Reading by the Light of Christ

Bloemaert_Emmaus

 

Let us suppose that you have heard the story of Jesus, in a fairly bare form, nothing like as complete as any of the gospels – just a general outline. And then let us suppose that the only Scriptures you have access to are the Old Testament. You have never seen a New Testament and do not have its phrases in your mind. And then let us suppose that you sit down to read the Old Testament for the purpose of finding Christ within its pages. How far do you think you’d get? Something like this was the task that confronted the primitive Church and the Apostles. Or at least we can posit such a thing.

So, we may ask, how do you get from such a situation to the full-blown midrash that is the New Testament? By that, I mean, a writing whose use of the Old Testament is presupposed at every turn, but nowhere follows a truly rational, discursive path through those writings. Mind you, the writings that comprise the Old Testament are little help, in and of themselves. They are a disparate collection of primal stories, histories, and poetry ranging over a period in excess of a 1,000 years, spanning a number of cultures.

Anyone who today suggests that we should read the Scriptures in a “rational” manner is ignoring almost the entire process that is actually at work when a Christian reads the Old Testament. For example, nowhere in the Old Testament is there an overall scope of the expectations concerning a coming Messiah. There is no narrative within the Old Testament of what a Messiah will do or accomplish.

The early Christian reading of the Old Testament (of which the New Testament is our prime example) is, in fact, a strange assemblage of frequently unrelated verses and passages whose Christian usage is often quite independent of their contextual meaning.

Contemporary Christians never come to the Old Testament in the manner of the writers of the New. We cannot approach many of the passages in Isaiah, for example, without hearing the strains of Handel’s Messiah. We are the heirs of 2,000 years of Christian appropriation of the Old Testament. We often fail to recognize how remarkable our usage is.

I do not write any of this to suggest a problem with how the New Testament handles the Old. I accept the Christian interpretation of the Old Testament as a foundational part of the faith. It is affirmed in the Creed: “According to the Scriptures.”

Think for a minute about that phrase. It is stated, “…who on the third day rose again from the dead in accordance with the Scriptures…” (1 Cor. 15:4). To what Scripture is St. Paul alluding when he says “on the third day?” I should quickly add that St. Paul is here quoting what he calls a “tradition.” It is clearly a primitive form of what would be called the Apostles’ Creed. But what Scripture?

The only place in the Old Testament that hints at such a thing is the three days of Jonah in the belly of the whale. But that reference is in no way obvious. It could indeed have been treated as incidental to the story. But we hear Christ in the gospels referencing the “sign of Jonah” and predicting His three-day burial and resurrection. And this is my point. The New Testament only reads the Old in a Christian manner, because that manner was handed down to the Apostles by Christ Himself.

Another example is Christ as the Paschal Lamb. St. Paul says, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us,” but there is nothing within the Passover story as it stands in the Old Testament that suggests that it is a type of the Messiah’s deliverance of God’s people. The same can be said of the Messiah as a sacrifice. Indeed, the primary focus of what little Old Testament interest there is in a coming Messiah seems to be primarily directed towards a political manifestation. That was precisely the character of the other “false Messiahs” who came and went near the time of Christ.

But the Christian reading of the Old Testament is something new on the scene of Judaism. In a very short order (cf. 1 Cor. 15 and the “Creed” embedded there), there is a clear hermeneutic of the Old Testament that bears all of the outlines that direct the thoughts found within the New Testament writings. And those thoughts shaped the narratives of the gospels and everything else that came afterward.

I believe that it is historically absurd to suggest that such a narrative has any source other than Christ Himself (as the gospels themselves suggest). How the Church reads the Old Testament shows no particular signs of evolution or development. Instead, it seems to burst forth in full bloom. The “in accordance with the Scriptures” is itself one of the proofs of the resurrection.

But that reading of the Scriptures was not arrived at by a rational, systematic approach. It was revelatory, apocalyptic, and sudden. And this is very much what the gospels themselves say. When Christ appears to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus who are clearly troubled and discussing the events and rumors of the resurrection, He says:

“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

This is the origin of the Paschal narrative, the peculiar way of reading the Old Testament that marks the Christian faith.

