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Christian Tractatus

(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)

Another problem internal to the Bible is the way in which the New Testament uses the Old. Superficially, at least, the New Testament takes texts out of context, quotes the text loosely where the precise wording would seem to be essential to the argument, and adopts other liberties with the text that no competent modern Bible student would dare to do.

  1. There is a significant parallel between the New Testament's use of the Old Testament and the so-called Pesher exegesis adopted by the Qumran literature. That is, ancient texts were taken to apply prophetically to the (then) present situation in a manner that appears to modern eyes to be unsound, with free use being made of allegory.
  2. It is admitted that typology may go some way towards explaining the various otherwise unlikely exegeses. However, typology seems to be little more than a wide-ranging pesher with a respectable name. I do not find this explanation for Matthew 2:15's use of Hosea 11:1 ("Out of Egypt have I called my Son [and Israel is my first borne]") to explain the "flight into Egypt" very convincing. Nor would most Jews.
  3. The argument that, since the Holy Spirit is the author of both Testaments, he can do what he likes with his own words is obnoxious on several counts, not least because it ignores the human agent (who is morally involved) and tends towards the dictation theory of inspiration. An author may not take such liberties even with his own work because words, once written, retain their meaning in context.

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12/08/2007 10:17:46 400 (Bible - New Using Old) Bible - Internal Self-Consistency

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