I must confess. I have procrastinated reviewing Delivered from the Elements of the World. It’s not because it is a dull book; far from it. Rather, more than anything I’ve yet reviewed, I am daunted at the prospect of doing justice to this book’s vastness and creativity. Peter Leithart is known to be a singular, provocative and eloquent thinker, and Delivered from the Elements of the World is surely his magnum opus.
Category: Theology (page 1 of 35)
In this post I will summarize the two presentations on Israel and the church in Progressive Covenantalism (my review). Though I very much appreciated both chapters (and the book as a whole), I want to respond to two shortcomings.
Understanding The New Testament’s use of the Old is a key issue in Biblical interpretation, but is highly enigmatic, resulting in varying approaches all vying for our attention. Some conclude that surprising use of the OT reveals that the NT author had no concern for context. Some insist upon a natural logic connecting the OT and NT contexts, so that the author is applying the text correctly. Others argue for a typological relationship, where the OT text is fulfilled historically but also foreshadows the NT reality. Rikk Watts’ Regent course God’s Faithful Character: The Key to the New Testament’s Use of the Old delves into this thorny topic. Watts thoroughly surveys the factors, examines history of interpretation, interprets numerous texts, and provides a fresh way of looking at the NT use of the OT.
All Christians agree that Jesus fulfills the expectations of Psalm 2, but it’s debated if this reign has already begun or whether it entirely awaits His return. Much hinges on how one interprets NT quotations and allusions to Psalm 2 (e.g. Mk 1:11; Acts 13:33), although this does not exhaust the discussion. Other related texts and concepts help shed light on the question. One concept is that of Zion.
How does one even begin to review a book so profoundly impacting and paradigm-shifting? Perhaps with a personal anecdote? I used to lean towards skepticism when it comes to the supernatural. This is hardly healthy for a Christian. It’s not that I disbelieved God’s providence, Jesus’ miracles, the resurrection, or even the enduring nature of the Spirit’s gifts; rather, I had an unreasonable inclination to find “natural” explanations for “supernatural” experience claims. What was the cure? First, marrying a woman gifted in more observably supernatural ways. Second, study of the Bible: the unseen realm is just unavoidably there in Scripture. It is in this latter area that Michael Heiser’s work, especially The Unseen Realm, has been so important.
David Mitchell is a unique fellow. He is a Biblical scholar, expert in the Psalms, and an archaeo-musicologist. His important work on the Psalms, The Message of the Psalter, gave a fascinating defense of an eschatological focus to the Psalms, and is referenced in virtually every major work on the Psalter. Mitchell also recently released a stimulating work devoted to the Songs of Ascent (my review). His newest work is sure to be just as fascinating, as it is devoted to a little-known topic: the Messiah ben Joseph.