Historical theology or Biblical theology?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by MorseOp, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. MorseOp

    MorseOp
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    A friend of mine wrote the following:

    There is a difference between understanding scripture in historical context and forcing historical context upon scripture. For example, John's narrative about Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3 is understood better when viewed through the lens of then-contemporary Judaism. It allows the reader to recognize the difficulty Nicodemus, a pharisee, was having understanding the words of Jesus. However, if we force historical context upon the narrative we can conclude that John 3:16 only applies to the dispersion of Jews through the Mediterranean region; and believe it or not there are some who actually teach that Jesus' statement in John 3:16 was basically Jewish in nature and not meant for the Gentile world.

    We must always start with the text. As soon as we add "historical context" to interpretation it becomes "historical theology", and we have introduced human logic. We are not seeking to understand the text alone. Historical context adds flavor and texture to the text, but it does not interpret the text.
     
  2. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    I don't think you and your friend understand historical theology. I can't tell a lot from the quote (it needs more context) but I think you're discussion below confuses biblical criticism with historical theology.

    Historical theology is the study of theology (generally since the apostolic era) to understand the thinkers and movements that shaped and formulated theological expression. It generally doesn't deal with the biblical text too much.
     
  3. Greektim

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    I was thinking the same thing... that and a misunderstanding of the discipline of biblical theology. Not to mention that this person is more focused on interpreting the event rather than the text. A (the?) prominent question should be, "What did John mean for his context or audience to understand?"
     
  4. Van

    Van
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    While it may be valid to observe that how MorseOP used the term "historical theology" is not how how the phrase is used, PreacherinJesus hit the nail on the head, we should still address the idea being expressed in the opening post.

    The actual idea was that John 3:16 is understood by some as referring only to Jews, claiming that this view is necessitated by the historical context, whereas others believe "world" refers to fallen mankind, Jews and Gentiles.

    It is a good question, and should not be sidestepped.
     
  5. Yeshua1

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    isn't historical theology basically the listing of what has been seen as being "orthodox theology" during the Church Age?

    And isn't it what the scriptures actually said and mean compared to the totality of the Bible, not to just what audience might have heard it meaning?
     

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