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Title: The Old Testament in Hebrews : exegesis, method and hermeneutics
Author: Ellingworth, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0001 3444 3908
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1977
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The phrase "the understanding of the Old Testament in Hebrews" may be construed in two ways, depending on whether attention is focussed on understanding by the author of Heb. or by ourselves. Both these aspects of the question are the concern of the present study. The exegesis of individual OT and NT writings is a relatively straightforward matter, and even the exegesis of Heb.'s exegesis of the OT is only one degree more complex, so long as the historical-critical presuppositions of present-day exegesis are assumed. It is no part of the purpose of this study to deny the existence or value of these presuppositions: indeed, their place as an essential and positive element in contemporary historical consciousness will be explicitly affirmed. The goal of this study is rather to elucidate the more difficult problems which arise in an attempt to relate such presuppositions, and the type of exegesis which they inform, to the OT exegesis of the writer to the Hebrews, and to the presuppositions, different from our own, on which his exegesis is based. The study is thus concerned with three variables: (1) the OT text, as read in Greek translation by the author of Heb.; (2) the situation of the author of Heb., as reflected in his interpretation of the Septuagint; and (3) elements characteristic of Christian interpretation of Old and New Testaments at the present time, The attempt to relate these three variables raises questions concerning the nature of understanding itself, especially in relation to written texts. As the subtitle of this study indicates, the enquiry includes three stages. The first and longest surveys the evidence for the use of the OT in Heb., the third variable, the situation of the present interpreter, being left provisionally out of account as far as possible. At this stage, the study is indebted to a series of earlier works, the most recent, and probably the most detailed, being F. Schroger's Der Verfasser des Hebraerbruefes als Schriftausleger (1968). Part I of the present study is distinguished from Schroger's, on the one hand by paying less attention to the Hebrew OT text, and on the other hand by examining more fully Heb. 's use of Septua-gintal language, and the LXX context of quotations and verbal allusions in the epistle. Part I is thus concerned, not only with explicit references to particular OT texts, but with the attitude of the epistle as a whole to the OT. An additional merit of Schroger's work is his identification of a variety of exegetical methods, current at the time at which the epistle was written, which its author appears to have used, and his readers appear to have been ready to accept. At this stage, the third, contemporary factor begins to be explicitly introduced, since the exegetical methods in question appear so heterogeneous, and some of them so alien, as to cause problems for the modern reader. Part II therefore examines the nature of exegetical method, asking how far strictly methodological elements may be distinguished from theological, and whether the former may be related to one another in some coherent pattern. Part III addresses itself to the fundamental hermeneutic problem which neither exegesis nor methodological analysis is competent to resolve: namely, that of the nature of understand - itself. This final stage of the enquiry is concerned with relations between all three of the variables mentioned above: namely, Heb. 's understanding of the OT, our understanding of the OT, and our understanding of Heb. (with special reference to its use of the OT). The philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer is used as a guide to what may be considered as fundamental to these and other understanding processes, and conversely, to the definition and understanding of their contrasting features. This study, though itself of a theoretical nature, has grown out of work with Bible translators in European countries, and an earlier concern with the teaching of systematic theology in West Africa. It is the author's experience that in both these spheres, questions are often raised concerning the middle ground of biblical interpretation. It is hoped that the present study may contribute something to their clarification.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available