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  • Direction: Preaching the Old Testament in the Post Modern World
    Proverbs Jonah and Ruth contest the particularism of Ezra Nehemiah with universal themes Walter Brueggemann 1980 offers a sample sermon A Footnote to the Royal Pageant which illustrates a preacher s use of textual polyvalence that does not allow the sermon to unravel into inchoate muttering In preaching from 1 Kings 8 Brueggemann recognizes the various temple theologies of the priest the deuteronomist the royal house and the disenfranchised and gives each a voice He arranges the voices in such a way that the audience can leave with various voices ringing in their ears but without doubt about the preacher s rhetorical aim a call for justice for those overlooked by the ceremonies and facilities of the Temple Polyvalent preaching addresses a world in which truth is relative Without confronting such a perspective directly polyvalent preaching redirects the post modern mindset Willimon argues that truth is relative that is truth is directly related to the God who communicates personally with the community of faith 34 PREACHING FORMS COVENANT COMMUNITY Enlightenment thinking was characterized by a fundamentally individualistic rationalism From Luther s Here I stand and Descartes s I think therefore I am personal judgment was installed as a tacit authority for all things Buttrick 1995 p 2 The freedom of the enlightened individual stands at the root of the personal psychological approach to preaching Created by Harry Emerson Fosdick as a therapeutic homiletic method developed by Norman Vincent Peale and hawked to millions by Robert Schuller preaching that aims at individual well being has become common Fundamentalist preachers on the other hand have embraced and adapted Barth s biblical religion emphasis and the biblical theology movement They have limited the Bible to personal biblical religion with point making Bible 40 lesson sermons using the third person objective language characteristic of rationalism This approach reduced the gospel to notions of personal salvation ignoring the social dimension of the biblical text and detaching it from the modern and certainly the post modern world Buttrick 1995 2 Post modernism identifies the bankruptcy of individualism In society systems are crumbling politics of gridlock economies of homelessness and educational systems without moral compass Buttrick 1995 2 3 In the church spirituality is reduced to a personal quest for God Church leadership is equated with management Individuals choose the programs that meet personal needs without recognizing a larger agenda Preaching from the Old Testament must address the spiritual and intellectual vacuum of individualism It is no accident that the covenant community is central to God s design as articulated by Elmer Martens As James Sanders described it the formation of the Old Testament was itself the story of a people in the making Identity as a distinct community was the goal of the law the prophets the narrative and apparently at least some of the Writings The Old Testament story of the struggle for community speaks more powerfully to post moderns who are lost in the sea of individualism than a mythical communitarian ideal without struggle

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  • Direction: Job's Thirst for Righteousness: A Parable of Post Modernism
    affair If you Job have sinned what do you accomplish against God 48 And if your transgressions are multiplied what do you do to him If you are righteous what do you give to him or what does he receive from your hand Your wickedness affects others like you and your righteousness z e dâqâh other human beings 35 6 8 Elihu s words have the same effect as the arguments of Eliphaz and Bildad they remove God s righteousness from the human scene But where the friends saw only a gulf between God s rightness and the rightness of the rest of creation Elihu contends that bird and beast have a positive relationship to God and to humanity in that they are taught by God 12 7 8 God is larger than the human world of morality Elihu contends that in calling God to trial Job falsely assumed that human righteousness is the standard of judgement Finally God himself storms into the conversation He summons creation as his witness in a dizzying pageant of natural phenomena of flora and fauna They display the order by which God directs their existence How is this spectacle an answer 38 1 40 6 to Job First it is an answer in that the Lord chooses to respond to Job Job will not determine the nature of the trial God faces his accuser directly God has responded to Job s plea for a hearing and a answer The symbolism of answering is potent It arises out of the importance of the spoken word a fundamental reality in the OT world view 6 If language in general is the primary vehicle of being then response answer is the vehicle of relationship To receive an answer from God is a sign of being in a right relationship with God when I was a just and blameless man says Job I called upon God and he answered me 12 4 For one who is a close friend of God such a relationship is reciprocal Job yearning for his restoration says You God would call and I would answer you 14 15 cf 19 7 23 3 5 30 20 Answering gives the other dignity It acknowledges the other s presence and concerns An answer Antwort presupposes an active engagement with a previous statement or situation Wort Thus Elihu was angry with the friends for condemning Job without answering him without truly meeting him in his own experience 32 3 7 Now the Lord himself answered Job This is the recognition which Job had demanded The bare event of God s speaking with Job is itself an indication that the ordeal is coming to an end The second way in which the Lord s words are an answer to Job lies in the actual content of the response Image after dazzling image illuminates the truth that God is larger than the human world of morality These visions of life the universe and everything are bewildering but true While the 49 grandeur of it all may confound the modern reader the response to Job s question is clear humanly perceived morality is not the final arbiter of righteousness There is a uniquely human view of reality which carries the burden of moral urgency 8 This is appropriate and right for humanity It was Job s way of life as a zaddîq one who lives rightly before God and in community God s morality is based not on urgency but on eternity 9 It transcends and often baffles human morality Such wisdom cannnot be comprehended by mortal minds The Lord s answer creates an acute awareness of the differences between the divine wisdom and its human approximation Human righteousness must include morality but the larger question of righteousness is a question of relationship Job in his final confession admits I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear but now my eye sees you 42 5 The ear denotes secondhand knowledge It stands for received tradition The eye represents a direct witness It stands for firsthand experience The answer was so vivid that it was something seen 10 This insight represents the restoration of relationship which Job knew was appropriate for one blameless and upright Here then in visible form is Job s vindication the declaration which said that he was in the right Job had created a dilemma by invoking the mechanism of a legal trial The Lord confronted this matter directly Job s trial could not be held for it presumed that God s actions could be judged on the basis of human morality The Lord challenges Job Will you put even me in the wrong Will you condemn me that you may be justified 40 8 Even this act is an act of grace which displays something of the Creator s righteous dealings with his creatures The Lord challenges only the legal basis for declaring Job innocent not the larger question of Job s integrity throughout his ordeal This allows Job to retreat from his double bind situation with a minimum of humiliation God will not permit himself to be judged in the wrong but he does not mete out a harsh justice to those who wrongly charged him thus Even in the form of the rebuke the Lord is gracious the rhetorical question reproves with gentleness The story of Job concludes with his restoration His public vindication occurs in that God instructs him to intercede on behalf of his friends God s 50 self appointed defenders receive atonement while Job himself is elevated to a position of mediation between the friends and God This action demonstrates God s righteous behavior to all parties This was God s way of declaring that Job was in the right Job for his part continues in right relationship shown in his willingness to intercede for the friends who vilified him The restoration of his family and wealth is not a reward for Job s perseverance God s

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  • Direction: The Renewal of Perception: Romans 12:2 and Post Modernity
    we explore the background of the concept of renewal we discover 58 the term Paul uses is not found in Greek literature prior to his epistles suggesting that Paul most likely coined a new word to describe his unique concept of renewal anakaino The newness of life in Christ proclaimed by Paul is clearly anticipated in the Old Testament Jeremiah looks forward to the day when God will make a new covenant with Israel by putting his laws into their minds and writing them upon their hearts 31 31 33 Similarly Ezekiel proclaims God s promise to give his people a new heart and to put his Spirit in them 36 26 27 Perhaps the reference to renewal in Psalm 51 10 create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit in me anticipates Paul s concept of