the weblog of Alan Knox

Ollenburger: Disagreements in biblical theology are not only academic

Posted by on Feb 22, 2010 in biblical theology | 2 comments

[B]iblical and Old Testament theology are marked by disagreement and debate. This should not surprise us. In the course of more than two centuries, disagreements are bound to emerge regarding the nature and task of any area of academic inquiry, as they have in our case. The reasons for disagreement are not only academic. According to one biblical theologian, “the current crisis in church and theology” could explain why biblical theology commands special interest. In such a situation, he wrote, “many different attempts at biblical theology will have their place.” Indeed, he reported that scholars use the term biblical theology to mean six quite different things, and he tried to chart his own course through that diversity. (Ben C. Ollenburger, “Old Testament Theology before 1933″ in Old Testament Theology: Flowering and Future (Edited by Ben C. Ollenburger; Eisenbrauns, 2004), p. 3)


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  1. 2-22-2010

    I’ve read this through a couple of times and still don’t get it. Can you put the cookies on the bottom shelf (make it simpler)?

  2. 2-22-2010


    Ollenburger’s main point seems to be that the differences we find in both the definitions and methodologies involved in biblical theology are not merely scholarly. Instead, our “church and theology” plays a role as well. In fact, he quotes one author has saying our “church and theology” leads us to disagreement. By “church and theology”, I think he means our theological traditions and backgrounds.