Tag Archives: Gerhard von Rad

Konrad Schmid: Gerhard von Rad’s Interpretation of Genesis 22

Since it’s still von Rad’s birthday I’ll remind you that Konrad uploaded his 2008 Interpretation essay to Academia.edu some time back. Here. It’s still very much worth reading.

From the perspective of Heilsgeschichte, Gerhard von Rad saw clearly that Genesis 22 deals with the possible annihilation of the covenant promise. A fresh approach to Genesis corroborates this view and demonstrates that innerbiblical exegesis has shaped the message of Genesis 22.

 

On Gerhard von Rad’s Birth Anniversary

Those who are wise learn from their forebears- even if what they learn is to leave them to the side.  Von Rad, however, can never be left aside.  He stands – even now – as the greatest Everest to grace the theological landscape.  And today is the anniversary of his birth.

Gerhard von Rad was a prominent German Old Testament scholar whose work brought back focus to the Old Testament. He was educated at the University of Erlangen and at the University of Tübingen and later received honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Lund, Wales, Leipzig and Glasgow. He also taught at the University of Jena, University of Gottingen, Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg. The Encyclopedia of World Biography notes him as having “developed the ‘tradition history’ approach to the Old Testament that has dominated the study of the Bible for the last 40 years.” His dissertation was on “Das Gottesvolk im Deuteronomium” (The People of God in Deuteronomy).

“The historical events of his lifetime, including the two World Wars, left their mark on him, and it was not least his detestation for the nazis’s treatment of the Jews, which called his interest for OT forth, and he became a member of the academic world in stead of the clergy. Two fields of research are in a special way connected to his name. He was one of the founders of the traditio-historical method. Being one of A. Alt’s doctoral students, history and the development of traditions always played an important part in his research. The historical credo (Deut 26) and its importance for the making of the Hexateuch has made a great impact on the scholarly world. The other field is OT theology, in which he stressed the theology in the transmission of the biblical traditions, in Vol. I the historical tradition and in Vol II the prophetic tradition. His way of doing Theologie was quite different from the traditional German Old Testament Theology.”

“Von Rad’s views were highly controversial, evoking considerable heat. Many of his theories have not stood the test of time, but it would be difficult to find another person who has contributed so much to the understanding of the Old Testament. It may be that in truth he wrote a history of Israelite religion rather than an Old Testament theology, but he insisted that the Hebrew Bible be understood in the context of the religious life of ancient Israel. That is surely a correct insight.”

Lest we forget…

Opinions and Viewpoints

Following you’ll find a list of people whose opinions matter to me and whose viewpoints I value (though not in such a way that I’m willing to slavishly follow them).  I offer said listing in response to a question I was sent on Facebook (itself responding to a posting from earlier today) .  To be precise the question was

If you don’t care about McGrath’s opinion, whose do you care about?

An excellent question.  I answer- the opinions of these:

God, my wife and daughter, my father-in-law and mother in-law, Bob Cargill, Chris Tilling, Israel Finkelstein, Antonio Lombatti, Giovanni Garbini, Niels Peter Lemche, Thomas Thompson, James Crossley, Maurice Casey, Steph Fisher, Philip Davies, and Keith Whitelam.  And that’s pretty much it.

The persons whose viewpoints I value (aside from the above who are all alive whilst these are dead) :

Rudolf Bultmann, Gerhard von Rad, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Johannes Oecolampadius, and Huldrych Zwingli.

To be sure, I value the opinions and viewpoints of others, but when it comes right down to it and everything is boiled to the essentials, these are the core group.  If you didn’t make the list don’t feel too bad.  First, you probably don’t care about my opinion anyway (so you can’t really be too hurt).  And second, you’re in the majority if your opinion isn’t all that important to me.  So there’s that.

Opinions and viewpoints.  If we’re all honest (a virtue virtually abandoned these days) we would all admit that some people mean more to us than others.

On the Anniversary of the Birth of Gerhard von Rad

The greatest assembly of Old Testament Scholars the world has known.

Those who are wise learn from their forebears- even if what they learn is to leave them to the side.  Von Rad, however, can never be left aside.  He stands – even now – as the greatest Everest to grace the theological landscape.

Gerhard von Rad was a prominent German Old Testament scholar whose work brought back focus to the Old Testament. He was educated at the University of Erlangen and at the University of Tübingen and later received honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Lund, Wales, Leipzig and Glasgow. He also taught at the University of Jena, University of Gottingen, Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg. The Encyclopedia of World Biography notes him as having “developed the ‘tradition history’ approach to the Old Testament that has dominated the study of the Bible for the last 40 years.” His dissertation was on “Das Gottesvolk im Deuteronomium” (The People of God in Deuteronomy).

“The historical events of his lifetime, including the two World Wars, left their mark on him, and it was not least his detestation for the nazis’s treatment of the Jews, which called his interest for OT forth, and he became a member of the academic world in stead of the clergy. Two fields of research are in a special way connected to his name. He was one of the founders of the traditio-historical method. Being one of A. Alt’s doctoral students, history and the development of traditions always played an important part in his research. The historical credo (Deut 26) and its importance for the making of the Hexateuch has made a great impact on the scholarly world. The other field is OT theology, in which he stressed the theology in the transmission of the biblical traditions, in Vol. I the historical tradition and in Vol II the prophetic tradition. His way of doing Theologie was quite different from the traditional German Old Testament Theology.”

“Von Rad’s views were highly controversial, evoking considerable heat. Many of his theories have not stood the test of time, but it would be difficult to find another person who has contributed so much to the understanding of the Old Testament. It may be that in truth he wrote a history of Israelite religion rather than an Old Testament theology, but he insisted that the Hebrew Bible be understood in the context of the religious life of ancient Israel. That is surely a correct insight.”

Lest we forget…

Quote of the Day

Gerhard von Rad hat viele Menschen auf völlig neue Weise für das Alte Testament begeistert. –  Frank Crüsemann

Gerhard von Rad and Nazi Germany

Bernard Levinson’s 2008 essay from Interpretation is online here.  It commences

From 1933 until 1945, the Hebrew Bible and the connection between Christianity and Judaism came under attack in Nazi Germany. Gerhard von Rad defended the importance of the Old Testament in a courageous struggle that profoundly influenced his interpretation of the book of Deuteronomy.

Do read it all. You’ll be glad you did.

Remembering Gerhard von Rad on the Anniversary of his Birth

When I was a student in Seminary in the mid 80’s (that’s 1980’s), Gerhard von Rad’s Old Testament Theology (and other works) were required reading.  Having come from an astonishingly conservative (yet amazingly open to education) theological background, I found von Rad simply revolutionary.

Having been introduced to his Theology, I got my hands on everything the Library had which he had written.  It was eye opening and spirit stirring.  His commentary on Genesis (in the Old Testament Library) was the first academically oriented commentary I ever purchased.

I’ve since moved past Gerhard, but I’ve never ceased admiring him and his astonishing achievements in Wisdom Literature, the Prophets, Torah, theology, and even preaching.  Indeed, reading his sermons, even now, is spiritual delight.

The greatest of the 20th century’s Old Testament theologians was born on the 21st of October in 1901.  Modern students may not know him and to their own harm and loss they may not read him, but I for one will never forget him.

Thanks, Gerhard, for guiding me along through a very difficult and challenging time of spiritual and intellectual growth.  I appreciate you.

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