The Epistle to the Hebrews and Christian Theology
Richard Bauckham et al
Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2009 £23.99 456pp
This volume is the fruit of a conference at St Andrew’s on “Scripture and Theology” which brought together leading biblical scholars with systematic theologians in an attempt to bridge the gap between these disciplines. The contributors explore a number of key theological themes in the letter to the Hebrews in (unusually) both ancient and modern contexts. There are some seriously heavyweight thinkers involved here, from Richard Bauckham himself who writes expertly on the divinity of Christ in Hebrews, to John Webster, John Polkinghorne, and Stephen Holmes. The biblical studies angle is provided by well-known commentators such as Harold Attridge (on God in Hebrews), Morna Hooker, and I. Howard Marshall. Others who are known more especially for their ability to reflect theologically on scripture are also represented, such as Daniel Treier and Walter Moberley. This represents just a few of the 25 chapters in this invigorating book, which will hopefully inspire further efforts to integrate theology and biblical studies in the academy. Just the mere existence of a symposium bringing together people from both these disciplines is an encouragement, though it would be good in future to see more theological commentaries and exegetical systematics in the Reformed tradition as a result of such meetings, and not just more mixed-bag edited volumes. That is not to criticise this very worthwhile book, only to encourage us to greater diligence in integrating and harmonising our theological frameworks and the Bible. If this book strengthens our commitment in this area, it will have done a valuable service to both the academy and the church.
This review first appeared in Churchman 126.2 (2012).