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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound; A scholar examines the meaning of covenant,
This review is from: Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) (Hardcover)Scott's book began as his doctoral thesis. Over a decade later, he has now written this exhaustive and superb book on the meaning of covenant.
Oddly, there has been a "dearth of scholarship...on...covenant research in the Old Testament" (p 17) connected to the research on the historical Jesus. Yet covenant is one of the overarching themes of the bible. "The study of God's covenant in history will consist largely of a series of thematic connections and conceptual links, all of which are related to kinship" (p 21).
There are three kinds of covenant in the bible--kinship, treaty, and grant. Throughout the bible, familial terminology like father, husband, and son are used in connection to covenant.
Scott argues that covenant was a sacred oath which could never be shattered. The penalty for breaking covenant was death (sin). Israel's "identity and mission can be defined in terms of divine sonship (p 91), but Israel was only to be the 'firstborn' son, indicating there would be more.
Indeed, each covenant in Israel's history anticipates and finds fulfillment in the subsequent covenant. As, for example, Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac foreshadows God's willingness to sacrifice his own son. Or as Melchizedek's bringing bread and wine foreshadows Jesus' bread and wine later.
The golden calf episode, in which Israel rejects God and worships an idol instead, is the pivotal event, the 'hinge' as Scott explains, (p 151) which jeopardizes their covenant. It ends the covenant of perpetual priesthood and begins the Levitical covenant which lasts until 70 AD (p159-66).
"The Levitical covenant points to the future hope that God will raise up the Davidic prince messiah to be his firstborn son and thereby reacquire the birthright of the royal priesthood which God will give him by covenant oath" (p 175).
Many mysterious promises are tied to this future Davidic prince messiah. He will reunite the 12 tribes--seemingly impossible, since many of the tribes were forcibly intermarried with gentiles. And it will be an international reign, as attested to even in the Qumran document 4Q504.
With this background information the New Testament is revealed in a new light.
Jesus fulfills all the Davidic promises (p 218-9). And his words are rich with covenantal terminology, as in Luke 22 "I covenant to you, as my Father covenanted to me, a kingdom".
Scott has two chapters on covenant meaning in Galatians and Hebrews, but this review is already too long. Suffice to add that "father-son relationship and its attendant imagery and terminology were consistently present in the portrayal of the divine covenant between God and Israel, in all literary traditions and historical periods" (p 333) and that the meaning of those varied covenant finds fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scott Hahn's exposition of Covenantal Realism,
This review is from: Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) (Hardcover)Dr. Scott Hahn's Kinship by Covenant is a revised and updated version of his 1995 doctoral dissertation Kinship by Covenant: A Biblical Theological Study of the Covenant Types and Texts in the Old and New Testaments published for the Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library.
The great biblical scholar, David Noel Freedman (d. 2008), recognized that Scott Hahn's Kinship by Covenant "adapts Dual Covenant Hypothesis: namely, the apparent contradiction between God's covenant with Abraham and the covenant with Moses on Sinai" (book's preface). Hahn reassesses how the New Covenant authors contrast the various covenants established at Moriah (Abraham and Isaac), Sinai (Law), Moab (Deuteronomy), and Zion/Moriah (New Covenant). Accordingly, the New Covenant does not "supercede" the Mosaic Law--rather the New Covenant, in a sense, "precedes" the Mosaic Covenant by a return to and expansion of the covenant made with Abraham.
Hahn shows appreciation for E.P. Sanders' scholarship regarding covenantal nomism, but he also supplies a subtle criticism of Sanders for not maintaining the "tensions and discontinuity" between Scripture's covenantal relationships (pp. 239-41). Kinship by Covenant also complements the work of N.T. Wright by showing how the Deuteronomic curses relate to the magnanimous conditions of the New Covenant (p. 252 ff).
Hahn expands the work of covenantal scholars Meredith Kline (Reformed) and D.J. McCarthy (Catholic), by demonstrating that the divine economy often begins with a Kinship Covenant (divine promises), moves to a Treaty Covenant (divine law), and then ends in a Grant Covenant (divine oath). This pattern can be mapped as "Adam as created" > "Adam being tested (and failing)" > "Adam receiving promise of redemption" (Gen 3:15). With regard to Abraham, the pattern is Gen 15 (kinship) > Gen 17 (probation) > Gen 22 (grant oath). If we apply it to salvation history: Abraham > Moses > Christ. This pattern follows the natural unfolding of human life that begins with childhood (kinship), moves into adolescence (probation-law), and finally the reception of the father's promise (inheritance-oath-grant).