renewal The concept of renewal during intertestamental times was always linked with God s Spirit and often described a new act of creation Significantly renewal was also descriptive of the conversion process in Judaism though the renewal of human beings was seen as part of the large cosmic process of transformation 25 IMPLICATIONS Though we may not be able to say definitively that Paul s use of nous mirrored the understanding of the term within Greek philosophy and first century Judaism the possibility is clearly present If Paul s use of nous is a reference to that element of a human being that perceived the real essence of things most importantly the presence of the invisible God then the renewal of the nous is a reference to that element of a human being that perceived the real essence of things most importantly the presence of the invisible God then the renewal of the nous would describe the believer s increasingly clearer perception of God and his will for their lives While it would be inappropriate to replace our contemporary understanding of physiology with first century anthropology it is also inappropriate to read our contemporary understanding of the mind back onto Paul Several observations follow based on the implications of reading the text in the way suggested by our brief survey First our ability to clearly perceive God and what he requires is rendered useless by our refusal to acknowledge who God is At the beginning of Paul s letter to the church in Rome he lays out a Greek particularly Stoic understanding of an invisible realm of reality invisible to sense perception which can only be known through the rational power of the mind Rom 1 18 32 26 Paul states that the eternal power and deity of the invisible God are clearly perceivable in the things that have been made 1 19 20 and finally to a mind that is literally unable to test anything The word play in 1 28 suggests that once human beings have tested God and have decided not to acknowledge him their nous becomes worthless and unqualified in its perception The singularity of nous implies that people who reflect God share a 59 common way of perceiving reality It appears that the improper conduct described in 1 29 31 is a direct result of a mind that is no longer able to perceive God s will for life The inability of post modernity to acknowledge the God of truth who stands above our own perspective and experience creates a distortion of reality While post modernity brings helpful correctives to the assumptions of modernity the warning not to be conformed to this age also cautions against the uncritical acceptance of a post modern perspective Second the renewal of the mind is an integral part of God s new creation through the death and resurrection of Christ Believers in Christ are a new creation the old has passed away and the new has come 2 Cor 5 16 17 The resulting transformation brings with it a new perception of reality that reflects the significance of what is unseen not of what is seen of walking by faith not by sight 2 Cor 4 16 18 5 7 Believers participation in this new creation calls for a distinction between life lived according to the ways of the present age Rom 8 5 8 Believers are called to live no longer in the futility of their minds darkened in their understanding alienated from the life of God due to their hardness of heart Eph 4 17 19 Instead they are to put off the old person which belongs to your former manner of life and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new person created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness Eph 4 22 24 27 The renewal of the mind is a radical perceptual shift where everything is viewed differently 28 This affects in particular the distinctions separating people Jew Gentile slave free and male female which are no longer significant for those who are one in Christ Gal 3 28 Col 3 11 1 Cor 12 13 The diversity affirmed by the pluralism of post modernity allows for the development of numerous subcultures which are centered around common experiences and ways of looking at life The church as the body of Christ recognizes the need to be centered on Christ the head of that body Eph 1 22 23 The affirmation of Christ as the center of a new creation which transcends particular community perspectives challenges post modernity s assumption that there is no truth beyond one s own values and beliefs Third it is the Spirit of God who is active in the process of transforming believers by the renewal of the mind 29 In the immediate context of Romans 12 2 Paul uses the term nous when he quotes from Isaiah 40 13 Rom 11 36 With the rhetorical question Who has known the mind of the Lord Paul affirms the mystery behind God s plans for the Jews despite their present rejection

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  • Direction: The Tower of Babel: An Archaeologically Informed Reinterpretation
    hand in a simple mold it consists of very coarse clay with large inclusions of straw and grit Its rim is beveled giving it the name It appears crude and heavy yet occurs more frequently than any other vessel It is unique to the Uruk period being absent both before and after this era The function of the beveled rim bowl is unclear and has been the subject of numerous theses throughout the past several decades Were they used as offering bowls vessels used to produce salt ration containers or vessels used to bake bread No theory has received general consent At first glance the function of the beveled rim bowl may not seem that important But since the Uruk period represents a preliterate society the only evidence for reconstructing what the Uruk social system looked like is the material evidence found in archaeological excavations pottery architecture and nonperishable 68 instruments Therefore whether it served as a ration container for a bureaucratic system of forced labor or a domestic utensil of convenience a sort of ancient day paper ware becomes a pivotal issue The function of the beveled rim bowl then becomes quite significant as part of the document used in proposing answers to the larger question of what type of social system was operative during the Uruk period The debate of the vessel s function is outside the scope of this paper and significant divergence exists on the issue Nevertheless the following interpretation rests on the theory that the beveled rim bowl was in fact part of an administrative system of vassal labor Uruk Irrigation Another important development during the Uruk period was irrigation agriculture An extensive system of canals was developed to utilize water from the Euphrates River for the irrigation of the fertile plains around the river This region was far too arid to provide crops without irrigation but with the harnessing of the Great River what was once a desert flourished into a fertile region of great productivity This development in particular precipitated both the rapid demographic shifts into this agricultural region and the growth of the site of Uruk Irrigation agriculture impacted civilization For the first time in history a group of people had the ability to produce significantly more than they could consume This provided the impetus for at least two portentous transitions a great increase in the region s population density and the rapid and massive increase in commodity trading Uruk Trade and Commerce As the population in southern Mesopotamia increased the need grew for a variety of goods which were not indigenous to this desert region And as the southern population was able to produce a reliable and surplus supply of food staples its ability to procure needed and desired commodities and luxuries through trade also increased In this fertile environment it is no surprise that a highly sophisticated system of trade developed Inventory and accounting techniques followed Trade routes developed between strategically placed support centers And in some scholars opinion the accounting system utilized in the trade industry became the catalyst for the development of writing However it occurred it is clear that during this explosion of urbanization writing became formalized through the cuneiform script Uruk Politics Scholars disagree about the nature of the Uruk political system Some believe that a slightly more advanced system of tribal chiefs existed These chiefs would have operated as chief executive officers over various aspects of society for the benefit of the participants Other scholars perceive the Uruk political system to have been more dictatorial and imperialist in character The arguments and counter arguments regarding this issue are far reaching and lengthy We proceed in our analysis on the understanding that the political system in force during the Uruk period was in fact quite 69 imperialistic This imperialism is evident in the artistic impressions found on clay objects which portray military conflicts and prisoners being taken It can also be detected in the vast geographical area in which Uruk pottery styles dominate sometimes eliminating the local ceramic material The apparent use of forced labor is another indication of the imperialism of the Uruk political system Uruk Cultural Influence One indication of the political strength of a society is its ability to influence the culture of other groups The Uruk culture did more than influence other cultures at times it dominated and suppressed them Southern Mesopotamia was most likely the source of Uruk culture This well populated region represented the cultural elite of society Its inhabitants were most likely recent immigrants who were looking for the good life They participated in and provided for the rapid advance of urbanization For several hundred miles in all directions Uruk culture dominated