The Scriptures and Development

This looked very interesting. I respect Dr. Seitz work–the little I’ve heard of it. This is clearly fragmentary but I fifnd myself in a different place from where I think he’s going because there’s a turn he doesn’t quite make (or that I don’t make in going where he says I go…)

I take as my starting point James Sanders’ work Torah and Canon as a starting point for thinking about how the Old and New Testaments fit together. Sanders basically argues that the Prophets, Wisdom, the other stuff is essentially reflection upon the Torah. Even the historical materials are theological documents that parse things different ways based on theological perspectives. The NT, then, is reflection upon the Torah in light of the person of Jesus Christ–the fulfillment (personification?) of the Torah. I don’t remember Sanders advocating, and in my appropriation of his work I do not see that the notion of “development” is a useful one. For one thing, dating plays havoc with any notion of linear “development”. Yeah, NT is reflection of a different order–that’s ’cause something really big happened to make it go that way!

I think that Dr. Seitz sets up unnecessary binaries here. There is an us and a them. But it’s not really that easy. My biggest issue with this reporting of his words (not his complete words or complete thought because I don’t know them for certain) is that he does not state how “orthodox” Bible-believers work with contradictory statements and entire lines of thought within the Scriptures. (After all, that’s why alternate ideas were floated…) Why is the notion of different/alternate reflections upon the same formative material and experiences so threatening? How can you look at 1 & 2 Kings, then at 1 & 2 Chronicles and not see that there wrestling with the same stuff but in fundamentally different ways for different reasons–most of which are theological? It goes back to the gospels–do we go back to clumsy attempts at harmonization or do we recognize that we have four different accounts utilizing interdependent sources? What is he advocated here? Thoughts?

2 thoughts on “The Scriptures and Development

  1. texanglican

    Noting Dr Seitz’s strong support of the ACI, I am sure that one thing that stands behind his remarks is a desire to see Article XX of the 39 Articles maintained. It reads, in part,”it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.” The two hermeneutics Seitz criticizes take the approaches rejected in these two clauses of Article of Religion XX. Either the modern reader (and hence modern Church) should reject Biblical commands on sexuality outright as outmoded relics of a less enlightened day, or we should read one portion of Scripture as “repugnant” to another (say, Chirst’s table fellowship with sinners in opposition to the Levitical stance on homosexuality), giving us “wiggle room” for chosing the path most amenable to modern sensibilities. The ACI, Seitz’s organization, is an advocate of the 39 Articles as a touchstone for orthodox Anglicanism. There he stands, he cannot do otherwise.

  2. Derek the Ænglican

    Out of curiosity–as an Anglo-Catholic–how do *you* feel about a 39 Article-driven hermeneutic?

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