In sum, Hahn demonstrates that covenantal realism leads to a soteriology based on the divine Sonship of Christ, hence the book's emphasis on Luke 22, Galatians 3-4, and Hebrews. By emphasizing the familial dimension of law and covenant, Hahn establishes the Catholic conviction that a strictly forensic depiction of justification falls short of the language of Scripture. Moreover, the social/familial aspect of salvation highlights the role of the Church as a soteriological category--something that recent Protestant scholarship is beginning to realize.
Kinship by Covenant brings together so many biblical concepts that one finishes the book with two new conclusions: First, Sacred Scripture is much more inner-connected than we previously assumed. Secondly, many of our biblical "gut intuitions" have been confirmed by Hahn's insightful account of covenantal realism.
Reading Kinship by Covenant was very much like reading N.T. Wright's Resurrection of the Son of God. Each is thick and takes time to consume--but that is also true of a fine steak. Kinship by Covenant leaves you wanting more: "Oh no! There are only 50 pages left!"
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!!,
This review is from: Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) (Hardcover)This is the kind of scholarship we need more of. This book is well researched and laid out and written in a way that is easy to follow and easy to understand. Sometimes the author assumes more scholarship on the readers part than is probably actually afforded (such as the New Perspective on Paul) but it is easy to render for yourself these days with internet and lay-friendly books available on Amazon. Other than the few times I had to stop and look something up the book was thick with meaning and deep with theology that was not over my head. I am not a Catholic, the author is, but I found nothing overtly Catholic about this book (I have read some negative comments about this author and his Catholicism). In fact it was informative and "true to scripture" (I am not trying to make that mean more than it is as plainly written). I applaud Dr Hahn for his work and look forward to perusing other books he has authored. May God richly bless our journey for truth.
I would absolutely recommend this book to ANYONE who has an interest in covenants, covenant theology, or simply in understanding the Bible better.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kinship By Covenant,
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extrodinary insight into God's Convenants,
While the material is deep, it can be understood by most Bible students and will add greatly to their understanding. Even a one time through read would create a depth of understanding of God's love and His Covenants with His people that will open up a greater and deeper understanding of the Scriptures. An in-depth study, by a serious student will greatly bless and enhance the study.
Be prepared to have a new awareness and a new openness to Covenant Theology.
James Daffron, PhD
3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Kinship by Covenant,
7 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Over scholarship, Under sense,
For instance, the notion that God would enter a covenant through a ritual that symbolizes "what should happen to me" if I should break this covenant, ie the slaughter and halving of an animal, should set off alarm bells for Dr Hahn, yet he buys it completely and defends it throughout the book. That God needs to refer to something beyond himself to ensure his own faithfulness is ludicrous. Scott provides many scholarly references to defend this position though. But though this act may reflect this notion between two ancient people, it is assumed that this same thought pattern is intended in the covenants with God.
Though Scott defends and champions "Canonical Criticism", he has failed in his own task in this work, as the story of the bible as a whole does not work with the interpretation of the meaning of the ritual of covenant as given. Throughout the whole of salvation history, God attempts to show his people the way back to himself, and ultimately must do it himself in his own person by giving himself totally, to show us the way.
The "inner logic" is this: that in choosing himself as the yardstick for determining good and evil, rather than God, man entered death. In order to return to the life that comes from God, man must die to himself. What the ritual symbolizes then is not what "should happen to me" if I break the covenenat, but rather "let this represent me", let it show my spiritual dying to myself, that I might live in the life giving covenant with God. Because, I cannot actually give my life in this way and live: That is why it was necessary for Christ to die, as it was possible for him, to do this for us what we couldn't do for ourselves. What good is the consequence of the assumption of the meaning of this ritual? : the damage has already been done. It is the un-doing that is needed.
There is much other good in this work though. I especially enjoyed the exposition of Melchisedec. It is the best explanation of him I have ever comes across.
Dr. Hahn mentions that this is the third time he has re-written this book. I'm afraid though, that he has one more revision to go. Next time I hope to read less technical scholarship, and more "inner logic"
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Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) by Scott Hahn (Hardcover - June 16, 2009)