John Walton’s Finest?

February 25, 2019
Posted in Blog
February 25, 2019 Editor

John Walton’s Finest?

February 25, 2019

by Scot McKnight

WN: John Walton (often with a co-author, including his son, J. Harvey Walton — as in this case) has been producing amazing publications on Hebrew Bible interpretation in the context of the Ancient Near East. One such explains his approach well: Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible. You may easily find notice of all his books on the web.

I reviewed elsewhere on this website The Lost World of Genesis One. It demonstrated (in my view definitively) that the Creation Story has so much to teach us, but is in no way a scientific treatise on Earth’s origins.

The Lost World of the Torah: Law as Covenant and Wisdom in Ancient Context, may indeed be Walton’s finest to date. I wouldn’t know. The review highlighted with excerpts below presents an interpretation of the Torah such that it is seen not as prescriptive as in the modern world, rather as descriptive. We read in the Review:

Prescriptive documents expect obedience or conformity as a response; descriptive documents expect comprehension as a response. We will use the term legislation to refer to the idea of legal formulations that are prescriptive and therefore create a system of law and an obligation for those under that system.

Descriptive texts, however, are different in purpose. The reviewer again writes:

Likewise, this instruction in wisdom should be recognized as having a very different intention from legislation. Whereas legislation has the expected response of obedience, instruction in wisdom has the expected response of comprehension and application.

This SO underscores Hebrew Bible interpretations that are ever life-giving, as opposed to using the Bible to “throw the book (in fact the Bible traditionally)” retributively at offenders in a tragic misinterpretation of the lex talionis. My “Why I Oppose the Death Penalty“, in a dialogue on Capital Punishment in Fairbanks, Alaska, illustrates this kind of approach to the biblical text. Dr. Land’s fallacious hermeneutic as recounted in his contrary view in that post, has dominated the Christian approach to biblical Law, which has led to vast numbers having been horrifically abused and/or executed throughout much of Western Church History — in the name of Christ no less!

excerpts:

A question will be asked in the coming months if this new book by John H. Walton, in his Lost World series, is his finest.

His approach of showing how a major text or genre or theme were part of the Ancient Near East (ANE) and therefore needed to be understood from that world, and that once done the interpretation often changed — that approach is put on full display in this new book on the Torah.

Again, to counter what some claim (that this means the Bible can only be read by experts), W&W [the authors] show that all can read the Bible but it requires experts to understand some dimensions of the Old Testament:…

Please click on: The Lost World of the Torah

 

, , ,

Editor

Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Wayne Northey

This is the drop down list of all Blog entries (over 700), beginning with most recent. All titles are clickable. (At bottom of each webpage is also a “SEARCH” box.)

Please click the X if you do not wish to view this now. The list is also under “Blog” on the Sitemap page, which includes dates. Please also view the following for a list of some of my favourites (all titles also clickable). Full list below “Favourites” is in dsescending chronological order.

Favourites

Group by:

Blog

Uncategorized

    Thanks for clicking on the post. I encourage you to leave a comment at bottom of this or any post, and of most pages. See Sitemap for a full list by titles and dates, under “HOME“; or see  BLOG for thumbnails you may view from current to previous; or check ARCHIVES below each post for groupings by year and month. You may also see Related Posts below each post. There as well, you may choose to rate posts/most pages. At bottom of each page is also a “SEARCH” box. My commitment is to respond if comment is approved. I can learn something for sure! Hopefully you may too…

    Thanks, 

    Wayne Northey

    Care to follow posts?

    Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox (unsubscribe any time):

    %d bloggers like this: