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The Use of “Scriptures” in NT References to Jesus’ Death

June 3, 2019

David Allen’s recent study of the appropriation and influence of OT texts on NT references to Jesus’ death is very much worth noting:  According to the Scriptures:  The Death of Christ in the Old Testament and the New (SCM Press, 2018).  I’ve just finished a short review of the book for Expository Times, and I can commend it.

The study shows impressive acquaintance with scholarly studies (and includes a sixteen-page bibliography).  The discussion is detailed and Allen threads his way carefully through the often difficult exegetical issues that result from the often indirect and allusive use and sometimes novel appropriation of OT texts.

Allen examines the treatment of Jesus’ death in the four Gospels (and Acts), Paul, Hebrews, and 1 Peter.  Recommended.

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  1. Chris Keith has a conference on Mediterranean cultures of reading at Duke, Oct. 28.

    It may or many not be too late to submit a paper topic, but it still looks interesting.

  2. Apparently Paul’s transformations of earlier Jewish scriptures, especially his “legalistic” editorializing of them, have been the subject of some considerable scholarly commentary?

    • Once again, I can’t quite discern what you refer to. Paul didn’t “transform” Jewish scriptures. He did incorporate sometimes distinctive interpretations of his scriptures. I don’t know what you mean by “legalistiic editorializing” of them!!

      • Well, it is important to see if there are any distinctive overall or repeated patterns in Paul’s readings. Do his interpretations often reflect any particular theology, etc.?

      • This has all been studied . . . extensively and often. E.g., E. E. Ellis, Paul’s Use of the Old Testament (1957; reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981), Richard B. Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989); Richard B. Hays, The Conversion of the Imagination: Paul As Interpreter of Israel’s Scripture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005).

  3. Apparently many things called scriptures can’t be clearly found in say, our current Old and New Testaments?

    Is that correct?

    • No. There are a few texts that were treated as scripture in some circles of early Christianity, but not in others/most. E.g., Shepherd of Hermas. And “our Old Testament” is not so fixed. E.g., Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox OT canons include several texts treated as apocrypha by Protestants, and the Ethiopic church treats 1 Enoch as scripture. So, a few differences, but not “many things”.

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