Old Testament Theology Thursday (Genesis Edition!)

Yes, I know it isn’t Thursday (mea culpa, it’s been one of those weeks!), but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to offer a very special Genesis edition of OT Theology Thursday–special in light of SBL’s acceptance of a new program unit devoted to the book of Genesis (see HERE). And so I offer, from one of our scheduled presenters at the 2012 Annual Meeting, R.W.L. Moberly (from his Theology of the Book of Genesis, Cambridge 2009, some thoughts on the theology of the book of Genesis:

“. . . the Book of Genesis comes to us, not as an interesting papyrological or epigraphic discovery from exploration of the Middle East that can enlarge our knowledge of ancient religion, but in the context of the canonical scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. In this context, Genesis has a seemingly inexhaustible history of interpretation and appropriation, which gives rise to continuing expectations and assumptions as one comes to the text. Whatever the complexities and ramifications of the debates about the relationship between scripture and tradition that have characterized both Jews and Christians down the ages, and however much it may become necessary periodically to reassert a certain kind of scriptural primacy over the forumlations of continuing traditions of interpretation, the fact remains that Genesis is received within the context of continuing traditions of faith, life, and thought, however variously these may be conceived” (12)

This approach described here by Moberly, in my estimation at least, speaks quite accurately to what we see and hope to continue to see being done in the book of Genesis, hopefully on display in the Genesis unit.

And I can’t resist another, from Moberly, the same volume:

“It is perhaps unusual for a book within the Old Testament to have one particular text that can be regarded as a possible interpretive key to the book as a whole, and even to the Old Testament as a whole. Yet such a case has been made in relation to God’s call of Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. . . . The intrinsic significance of this passage is not in doubt. For its context makes it a bridge between God’s dealings with the world in general in Genesis 1-11 and his dealings with the patriarchs in particular in Genesis 12-50. These are also works on the lips of God, which clearly introduce and frame the story of Abraham that follows” (141).

I am in firm agreement with Moberly that Gen 12:1-3 is the interpretive lens needed for much of the biblical text, Old and New Testaments alike.


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