The Heilsgeschichtliche perspective in modern New Testament theology
In Chapter One we compare significant features of the NT theology of F. C. Baur to that of J. C. K. von Hofmann. The key questions are: What is NT theology? What epistemological position is assumed in NT theological work? What view of history informs the composition of a NT theology? Then we compare W. Wrede and A. Schlatter along the same lines. A fundamental divergence emerges regarding how NT theology is to be undertaken, with Baur-Wrede comprising the basis for a 'critical orthodox' heritage on the one hand and Hofmann-Schlatter representing a contrasting hgl. perspective on the other. In Chapter Two we examine the tension between hgl. and non-hgl. approaches in both OT and NT theology between the World Wars. There is a continuing fundamental divergence in approach in both disciplines which is reflected in the respective oft-heard terms Religionsgeschichte and Hg. While many today see O. Cullmann as the initiator of modern discussion about Hg. , we see that Hg. is a focus of attention in both OT and NT theology well before Cullmann's influence begins to be felt. This is hardly due merely to the intrusion of 19th century philosophy of history into biblical studies. In Chapter Three we continue to document the bifurcation in biblical studies between two basic approaches to NT (and OT) theology. We propose that B. Childs' criticisms of revelation of history fall short of successfully countering the contentions of hgl. proponents in NT (OT) theology. G. von Rad and W. Eichrodt champion problematic approaches to Hg. , while E. Jacob represents a position more in keeping with the parameters established by Hofmann-Schlatter. In NT theology, despite R. Bultmann's profound influence, a number of figures strive for a hgl. synthesis. This is largely independent of the work of Cullmann. In Chapter Four we investigate Cullmann's proposals. We argue that he is inadequately understood when seen as merely imposing a philosophy of history on the NT texts, as has been charged. We compare his contentions to representative major criticisms. Although Cullmann is materially indebted to Hofmann-Schlatter to a negligible degree, it is possible to see formal similarities in their approaches as they contrast to 'critical orthodox' methods. In Chapter Five we steer a course similar to that followed in chapter one. This time however critical orthodoxy's spokesman is R. Bultmann, while hgl. positions are variously represented by M. Albertz, G. Ladd, and L. Goppelt. Bultmann largely carries on in the steps of Baur and Wrede, while Albertz-Ladd-Goppelt, despite mutual differences, carry on a hgl. approach to the NT data. This hgl. approach does not seem I to owe a great deal to Cullmann. That various scholars stemming from somewhat discrete traditions come to comparable conclusions in proposing hgl. alternatives to Bultmann, may speak in favor of the validity of the hgl. outlook, at least as a viable critical option. In the Conclusion we summarize our aims and results. Both OT and NT theology have long been rent by fundamental unresolved methodological questions. Hg. in NT theology needs to be understood more broadly than as a historiographical or theological aberration introduced by Cullmann. The critical orthodox approach, despite its contributions, risks failing to meet its ostensible historical aims out of deference to contemporary philosophical belief. The hgl. perspective seeks a balance between contemporary convictions and the claims of the NT. We suggest areas for further study and list possible specific contributions of the hgl. perspective when seen in contrast to critical orthodoxy.