the local culture The predominance of Uruk architecture and artifacts alongside scarce examples of local material provides evidence that these cities villages are truly Uruk colonies Further away from its southern core Uruk villages and local villages co existed Perhaps the Uruk village was an administrative center used to support procure and administer the trade system On the periphery of the Uruk culture only small outposts existed These outposts recognizable by the presence of Uruk cultural material and pottery are found deep in central Turkey nearly a thousand miles from the city of Uruk It is difficult therefore to overstate the cultural and political impact of the Uruk experiment In no other period of the ancient Near East was such a large geographical region united And in no other period was there such rapid cultural change The Post Uruk Period In spite of the advancements made in cultural and political systems during the Uruk period this phase of history ended shortly and without apparent reason The pottery styles in particular the beveled rim bowl end abruptly Although the cause of this collapse is unknown it is very clear that the Uruk culture ceased to dominate Mesopotamia Jemdet Nasr Period After the Uruk period population increased briefly in southern Mesopotamia during what is known as the Jemdet Nasr

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  • Direction: Publications by Elmer A. Martens
    Genesis Zondervan in Christian Leader Jan 4 1977 16 F M Cross and S Talmon eds Qumran and the History of the Biblical Text Harvard University Press in Christian Scholar s Review 8 2 3 1977 258 60 J Limburg The Prophets and the Powerless John Knox in TSF News and Reviews January 1979 17 78 R Nicole and J R Michaels eds Inerrancy and Common Sense in Christian Leader Aug 1980 12 13 H R Cowles Opening the Old Testament Christian Publications in Mennonite Brethren Herald Oct 9 1981 26 R M Hals Grace and Faith in the Old Testament Augsburg in Journal of Biblical Literature 101 1 March 1982 144 W Brueggemann The Land Fortress in Direction 11 4 Oct 1982 38 40 A R Millard D J Wiseman eds Essays on the Patriarchal Narratives InterVarsity in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 25 2 June 1982 240 41 W S LaSor D A Hubbard F W Bush Old Testament Survey The Message Form and Background of the Old Testament Eerdmans in TSF Bulletin 6 5 May June 1983 19 20 Helga Weippert Schoepfer des Himmels und der Erde Ein Beitrag zur Theologie des Jeremiabuches Katholisches Bibelwerk in Journal of Biblical Literature 102 3 March 1983 471 2 D McKim ed The Authoritative Word Eerdmans in Mennonite Brethren Herald Feb 10 1984 34 M Greenberg Ezekiel 1 20 A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary Doubleday in Christian Scholar s Review 14 1984 63 64 W C Kaiser Jr The Use of the Old Testament in the New in TSF Bulletin Jan Feb 1987 34 35 John Driver Understanding the Atonement for the Mission of the Church Herald in Festival Quarterly Winter 1987 38 Dale Goldsmith New Testament Ethics Brethren in Mission Focus 18 2 June 1990 28 F F Bruce The Canon of Scripture InterVarsity in Christian Scholar s Review 20 2 Dec 1990 191 93 Richard Coggins Introducing the Old Testament Oxford University Press in Interpretation 46 1 Jan 1992 86 Edward Taylor Upon the Types of the Old Testament University of Nebraska Press in Christian Scholar s Review 22 1 Sept 1992 103 4 79 W Brueggemann Old Testament Theology Essays on Structure Theme Text Fortress in Interpretation 48 2 April 1994 191 R L Hubbard R K Johnston and R P Meye eds Studies in Old Testament Theology Word in Themelios 20 3 May 1995 22 Case Studies available from the Case Study Institute The Mennonites and Capital Punishment 1977 The Circle Church and the Threatened Teachers Strike 1977 Getting It Biblically Straight about the Middle East 1977 The Prophet s Letter Jer 27 29 1977 Zerubbabel To Build or Not to Build the Temple 1977 The Aberdeen Heresy Professor Smith and the Pentateuchal Problem 1978 Parable Interpretation Western or Eastern Style 1980 Columns Window on the Bible New Year s in April Christian Leader Feb 4 1975 15 Those Deceptive Patriarchs Christian Leader Feb 18 1975 17 The Bible and Flying Saucers Christian Leader March 4 1975 17 The Canaanites and Playboy Philosophy Christian Leader March 18 1975 17 Loyalty and Ancient Political Treaties Christian Leader April 1 1975 17 Ark Fever Christian Leader April 15 1975 17 A Remarkable Archaeological Find Christian Leader April 12 1977 17 Handmaid A Meal and a Deal Christian Leader April 26 1977 17 Canaanite Songs Gods and Goddesses Christian Leader May 10 1977 11 Hezekiah s Tunnel Christian Leader May 24 1977 17 The Oldest Hebrew Letters Christian Leader June 7 1977 17 A Divorce Settlement at Elephantine Christian Leader July 5 1977 23 80 Some Messianic Surprises Christian Leader Dec 5 1978 18 