This semester, one of the classes I am taking is OT biblical theology, in which we have been surveying the theologies of important OT scholars. Though I have found particular points of agreement (and disagreement) with all thus far, the one scholar with whom I found myself in more agreement than not has been Claus Westermann. I must admit that I’ve not read his works and base the claim to agreement with him based on our lectures and readings in Hasel’s text.
There are a couple of points on which I found myself resonating with Westermann’s view of OT theology:
- “Westermann sees the task of OT theology as a summarizing and a viewing together of what the whole OT has to say about God,” that “it is illegitimate to elevate one part of the OT to a status of being most important or to interpret the whole on the basis of such concepts as covenant, election, or salvation. To raise the question of the center of the OT means also to go astray, because the OT does not manifest such a centering structure” (Hasel, 91-92).
- “The OT functions in the dialectic of divine address manifested in manifold acts and words and man’s response evidenced also in words and deeds. History (Geschichte) thus involves both God and man” (Hasel, 92).
Certainly these are rather generalized statements, so I am not suggesting that I would even likely agree with Westermann on most issues, but from this starting point I think he’s right on. I would like to eventually read his works and form a much better opinion of his theology, but that will have to wait.
Αυτω η δοξα,