Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Reading things into the text

We have proposed that the so-called missiological focus of the Old Testament is typically not found in the text itself but imposed on it by a larger canonical perspective (reading the conceptual categories of the New Testament back into the Old Testament) or a presumed metanarrative (our modern concept of history as progress). In connection with that we have shown that the Old Testament neither indicts nor condemns the nations for their idolatry. The idols are powerless, and it is a covenant violation for Israel to serve them, but the nations are not under the covenant and therefore cannot violate it. Israel’s role as a light to the nations does not give them the task of going out to the nations to convert them but indicates that if they serve well as God’s covenant people, the nations will come to them. Consequently, we can conclude that Israel’s conquest of the Canaanites cannot be interpreted as wiping them out for either their idolatry or for their refusal to join the covenant people.— The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest, 83–84

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