What’s the difference between symbolism and allegory?
I very much appreciate your keen eye for typology and the like. As a pastor, I continually find myself thinking “That’s cool. So what?” I know that’s what many of my parishioners are thinking, so I try to show the importance and application of intertextual connections. I’d very much like to hear your reflections on the pastoral value of typology.
Today, I talk to James Bejon about the book of Judges. You should follow him on Twitter.
How should Gentile Christians situate themselves when listening to the New Testament’s many sections which were originally directed towards Jewish Christians, but seem now in many ways to apply to Gentiles who have been raised in the the faith?
For example, large sections of Romans are clearly directed at Jewish believers (e.g. Romans 2:17-29), with the basic thrust here and elsewhere being the dangers for those who use the law to justify themselves whilst condemning others.
However, with most churches across the world now being predominantly or wholly Gentile, there will be few, if any, converted Jews in the congregation to create this tension. These passages, then, are usually reapplied as a warning to mature Gentile believers not to look down on others.
The logic of this “re-application” is obvious, as mature Gentile believers, standing atop centuries of Christendom, do find the religious Jews addressed by Paul easier to relate to than the recently converted, formerly idolatrous Gentiles he addresses elsewhere – and yet to identify with them seems to do a violence to both the text, and the categories of Jew and Gentile which God has created. Even though the dividing wall has been torn down in Christ, both categories still exist and matter in some sense. As a Gentile Christian, though my felt experience may be as an “older brother”, the reality and categories of salvation history inescapably categorise me as a “younger brother”.
However, if one preached and taught these sections with exclusive reference to Jewish Christians in congregations where you will never actually have any Jewish Christians, I imagine the result would be a lot of sermons directed at people who aren’t there!
How then should we Gentiles situate ourselves when applying these texts?”
In this episode of the Theopolis Podcast, Peter Leithart and I continue our discussion of the Song of Songs, considering the significance of eros in our theology and interpretation.
You can follow the Theopolis podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, and on most podcast apps. You can read show notes over on the Theopolis podcast website. You can also see past episodes I have contributed to by clicking the ‘Theopolis Podcast’ link in the bar above.
In this episode of the Theopolis Podcast, Peter Leithart and I discuss arguments in favour of an allegorical reading of the Song of Songs.
You can follow the Theopolis podcast on Soundcloud, iTunes, and on most podcast apps. You can read show notes over on the Theopolis podcast website. You can also see past episodes I have contributed to by clicking the ‘Theopolis Podcast’ link in the bar above
I was recently interviewed by Michael Plato over at the new Crossing Borders podcast. We chatted about issues such as biblical hermeneutics and Jordan Peterson. Take a listen here.
I would like to ask a two-part question: (a) could you give a defense from the Scripture for figural preaching and typological reading; (b) how would you respond to the criticism of typological exegesis as a way seeking hidden meanings and connection that probably no one else has noticed, thus focused a lot on novelty?
Why does Paul say that Sarah and Hagar represent two covenants in Galatians 4:21-31? Where can we see this reality in the Old Testament?