But this is where I want to press a further point. How is it that those who demand a rational/literal approach to the Scriptures fail to see its incongruity? The Christian faith reads the Scriptures (OT) under the direction of a Tradition that was given by Christ. And it can only read in that manner if it reads faithfully. By the same token, the work of the historical critics is an interesting artifact of our modern times, but it has nothing to say to a Christian hermeneutic that has always read the Scriptures in accordance with the resurrection and not in accordance with history. Whatever the origins and intentions of that collection of writings (the Old Testament) may have been, they are now and forever exalted into the Scriptures of the New by the resurrection.

 

 

33 comments:

  1. The literalists fail to see the incongruity because they essentially ignore it or create “rational” explanations that rest on the premise that the scriptures are “literal”. All evidence to the contrary is rejected because it does not fit their premise.

    They have fallen into the Cartesian black hole that sees nothing beyond their own thoughts and the thoughts with which the agree a priori

  2. Thank you Fr Stephen. I recently had a bit of a “dialogue” (via FB!) with a Jewish NT scholar. It was discussing Christ’s prohibition on divorce. I tried to point out the perspective that I see there, consistent with Christ’s teachings, of inclusion and loving relationship, esp concerned for community. I think this fits with the position of women roughly speaking, and Jesus’ direction of his speech to the men. But her point of view was of Christ as a law-giver, one who was much tougher than the prevailing code. (Never mind that women couldn’t initiate divorce, sigh.) The early church, I believe in this same perspective of marriage breakdown as spiritual tragedy, did in fact expand grounds for divorce (besides sexual immorality) to include types of abuse such as threat to a life. And of course now we have different perspectives on abuse, but that remains spiritual tragedy. But how to convey the difference in perspective? Unfortunately many Christians don’t seem to want to see it

    (I do think this is relevant to what you are saying, I hope you do too). I once compared it to learning math. It’s one thing to teach elementary principles of mathematics if that is all one knows, but another to do so if we know there is also calculus or topology or applications to other fields such as economics or physics, etc. I see Christ as the expansion that has to change our view on the foundation and what it can do and is for. But anyway …

  3. Father Bless, This post truly focuses us in the proper way to read the OT. Since I leaned to read this way prompted by reading the book “Christ in the Psalms” by Fr Patrick Henry Reardon I am beginning to see exactly what you mean. As I chanted the Psalms in prayer in their Kathismas, I began to see numerous references to Christ, His Incarnational Mission and His Passion that are contained in the Psalms.
    The next step was to listen to the Troparions, Hymns and Canons in worship the same way. As I was educated in the Scholastic mindset in Seminary (a Protestant Wesleyan one) I had to learn to think entirely differently to convert. This way of reading the OT that you speak of has been the real key for me to change my perspective of knowledge from the way I was taught to the Orthodox way of understanding. It has been a great help to me in conversion (I have miles to go before I sleep) and this post brought all of that together for me. Thank you.

  4. Deacon Nicholas,
    And what I may press further in a follow-up article, is that this manner of reading is itself one of the key practices of going beyond or within the contradiction that I mentioned recently.

  5. Long before I became Orthodox when I was a freshman at an Evangelical college, I was reading Proverbs 8, and I couldn’t help notice that the description of wisdom there sounded an awful lot like a description of Christ. I said as much to my roommate who was brought up in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church–I said it sounded like Jesus speaking about Himself–and she poo-pooed my interpretation, confidently assuring me the passage was about godly “wisdom,” not about Jesus. 🙂

  6. Father Bless,
    I will be all ears waiting for it….or is it all eyes in this case?

  7. Fr Stephen – You will LOVE this.

    In my seminary days I decided to do a paper on the Third Day Resurrection in the OT. (Jonah was of course the first thing I thought of). Initially I was worried I would not have enough to do an entire paper. Within a week I had to revise my plan to an entire Thesis in order to adequately cover the ever expanding material.
    Within a year, I had about 1000 pages of skeletal notes, about 500 specific examples – and I had only cursorily made it from Genesis to Ruth, estimating that I had only discerned about 10% of what was there in those 8 books I covered.

    Here are a couple of quick examples:

    1. Third day in Genesis. First day the Light appears, second day is death [separation (of waters, baptism) and no pronouncement of “good.”], third day the earth (from which Man is made) rises from the waters, vegetation (the Vine) rises from the earth.

