The Hermeneutics of Unity in and after Scripture 2022: Genesis 4–11: Session II
When: June 9, 2022, 9:00 am - Thursday
Where: Swang 232
The “Hermeneutics of Unity in and after Scripture” session explores the hermeneutics of unity involved in the reception of earlier texts by later ones within the biblical corpus, as well as by other authors and communities in Second Temple Judaism, early Christianity, and more contemporary periods. Across this literature, focused attention is given to the nature of the hermeneutic employed to foster and protect continued unity within each respective interpreting community. This year’s sessions treat the reception of Gen 4–11 and welcome explorations of the hermeneutics of unity, whether that unity moves toward positive or negative ends.
Jared Saltz, Florida College, “Unity and Exclusivity: The Table of Nations and Fictive Kinships in the Hellenistic World”
Throughout the ancient Mediterranean world, fictive kinships allowed people groups to form alliances with those previously considered “other.” By “discovering” ancient familial bonds, genealogies like those found in the Table of Nations (Gen 10) were used to emphasize exclusivity and unity. This paper will focus on the Greek and Jewish readings of Israel’s connections to Egypt and Sparta based on their adoption of elements from Genesis 10 and suggest how such readings might provide hints for how we today might seek unity in exclusivity with others.
Jeff Childers, Abilene Christian University, “‘In the Guise of Wrath Did He Give the Riches of His Beneficence’: The Drama of Divine Pedagogy in Early Syrian Interpretations of Genesis 11:1–9”
With the understanding that Christianity was a form of learning, early Syrian tradition exegetes read the narrative of scripture as a drama of divine pedagogy. The wise may receive instruction through the lessons God sought to teach humanity in ages past. This paper focuses on the ways early Syrian exegetes construed God’s actions at Babel (Gen 11:1–9), with particular focus on Ephrem the Syrian, Narsai of Nisibis and Jacob of Sarug. In their interrelated yet distinct approaches, an act of divine judgment is seen to be an expression of God’s manifold mercy, pregnant with compassionate instruction for the discerning.
John Mark Hicks, Lipscomb University, “Resisting Babel: A Polemic Against Imperial Power”
The Tower of Babel is the climactic moment of human degeneration that contextualizes the call of Abraham. This paper offers a canonical intertextual reading that yields a particular theological polemic against Empire as idolatry. The paper extends this theological reading toward missional performance through attending to its reception history in Latin America as well as within a particular strain of the Stone-Campbell Movement. Somewhat surprisingly, one finds a united front in both of these traditions against imperial power for the sake of God’s elect, the poor.
David Stark, Faulkner University, Convener
- Jeff Childers, Abilene Christian University, "'In the Guise of Wrath Did He Give the Riches of His Beneficence': The Drama of Divine Pedagogy in Early Syrian Interpretations of Genesis 11:1–9"
- John Mark Hicks, Lipscomb University, "Resisting Babel: A Polemic Against Imperial Power"
- Daniel Oden, Harding University, Response