The Messiah in the Old Testament Christian Leader Dec 19 1978 17 Covenant Yes Contract No Christian Leader July 31 1979 15 Spotlight on Nations Christian Leader April 22 1980 20 The Traveler s Psalm Christian Leader Aug 14 1980 17 From Dan to Beersheba Christian Leader Sept 8 1981 17 Answering a Costa Rican Exod 4 24 25 Christian Leader June 29 1982 15 Guest Columnist Fresno Bee Section B p 7 Justice in Which Victims Count May 3 1992 It s OK to Talk about God June 7 1992 Yearning for Grandchildren July 12 1992 Hospitality to Foreign Students Aug 16 1992 Wanted A Church in Grubbies Sept 20 1992 When We Are Shading the Truth Oct 25 1992 Articles in Church Periodicals 1960s Centennial Inventory Christian Leader Feb 23 1960 3 18 Awake Read Live First award in National Association of Evangelicals sremon writing contest The Bible in National Life United Evangelical Action July 1962 8 10 Also in Seminary Journal l May 1962 5 12 How Can Christian Community Be Established in the City Symposium Mennonite Life Jan 1964 18 20 24 25 Be a Sharp Investor Christian Leader Jan 19 1965 4 5 What Is Involved in Community Outreach Christian Leader Aug 16 1966 4 5 Church Outreach What Is involved Pamphlet Fresno CA Office of Evangelism and Christian Education 6 pp Inspiring Funerals Christian Leader Aug 29 1966 19 A Missing Dimension Christian Leader Nov 7 1967 3 4 Situation Ethics Mennonite Brethren Herald Jan 26 1968 4 5 Also in Christian Leader Jan 30 1968 4 5 Israel The Miracle Country Christian Leader Nov 5 1968 4 5 Also in Mennonite Brethren Herald Nov 15 1968 4 5 Israel Diary Christian Leader Dec 17 1968 18 19 Archaeology in Israel Christian Leader Oct 22 1968 4 5 11 Also in 81 Mennonite Brethren Herald Nov 15 1968 6 7 About Those Christian Clubs on Campus With 1 3 Sept 1968 5 8 Habakkuk s Hang ups Mennonite Brethren Herald April 4 1969 9 18 The Kitteans Are Coming Mennonite Brethren Herald April 18 1969 8 25 The Dragnet Mennonite Brethren Herald May 2 1969 7 22 God s Billboard Mennonite Brethren Herald May 16 1969 7 21 Tell It Like It Really Is Mennonite Brethren Herald May 30 1969 10 11 A Happening Mennonite Brethren

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  • Direction: From the Editors: The Work of Students
    to other issues in which student work is featured During this year we were also made aware of a rare historical find the only two extant letters by Heinrich Huebert the first Mennonite Brethren elder We are pleased to publish an English translation of these two letters courtesy of John B Toews from Regent College in Vancouver British Columbia Our apologies for the late publication of this issue partly due

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  • Direction: Luther and Interpretation in Marlowe and Goethe's Faustian Dramas
    Marlowe includes this incident to emphasize that although the professors motivations for rebelling against authority differ both neglect context and the result is misinterpretation Marlowe s Doctor Faustus suggests that while Faustus and Luther s intentions are admittedly polarized their methods are disturbingly similar and because of their lack of methodological integrity neither professor s efforts yield pure results After calmly discarding the Word based on interpretive fallacy Faustus reverts to language once again filled with biblical echoes He is interested in a world of profit and delight of power of honor of omnipotence 53 54 and his language triggers the words of Mark 8 36 37 For what shall it profit a man if he shall win all the world and lose his own soul Cornelius 238 By the end of his first speech Faustus has displayed intimate knowledge of the Word And by mimicking Luther s methodology however distinct their motivations Faustus has displayed a disturbing similarity to the reformer showing how a slight degradation of Luther s method can lead to an utter contempt for scripture s meaning While different in its narrative from Marlowe s dramatic vision Goethe s Faust contains further comment on interpretation As in Marlowe s play Goethe s Faust begins his monologue entrenched in a gloomy study The professor s dissatisfaction with learning is immediately apparent Faust has mastered the available disciplines even God help him theology and as he reflects on these pursuits he concludes that there is nothing we can know 364 Conceding that he at least does know more than his colleagues parsons and scribes doctors and masters 367 he nonetheless has not found what he presumes are useful answers answers that would make him wise or rich In desolation he decides to quit verbiage mongering and resort to Magic s art 385 377 Behind his withdrawal from academia lies Faust s disillusionment with the written word Language with its asymptotic and illusory nature is suspect and Faust declares his frustration by rejecting the four professions primarily involved with