    2. Joshua 2:6. Jesus (Joshua) sends men who are saved by being hidden in flax drying on the roof. Here is the process the flax had just been through (see if this sounds familiar): the flax is buried in water under a stone. On the third day, the stone is removed and the flax rises. It is then gathered and laid to dry on the roof in the sun.
    By the way, it is of note that flax was the material from which linen/white garments were made – Scriptural references to “linen” or “white garments” assume the reader is aware that this is the process the material has undergone. White garments were worn for baptism because the garments themselves were created by being water baptized and raised on the third day.

    Of course, none of this would be discernible if not for Christ’s Self-revelation, the Tradition.

  8. The literalists fail to see the incongruity because they essentially ignore it or create “rational” explanations that rest on the premise that the scriptures are “literal”. All evidence to the contrary is rejected because it does not fit their premise.

    I think this is purposeful, but the end goal is to make the scriptures “literal” because they are easier to “disprove” that way. Secular society cannot abide contradiction; it is considered false and dismissed with little thought. It is a way they belittle and, in the end, usurp the faith to their own ends. Just my thoughts.

  9. Father,

    Excellent pushing of the boundaries a bit here. What is the Greek word for ‘tradition’ used in I Cor 15:4 in speaking of the resurrection on the third day? The word in the KJV is ‘received.’ Interestingly the same word is used in 1 Cor 11;23 about the Eucharist, where St. Paul said he received of the Lord the very Eucharistic rite This coming straight from the Gospels.

    All of this sure does give a different understanding of ‘according to the scriptures’ !

    What has been traditioned has been received and that ‘according to the scriptures!

    The interior tradition is The Church’s life blood.

  10. Pete,
    Yes. The words used are the verb paradidomi, the verbal form of the word paradosis which literally means “tradition.” But English Bibles, translated largely by Protestant tradition, usually don’t translate these correctly.

    In both cases, St. Paul is passing on a tradition “literally traditioning” – a quoted piece that is part of the most primitive oral tradition of the Church. In 1 Cor. 11, He is reciting the account of the Lord’s Supper, and this is about 20 years before we read it in any gospel. St. Paul clearly knows an oral tradition that includes gospel stories. He very likely knew something similar to St. Mark’s gospel (to say the least) by heart – as would all of the apostles. The gospel was preached and taught in oral form before it was written.

    The gospels themselves are the Tradition of the Church, only now written down. It’s key, though, to understand that the phrase “according to the Scriptures” means, “just as it was foretold in the Old Testament” (because there were no New Testament Scriptures yet). But the “foretelling” in the OT is not at all clear, obvious, literal, etc. It can only be seen when you’ve been taught to see it. Then it begins to open up.

  11. Father,

    Thank you. Paradosis, that is what I was thinking, I just couldn’t recall it. Thank you for the verb form as well. Do we have an excellent Orthodox translation of the New Testament that includes key words like this available? I know everyone points, to what I think was the Antiochian translation. I gave that one away years ago and just never replaced it. We really need these very accurate words available that were part and parcel of the Apostolic Church. They change everything, or you say, Father things begin to open up. Thank you!

  12. Justin, I would love to read your seminary thesis. I’ve never heard that about the flax–it’s another wonderful gospel “treasure hunt” clue hidden in the Scriptures!

  13. I think there’s a case for a mystically discernible hidden depth in the OT, actually discerned even before Christ’s Self-revelation. The incongruity found in its rich symbolisms, itself points to this, and the Jewish tradition had an –almost hesychastic- divine contemplation element to it too.
    One would suspect that the same thing that Philip [in the NT Acts] said to the Ethiopian eunuch reading Isaiah the prophet, (“Do you understand what you are reading?”) would naturally be asked of oneself reading the OT prior to the incarnation anyway.
    In actual fact it is almost as if one reading prior to the incarnation would naturally suspect that the “coming NT” (which does not exist at his time) will never be understood properly until this OT he has at hand (in the centuries before the incarnation,) is studied in depth. This is because the OT is the text to which the NT is the interpretation.

