Skip to main content

Pentateuch = Galatians?? So says Sailhamer,


Sailhamer's massive book has received glowing endorsments from John Piper.  I will be slowly working my way through it.  It is far too long, and even the introduction is heavy going, but there are some fascinating ideas here.  Sailhamer makes the assertion that "The law given at Sinai neither had the same purpose nor carried the same message as the faith taught by the Pentateuch." (p13)  Instead the argument of the Pentateuch is a contrasting of two covenants, "Mosaic and Abrahamic, or law and gospel." (p14)  The meaning of the Pentateuch is thus not found in the laws within, which represent the broken covenant, but in the way that it "looks beyond the law to God's grace" and "to teach its readers about faith and hope in the new covenant (Deut 30:6)." (p26)  Thus, "the Pentateuch's view of the law is simailar to that of Paul in the book of Galatians." (p28)

It will be interesting to see what he does when he finally comes to dealing with the law and its meaning for us (Christians).  But my initial concern, although I do think he is on to something, is how Pauline, even admittedly Pauline, this approach is.  He is also arguing for a messianic consciousness to the Pentateuch which so far I'm not overwhelmed by, but that will have to wait for another post anyway.  So I hope he doesn't just show how compatible his reading of the Pentateuch is with Paul but also goes beyond that to show how it points to Jesus Christ, with more than just some strained references to a possibly messianic figure.

For those of you interested in redaction critical matters, Sailhamer considers the Pentateuch to be a 2nd edition work, with Moses being responsible for the first edition, but the final edition being produced late in the piece, after the prophetic canon was completed.  The Pentateuch is thus chronologically both the first and last book of the OT!   Annoying he refers to the Pentateuch as book, singular, when surely it is only book as Torah, but as Pentateuch (i.e. five books) should be books, plural, right?  Otherwise, this is shaping up to be an interesting read for anyone who think it would be fun to read 600 ages of thoughtful evangelical interpretation of the first five books of the Bible.

What say you? :-)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why Dr Charles Stanley is not a biblical preacher

Unusually for me I was watching the tele early on Sunday morning and I caught an episode of Dr Charles Stanley preaching on his television program. Now I know this guy has come under some criticism for his personal life, and that is not unimportant, but it is also not something i can comment on, not knowing the facts. His preaching is however something I can comment on, at least the one sermon I did watch.

He started off by reading 2 Timothy 1:3-7. Which is a passage from the Bible, so far so good. He then spent the next 30 minutes or so talking about his mum and what a great example of a Christian mother she was. Now nothing he said or suggested was wrong, but none of it actually came from scripture, least of all the scripture he read from at the beginning. It was a lovely talk on how Stanley's mother raised him as a Christian despite considerable difficulties and it contained many useful nuggets of advice on raising Christian kids. All very nice, it might have made a nice…

That one time Jesus got the Bible wrong

It's so typical isn't it? You are preaching all day long, training your disciples, sparring with the Pharisees, encouraging the poor and down trodden, healing the sick and casting out demons, all day, day after day, and even when you go up a mountain to get a rest the crowds hunt you down and follow you up, and then the one time you get a bit muddled up with some of the details of a biblical text . . . that is the one they write down in the first gospel - verbatim. At least Matthew and Luke had the good sense to do some editing. But Mark, he always had his eye on giving the public the "historical Jesus" whoever that is supposed to be . . . warts and all. Thanks a lot Mark!

Some think I made the mistake on purpose, just to show the Pharisees up.

For some there is no mistake worth mentioning, only a slightly ambiguous turn of phrase.

Others think I am doing something tricky with Abiathar's name, getting him to figuratively stand in for the priesthood.

It really has…

The Addictive Power of End Times Speculation

The mighty Rhett Snell has picked up his blog again (I wonder how long he'll last this time), check out his theory on why people get so into annoyingly unbiblical end times nonsense.

I think that where codes-and-calendars end times theology is dangerous, is that it can give a sense of false growth. We read a theory online, or hear it from some bible teacher, and we come to think that we have mastered an area of our faith. A bit like levelling up in a computer game, or Popeye after he’s eaten some spinach. At worst, we begin to believe that we’ve taken a step that other Christians have not; that we’ve entered an elite class of Christianity.