interpretation 3 This suspicion of language serves to legitimize his proposed solution seeing if magic by spirit mouth and might will yield insight Significantly Faust s proposal includes virtually every method of communication except writing Neil Flax in his article The Presence of the Sign in Goethe s Faust charts this growing disillusionment After identifying words as the chief obstacle to a vision of essential reality Faust complains of his long years of confinement among books and 8 papers and library shelves 184 Several elements of Faust s disgust appertain to Luther who although seemingly unrelated to the scene expresses his own similar misgivings about words Like Faust who has discovered words limited communicative power Luther s understanding as described by Bruns is that the text must be elucidated under the Spirit s direction because it is irreducible to its grammatical character it is no longer intelligible purely in terms of the letter inscribed on the page Bruns 148 Luther himself specifying the act of biblical interpretation states Scripture is not understood unless it is brought home that is experienced Bruns 147 Luther claims that words must be experienced in order to be fully clear and Faust can relate he has grown tired of the theoretical distancing caused by his academic pursuits Goethe develops this connection between Faust s disillusionment and Luther s misgivings Both recognize the limits of pure exegesis and seek a more enlightened path It will become clear however that their choice of paths differ Faust turns to nature in an attempt to escape the gloom of his book lined crypt hoping that the experience will release what constrained his Thwarted spirit 410 411 Yet ironically after lamenting the infirmities of language Faust s first thought is to bring along a book He insists on reading Nostradamus text 4 while exploring the revelatory power of nature Literally carrying his discontent with him out the door Faust is stunned by Nostradamus tracings pure and whole 440 The book contains etchings which unlike words seem to him complete continuous and without ambiguity And since his gaze follows the lines of the book rather than God s hand in nature s colorings Faust discovers the creative nature open to his soul rather than the status of creatureliness 441 He does sense the power of nature but while it provides stimulus for this thought he chooses to rue that he is Not like the gods 652 Having sought the revelatory power of nature and finding it lacking Faust turns to meditation wondering if reflection on his own inner condition will produce more insight than his prior endeavors Durrani 57 He reenters his study asserting maxims about love In the act of meditation he finds that love of man for man resurges The love of God is stirred and freed 1184 85 Faust s conclusion that love stems from a rejection of selfish aims even aims as harmless as his thirst for nature seems biblical But Durrani points out that by placing human love first Faust has inverted the order of the two greatest commandments Matt 22 37 39 in his view divine love proceeds directly from a love for his fellow men instead of God s love originating the act Durrani 57 Although Faust has not yet turned a direct eye on scripture he is clearly focused on spiritual matters and on the weaknesses of language He has evaluated 9 and discarded three unrelated options for enlightenment study nature and self reflection and he now turns to the Bible Luther s influence becomes apparent as Faust nearly echoes the Reformer s words appealing in the act of translation To simple honesty of feeling To render it in his dear German speech Heinz Bluhm describes just this kind of personalized translation in an essay on Luther s hermeneutics describing it as transcend ing what is ordinarily meant by the term translation hav ing the stature of primary works of literature They lead

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  • Direction: Approaching a Theology of Malachi
    with a reference to the rising and setting of the sun Despite a corrupt priesthood creation makes Yahweh known The second reference also comes after a tirade against foul worship and Yahweh claims that his name in the present tense is feared among the nations Here the name Lord of Hosts speaks to Yahweh s concern for other nations God will judge the nations and as the royal aspect of the name suggests the Lord of Hosts is supreme and alone in that supremacy 9 The Lord of Hosts should be feared like royalty In the case of Israel fear derives meaning in its relation to Yahweh s anger against them the chosen people 10 The second cycle of accusation also begins with a father image 2 10 3 7 According to Kaiser this image indicates that Malachi s intended audience was his fellow Jews As with 1 6 Kaiser connects the father son image to 17 Israel 11 This view has support As the