Brevard S. Childs Quotes
“It is one thing to attempt to understand the Old Testament as the sacred scriptures of the church. It is quite another to understand the study of the Bible in history-of-religions categories. Both tasks are legitimate, but they are different in goal and procedure. The hermeneutical issue at stake does not lie in an alleged contrast between historical process and scripture's final form. To understand the Bible as scripture means to reflect on the witnesses of the text transmitted through the testimony of the prophets and apostles. It involves an understanding of biblical history as the activity of God testified to in scripture. In contrast, a history-of-religions approach attempts to reconstruct a history according to the widely accepted categories of the Enlightenment, as a scientifically objective analysis according to the rules of critical research prescribed by common human experience.”
“The Christian canon consists of two different, separate voices, indeed of two different choirs of voices. The Old Testament is the voice of Israel, the New that of the church. But beyond this, the voice of the New Testament is largely that of a transformed Old Testament which is now understood in the light of the gospel.”
“The role of the canon as scripture of the church and vehicle for its actualization through the Spirit is to provide an opening and a check to continually new figurative applications of its apostolic content as it extends the original meaning to the changing circumstances of the community of faith (cf. Frei, Eclipse, 2–16). These figurative applications are not held in isolation from its plain sense, but an extension of the one story of God’s purpose in Jesus Christ.”
“First, von Rad’s description of a traditio-historical trajectory of actualization failed to deal adequately with the post-exilic process of the textualization of the tradition which preceded and issued in the canonization of authoritative scripture. Secondly, his understanding of the New Testament as a charismatic, typological appropriation of Israel’s tradition did not adequately deal with the centre of the New Testament’s proclamation of the gospel, which arose from the impact of the resurrection. The effect is that the New Testament was not a linear continuation of the Old Testament, nor does the Old Testament lean toward the New. Rather the direction of the tradition’s growth was often reversed. The evangelists read from the New backward to the Old. The resulting transformed Old Testament served greatly to intensify the problem of Biblical Theology in understanding the nature of the Bible’s unity and indeed led to many of the major concerns of this volume.”
Brevard S. Childs
- Date of birth: September 02, 1923
- Died: June 23, 2007
- Born: in Columbia, South Carolina, The United States.
- Description: Brevard Springs Childs was Professor of Old Testament at Yale University from 1958 until 1999 (and Sterling Professor after 1992), and one of the most influential biblical scholars of the 20th century. Childs is particularly noted for pioneering canonical criticism, a way of interpreting the Bible that focuses on the text of the biblical canon itself as a finished product. In fact, Childs disliked the term, believing his work to represent an entirely new departure, replacing the entire historical-critical method. Childs set out his canonical approach in his Biblical Theology in Crisis (1970) and applied it in Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture (1979). This latter book has been described as "one of the most discussed books of the 1980s".