Unanswered Questions – Critical Biblical Scholarship

If Calvinism or Negative Theology is true, why is the thrust of Critical Biblical scholarship under the understanding that the Old Testament, in particular, holds no concept of Negative Theology (omnipresense, omnipotence, omniscience, timelessness, immutability, etc)? Do not critics usually focus on their most solid evidence?

Those who confuse the biblical character Yahweh with the “God” constructed by classical western theology may be troubled by the fact that Yahweh is presented in his interactions with humans in the Pentateuch as neither omniscient nor omnipotent. Unacquainted with the god constructed by western theology many centuries later, the biblical narrator( s) felt no such confusion, asserting the great power of Yahweh on the one hand and the absolute freedom of humankind on the other.

Hayes, Christine (2012-10-30). Introduction to the Bible (The Open Yale Courses Series) (Kindle Locations 964-967). Yale University Press. Kindle Edition.

What is most crucial about this relatedness is that Israel’s stock testimony is unconcerned to use a vocabulary that speaks about Yahweh’s own person per se. Israel has little vocabulary for that and little interest in exploring it. Such modest terminology as Israel has for Yahweh’s self might revolve around “Yahweh is holy,” but this sort of language is not normally used, and most often it occurs only in specialized priestly manuals. More important, Israel’s characteristic adjectival vocabulary about Yahweh is completely lacking in terms that have dominated classical theology, such as omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. This sharp contrast suggests that classical theology, insofar as it is dominated by such interpretive categories and such concerns, is engaged in issues that are not crucial for Israel’s testimony about Yahweh and are in fact quite remote from Israel’s primary utterance.

Brueggemann, Walter (2005-07-19). Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy (p. 225). Fortress Press. Kindle Edition.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s