  14. I got an image to explain the above: There’s a road map to a treasure in your garden coded in the questions and answers of a crossword. The OT is like just the completed crossword, to which you haven’t however got the questions. On its own it makes no sense -it seems to be a collection of strange nouns and adjectives. Once you find the questions (the NT) the crossword starts to make sense.
    For example you read ‘shovel’ and then, after some time you read the question to which this was the answer and it is revealed as: ‘an instrument you need to dig to a depth of no more than half a meter in your back garden’. Now you know one of the steps to do to get the treasure. But there is still a sense that many passages have depths of layers we cannot instantly fathom because there are more sets of crossword questions, cryptic questions, to the same answers of the crossword. E.g. for ‘shovel’ you could also have another question: ‘a gardening instrument that can also be used to fend off the rat that attacks all those who enter the back garden’…
    This actually happens to us a great deal when we read the OT now. Our appreciation and thankfulness of the treasure we now do know of [of Christ] is cultivated further through it. For instance, you pray the Jesus Prayer alone at night, you then marvel at the power you suspect to be hidden in that Name, spoken in stillness, then you read the Psalms or Jermiah, and stumble upon a sense that many passages seem to be exalting the invocation of God’s name in the night, you feel the psalmist’s yearning for the revelation of the treasures hidden in the Name he seems to be so enamoured with.

  15. Dino,
    An allegorical interpretation (looking beneath the letter) had indeed begun already – but lacked the “key.” When Christ said, “You search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life,” He is clearly talking about just such a process. But then adds, “But these are they which testify of Me.” Christ is the key to rightly reading the OT. And, as I’ve noted before, the fact that there is a “hidden” level in the Scriptures, and that Christ is found there, is remarkable in and of itself and is a fact worthy of great contemplation. How is this so? What does it mean that such a thing can be so?

    I think it is not just that Christ is hidden within the OT Scriptures, but that He is hidden beneath every rock and tree, etc. The hermeneutic of Scripture also teaches us, schools the heart, so that we can “read” the world.

  16. As always, a wonderful, “spot-on” commentary. Not a week goes by that I don’t bemoan the change in my small suburb over the last 20 years. My small office was in the center of town. Working in a medical office our patients would walk in off the street and pop in just to say hello, drop off a batch of cookies or old magazines for the waiting room. The receptionists knew the patients by name as well as their family circumstances (if their was a birth or death in the family,etc). Within walking distance was a non-chain grocery store, butcher,drug store (where the pharmacist delivered in the middle of the night), clothing store, hardware store etc. People said hello when you walked by .
    Now all these stores are all gone. You have to drive to a chain store to purchase and all we have are various restaurants. New people have moved into our town and let me only say do not seem nice or kind. Our office also was bought up by a hospital and moved to a very busy intersection. Although some of us stayed, most left, and our patients bemoan how cold and impersonal the new office is. When you are sick and/or old you need compassion even more. You need to know that YOU are a real person and someone CARES about your problems and will sincerely try to help you.
    I tell my young-adult children that all this popular political ideology that claims to look out for all people’s needs is only the rhetoric of manipulation. ( So let the government pay for their this or that, and thus I don’T have to) I remind them that the person we must help is the one before us. In their age group I see mostly a claim to care about all people, but cruelty and disdain to the human being before them . Fortunately this is not true for all though.
    I read somewhere that people are less real to young adults nowadays than in the past, thanks to the constant use of smart phones and other technology. Elsewhere I read where a monk said that the end of the world will come when there are no roads leading to a person’s home.
    Globalization not only takes away a person’s identity but also a person’s responsibility to the human being before one’s eyes. God-given freedom is suppressed and resentment grows.
    Some years ago I took the kids to Greece to meet family they had never met. In our village you could get only 2 TV stations which had bad reception. My uncle had no internet. Afternoons when not napping we played games and told jokes and laughed. In the evening we went to this home or that, or the center of town. We ate and talked, laughed and cried. My kids were shocked that these people who were until recently strangers were so loving. It is their favorite memory and changed them. They would rather talk to people now than stare into a cell phone while at a social function.
    A taste of heaven on earth.
    Have a blessed day All!

