Sunday, September 7, 2008

From Genesis to Chronicles

Some of Gerhard von Rad's essays are in this book in English, collected and published under the editing of K. C. Hanson, Fortress Press 2005. I have read just a couple so far on the Psalms.

He raises some interesting questions - like the one on a doctrine of creation - is it always used in relation to redemption or does it have a stand-alone aspect? His 'answer' is that the apparent stand-alone quality of creation is derived from Egyptian doctrine, but for the Israelite, the doctrine is usually expressed as related to redemption. I have not expressed his conclusions very well, but this is what I 'get' on a second read of the essay.

I think there might be some mileage in the idea - but I think I would explore it from the point of view of creation - Is there any aspect of creation in the 'Old Testament' that does stand alone without a doctrine of redemption? If there is not - and I might accept that this is not an 'obvious' conclusion - to use one of von Rad's favorite words, - if there is not a stand-alone doctrine of creation, it is because redemption was a known requirement in all times, in all cults, and from the beginning. The Omega knew in the Alpha that reality required the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.

The second essay is on righteousness - and it is here that I find his repeated use of the word 'obvious' irritating. What is obvious to him is not to me. I will say more later on the problem of righteousness in the Psalms - a very good question again and he has framed it well and clearly in the essay.

1 comment:

psalterium said...

Gerard von Rad also looks at creation in his Old Testament Theology (volume 1 if it's OTL pp. 136-154).

My thinking thus far is that Gen. 1:1-2:4a (in some form later used by P during the exile) functioned as a festal liturgy at the feast of Tabernacles (Autumnal New Year festival) where Yahweh was enthroned as king and, following Canaanite and Babylonian practice, the creation was renewed.