant delivered at the coming of the Lord” of which Clement of Alexandria so eloquently spoke.
Christopher R. Seitz (Ph.D. Yale) is Senior Research Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto.
Ephraim Radner. Chasing the Shadow–the World and Its Times: An Introduction to Christian Natural Theology, Volume 2. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2018.
Christian natural theology is founded on the proper coordination of Scripture and the created world, what was once called “The Two Books” of God. Carrying forward the work he began in The World in the Shadow of God, Radner here reflects on the way that Scripture’s creative relationship with temporal experience—ordering history rather than being ordered by history—opens up the natural world to its essential Scriptural meaning. Like the earlier volume, poetic description is offered as a primary vehicle for doing natural theology, which is shown to proceed according to the figural shape of the Bible’s own description of the world.
Ephraim Radner is Professor of Historical Theology, Wycliffe College Toronto. An Anglican priest, he has authored books on ecclesiology, hermeneutics, and theological anthropology.
Annette Brownlee. Preaching Jesus Christ Today: Six Questions for Moving from Scripture to Sermon. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2018.
This book approaches preaching as a theological practice and a spiritual discipline in a way that is engaging, straightforward, and highly usable for busy preachers. Bringing to bear almost three decades of practical experience in the pulpit and the classroom, Annette Brownlee explores six questions to help preachers listen to Scripture, move from text to interpretation for weekly sermon preparation, and understand the theological significance of the sermon. Each chapter explains one of the Six Questions of Sermon Preparation, provides numerous examples and illustrations, and contains theological reflections. The final chapter includes sample sermons, which put the Six Question method into practice.
Annette Brownlee is chaplain, professor of pastoral theology, and director of field education at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto.