the weblog of Alan Knox

Schlatter on biblical theology in context

Posted by on Apr 28, 2010 in biblical theology | Comments Off

[T]he task of New Testament theology is not exhausted with statistics which produce lists of the teachings of Jesus and of his disciples. This kind of procedure would predictably lead to a historically distorted picture, a kind of compendium of abstract, timeless “doctrines” presented as the contents of a consciousness that was cut off from choices and actions. Jesus and his disciples, however, did not bear and transmit their ideas in this way. In order to observe rightly we must illumine the context which generated their thoughts and into which their thoughts immediately reentered as the basis of their work. To that extent the historian also has the task to explain, not just to report. He would lessen the grounded awareness provided by his subject if he did not also grasp the causal processes which make his subject visible. (Adolf Schlatter, The History of the Christ: The Foundation of New Testament Theology, translated by Andreas Köstenberger, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997, p 19)