New Book on Use of OT in the NT
In today’s post came a contributor’s copy of a new multi-author volume: All that the Prophets Have Declared: The Appropriation of Scripture in the Emergence of Christianity, ed. Matthew R. Malcolm (Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press, 2015). The publisher’s online catalogue entry is here.
The volume arose from a special conference held in Trinity Theological College, Perth (Australia) in August 2013, and comprises a brief Introduction by Malcolm plus twelve essays by various scholars. Here is the list of contributions:
L. W. Hurtado, “Two Case Studies in Earliest Christological Readings of Biblical Texts.”
I. G. Malcom and M. R. Malcolm, “‘He Interpreted to Them the Things about Himself in All the Scriptures’: Linguistic Perspectives on the New Testament’s Use of the Old Testament.”
Roland Deines, “Jesus and Scripture: Scripture and the Self-Understanding of Jesus.”
D. S. West, “Acts 4:23-31 and a biblical Theology of Prayer.2
B. L. Sutton, “Becoming Prophets: Acts 10:34-43 and Peter’s Appropriation of Prophecies about Jesus.”
M. A. Seifrid, “Scripture and Identity in Galatians.”
Lionel Windsor, “The ‘Seed’, the ‘Many’ and the ‘One’ in Galatians 3:16: Paul’s Reading of Genesis 17 and its Significance for Gentiles.”
Martin foord, “Taking with One Hand, and Giving with the Other? The Use of Psalm 68:18 in Ephesians 4:8.”
M. J. Keown, “The Use of the Old Testament in Philippians.”
Allan Chapple, “The Appropriation of Scripture in 1 Peter.”
M. R. Malcolm, “God has Spoken: The Renegotiation of Scripture in Hebrews.”
Rory Shiner, “Reading the New Testament from the Outside.”
In an earlier posting after the conference I summarized major points addressed in my own essay (here). One thing I didn’t mention in that post, and would invite some others with expertise in Koine Greek literature to engage, is the curious variation-pattern that we see in NT references to Jesus “at the right hand” of God. The expression fairly obviously derives from Psalm 110:1 (LXX 109:1). But there is an interesting pattern of variation in the Greek phrasing used. In all the NT instances where the Psalm is cited or clearly alluded to in describing Jesus “at the right hand” of God, the form of the Greek phrase in the LXX is consistently preserved: εκ δεξιων (e.g., Matt.22:24/Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42; Matt. 26:64/Mark 14:62/Luke 22:69; Acts 2:34; 7:55-56; Heb 1:13 (and also Mark 16:19). (Likewise, in Acts 2:25 the citation of Psalm 16 [LXX 15]: 8-11 uses the LXX wording εκ δεξιων.) But in the many other places where we seem to have confessional statements declaring Jesus to be seated at God’s right hand/side, the preferred phrasing is εν δεξιᾳ (e.g., Rom 8:34; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3; 8:1;10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet 3:22).
Scholarly survey of the LXX, Jewish Greek pseudepigraphal writings, the Apostolic Fathers (and some Greek papyri) indicates that εκ δεξιων appears to have been the overwhelmingly preferred construction for describing someone/something on the right side of another. To cite LXX usage as illustrative, I find only two instances of εν δεξιᾳ (1 Esdras 4:29; Paralipomenon 1 [= 1 Chronicles] 6:24) and many more uses of εκ δεξιων.
So, why the NT dual pattern? And it is a dual pattern, with the LXX text followed in citations and direct allusions, but εν δεξιᾳ preferred in those “confessional” statements. My hunch at this point is that the latter expression may have connoted a more intimate or close linkage of someone to another, and so NT writers (across the board) preferred it in making a confessional statement of Jesus’ relationship to God.
But it would take a thorough analysis of data produced through the sort of search of Koine Greek texts possible using the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae to test my hunch adequately. So, I’ve stuck my neck out with a hunch, maybe somebody can either confirm or falsify it.
P.S. The pre-publication version of my essay is available on this blog site under “Selected Published Essays” here.