clan and tribe were the most important social groups for the Hebrew people it is natural to think in terms of parent child relationship Considering the connection to their fathers covenant and Yahweh s wrath in the memory of the exile this image could arguably fill the Hebrew imagination with a sense of familial stability despite the difficulty this message would cause Connecting the cycles of accusation with family brings the message closer to home and therefore strengthens its imperative This cycle deals less with cultic practice and more with adherence to the law The centering image of marriage is also resonant with the theme of covenant Yahweh declares in 2 11 that Judah profaned the sanctuary through an embrace of pluralism by marrying the daughter of a foreign god The marriage theme is carried through 2 14 16 as Yahweh assails corrupt marital practice He accused the priests of committing treachery against their wives and declared I hate divorce 2 16 This declaration is followed by a summary statement where they are accused of wearying Yahweh with words of untruth 2 17 Yahweh has at one level been framing the discourse against the activities of the priesthood in terms of family and marriage As the priesthood functions to transmit both knowledge of God and instruction to the people then it stands to reason that how they manage their private lives is also a manner by which Yahweh is revealed It is out of concern for this process that Yahweh completes the second cycle of accusation with a plan to cleanse The process of cleansing those who neither follow the law or fear God will be swift and painful 3 1 5 This language coupled with the memory of exile and captivity would unlike Glazier McDonald s thesis indicate something deeper than mere literary genre She is correct in arguing that because Yahweh is concerned with cult beginning the purification process with the priesthood is logical 12 But describing that future event as the inverse of the present intellectualized the severity of Yahweh s intent into a seemingly safe and passive event While Malachi obviously belongs to a literary genre worthy of study the use of family images cultic priestly and legal traditions would cut deeper into the psyche of the audience than what is implied by Glazier McDonald Perhaps her intention to study literary devices prevents such analysis but it should be remembered that literary devices are not self existent As we see the cultic priestly and legal traditions are being upheld by Yahweh as ways for all nations to know and fear him Yahweh concludes the second cycle with a pronouncement that he never changes and because of this attribute the sons of Jacob will not be destroyed They will be purified Theologically this expands the notion of knowledge witness and mission of Yahweh beyond cultic practice to the very foundation of Hebrew society the family Marriage is to be respected similarly to how seriously Yahweh 18 should be taken Yahweh makes this principle very clear by declaring I hate divorce 2 16 The only other mention of Yahweh s hatred in the book is in the preamble and it is directed at Esau Esau is an example of someone who sold Yahweh s inheritance to satisfy the mundane appetite Similar perhaps to how the wives were being treated in post exilic Israel Structuring the complaint around family images while focusing on the witness to other nations and adherence to the law these components bring together a more wholistic view of Yahweh s purpose This process is centered on covenant law and accusation his name will be feared the world over starting with the leadership in Israel Again the power of the name of Lord of Hosts is invoked instilling both confidence and fear authority and relationship For Malachi revelation to the nations comes in the form of this military royal missional power it does not come in a tepid pluralistic humanism The third cycle of accusation 3 7 15 expands the target from the priesthood to the whole nation of Israel In doing so the approach which divides Malachi into two parts as represented by Young and Baldwin breaks down For here in chapter three the sin of Israel continues to be expounded upon Again at issue are the statues of Yahweh this time resulting in a call to stop stealing his rightful tithe This section also starts off with a reference to the family by calling attention to their fathers Serving as a time frame by which they can see the depth of their disobedience this reference to family brings their ancestral history into the discussion In many ways this cycle is reminiscent of the other cycles It too has an accusation call to obedience and a future plan The other plan included respectfully a curse and a messenger bringing purification In the third cycle the plan is to have a future blessed by the nations 3 12 There is however

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