  17. Pete
    There are two that I use. The first is the Eastern-Greek Orthodox New Testament” ISBN 978-1-257-62732-5. It was translated from the Patriarchal Text to English by a team of Greek and American translators who know both languages. My favorite for understanding the nuances that you seek is “The Orthodox New Testament” done by Holy Apostles Convent in Buena Vista, CO, ISBN 978-0-944359-17-4. It is so chock full of grammatical notes and such that it is a two volume set. It was invaluable to me in Seminary when I was learning to translate Greek. I had no end of trouble trying to accurately translate Saint Paul’s idioms. I found this very important because the standard English translations take significant liberties in their translation and often totally obscure Saint Paul’s meanings. Another extremely helpful resource is http://www.greekbible.com. It has a self explanatory opening page that explains the symbols used and gives instruction on how to navigate the text. If you are questioning the wording of a verse, you enter it and the text in Greek is displayed. When you click on each word a dictionary box opens (in English) that gives you the lexical form of the word (the form it is found in the dictionary under) and parses and declines the word so you know how the word is functioning grammatically in the sentence and it defines the word. Of course, taking Greek and especially the Grammar and Syntax classes is the real key to understanding. Greek is complex and has many aspects to it that are utterly alien to English which makes translation and art more than a science. Greek verbs and their functions and meanings are very different than the English system and they have tenses that English does not have. They also have Moods and Voices that we no longer pay any attention to in English. For instance, there is a huge difference between and Indicative Mood verb usage and the Optative Mood. For instance, I have an acquaintance that absolutely refuses to believe that Christ really meant what He said at the last supper about the Body and Blood. He holds fast to the idea that Christ was only speaking figuratively and did not mean it was really His Body and Blood. The truth is that Christ’s words are recorded in the Indicative Mood, which means He meant these words as fact versus it being recorded in the Optative Mood to indicate figurative speech. Greek is lovely in this regard because it is very direct and specific in meaning and the “jailhouse lawyering” often done in Protestant circles in word smithing the language is easily refuted. Because Greek is complicated in its structure and very precise in its meaning there is a danger of misunderstanding the way the words are uses if you are not familiar with the language. This is where the Holy Apostles Convent translation is helpful because the meaning and the implication of the grammar are well footnoted for important points.

  18. This article gets at one of the things that has troubled me in several Christian circles. Even orthodox ones. In fact I have had this discussion with our priest. There is this peculiar apologetic device that looks at the Old Testament and tries to demonstrate by rational argument that “of course Jesus had to be the fulfillment of all this. It’s obvious”. The problem is that it’s only “obvious” to those whose eyes have been opened (like Paul’s). Using the OT as an apologetic tool has always seemed a bit like circular reasoning to me. Breathlessly asserting that all the fulfilled prophecies somehow “prove” the Christian reading of scripture from a modern standpoint seems to somehow play right into modernity’s hand. Thank you for your articles Father. I always look forward to reading them. They have been indispensable to me and my wife on our journey to Orthodoxy – she as a concert and I as a “revert”. Thank you again.

  19. Father, can you comment on the Jewish Passover Seder as it is practiced now? Like the OT, it is riddled throughout with symbolic references to Christ. Do we know if the Seder as it is celebrated today is substantially the same as at the time of Christ?

  20. Father Stephen,
    On a recent trip, my wife and I were at Capital Reef Natl. Park, Utah. We got up early, and drove into a wash there, before others had arrived. The only sound was that of the rocks crunching beneath our feet as we walked, the air being hushed. The wash was still in shadows due to the soaring red cliffs on either side. But ahead of us the early morning sun drenched a nearby white mountain in its soft glow. I stopped to attempt to take in the beauty. My heart actually ached at the sight. Christ was there, his own beauty reflecting back to my heart through the shimmering light. I nearly wept. Christ IS all beauty, truth, and goodness. Sometimes that beauty is a hidden one. At other times it hits one as a tsunami.

  21. Another theme which could be quite fruitful especially to those who know the language is that of rocks/stones.

    Did a Bible study with my family years ago and discovered a great deal even using Protestant translations and study materials while still being quite young in the faith. Much about the abundance and constancy of God revealed. I am sure there is a ressurection info too. (The tomb of rock and the stone being rolled away, etc.)

    Jesus is indeed beneath, in, every rock.

    Wow, is all I can say. Higher up and further in.

  22. Dear Father and Dino,

    “And, as I’ve noted before, the fact that there is a “hidden” level in the Scriptures, and that Christ is found there, is remarkable in and of itself and is a fact worthy of great contemplation.”

    Thank you for pointing this out so specifically. When I read this, I think of the assurance that our life in Christ is forever going to be a progression from “Glory to Glory”…. That there will always be more to learn and discover and be amazed by…

    That in Christ our life will continue to forever increase, but (as Fr. Zacharias says, commenting on the teaching of Elder Sophrony) it will always be happening in “blessed rest”, with not tension or stress or anxiety, “our vessels will always be full”….. And we can be initiated into it now – and the main three points of this initiation are: 1) reading the word of God (reading the Scriptures), 2) praying with His name and 3) participating in His Body, the Church and the Eucharist.

    So what would our life be like in this world if we learnt this total surrender to God in this life already? As the Saints gave us an example of… How does one make that mental “switch”? I would really like some advice on that, please….

  23. Karen,
    Let me recommend Fr. John Behr’s second lecture here: https://orthodoxsalem.com/becoming-human-fr-john-behr/

    Actually the entire series is wonderful, but in his second talk, which uses Melito of Sardis as an example of the Orthodox reading of Scripture, directly comments on the seder.

    Pete, paradosis is also the word used when Christ hands over the spirit John 19:30. If I understand correctly, a better reading is “He bowed his head and handed over (traditioned) The Spirit.”

  24. Shortly after converting to Orthodoxy I read St. Gregory of Nyssa’s Life of Moses. That pretty well blew away all of my Protestant ideas about how to read and understand the Old Testament. The teachings of St. Maximos and others in the second volume of the Philokalia also showed me that I know nothing. Those things helped me to appreciate the “irrational,” perhaps we could call it “spiritual,” understanding of the OT scriptures.

  25. Nicolas,

    Thank you for your long and detailed response. I had found the Orthodox New Testament by the Holy Apostles Convent online a few years back and thought of purchasing it. Then, I read a review by a hierarch that said it read like “someone’s Greek homework”…. Lol. So, I ended up forgetting about it. The KJV, with all its protestant assumptions, can mutilate some important meanings; or simply miss key distinctions altogether. In the wrong hands, it can lead to such distortions that just about anything can be concocted. I got to have this! I need to reengage with where I was at a few years ago. Thanks for the other two suggestions too, very helpful. Seeing our tradition more fully and clearly by this will be a great blessing.

  26. Pete,
    It does read like Greek homework and it helped me a lot with mine. I was profoundly grateful for finding it. Yes, all the existing English translations have one basic common flaw. In the Pauline Corpus, they subdivide Saint Paul’s gloriously long and grammatical masterpiece sentences (I think his record is 202 words in a single sentence.)
    In the Book of Colosians for instance, the English translations have 76 to 79 sentences whereas Saint Paul had 38. It greatly changes the meanings of the phrases they shear off and make sentences out of. The one I always point to is Ephesians 5-22 most often translated as “Wives SUBMIT to your husbands.” It is often separated by a section header from the previous text. It is actually part of the previous text being the last Dependent Clause of a very long sentence. It has no verb in it and certainly t in the Imperative Mood. Literally translated it says:” Wives to your husbands as to the Lord.” This sounds from the text more of an admonishment to value, honor and serve the husband who is loving back as Christ does the Church (ready to die for her). It is a totally different message than the preachers of fundamentalism make it into.
    Enjoy your reading of that Orthodox translation. I find it very helpful for reference when I am stuck on a phrase in Greek.

  27. Karen:
    I never actually got around to completing the Thesis, as I was forced by the Reformed seminary to write on another topic (“Typology” was and is still very controversial in that segment of ostensible “Christianity”).
    Unfortunately, I lost those notes in a move about a decade ago.

    If you want to give me your email address I can send tidbits as they occur.
    Anyone else interested can send their email for the same purpose.
    Or you can email me directly: email hidden; JavaScript is required

  28. Thomas:
    Yes, I also noticed the same thing in my Protestant days. At first it began with the absurdity (to a modern mind) of the demonstrations and proofs of Christ in the NT – the virgin conception and birth (two separate things, by the way, only the former believed by Protestants). Now, it’s obvious that only Mary herself could have known if Christ’s conception was virginal or not – to proffer that as “proof” of Christ’s divinity, as the NT does, assumes a standard of proof which is decidedly not hyper-rationalist/modern. Or take Christ’s Baptism – we are told that, of the entire Judaean countryside which was present, only John heard the Father’s voice and saw the Spirit as a dove – and yet that is also given as demonstration of who Christ is. Not exactly something a modernist Scientist would stake his tent to, eh?
    And yes, it began to really bug me that nowhere in Protestant history had anyone seemed to interpret the OT the way the NT did. In fact, when I began doing so, I rather quickly found myself on the outs with the entire Reformed academic community.

  29. Ooh, Nicholas! With those ISBNs you supplied to Pete, I feel like you just gave me the keys to the world’s finest candy store (which must be all chocolate, you understand)! 🙂

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