The Hermeneutics of Eschatological Fulfillment in Christ: Biblical-Theological Exegesis in the Epistle to the Hebrews
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New Testament Use of the Old Testament
This dissertation addresses the use of the OT in Hebrews using an author-oriented and biblical-theological approach. The thesis advanced is that the author of Hebrews cites and alludes to the OT in a manner that is warranted by the meanings of the texts in their original contexts, but also develops and clarifies the original meaning in light of progressive biblical-theological development across the canon of Scripture and eschatological fulfillment in Christ. Furthermore, it is argued that an examination of citations and allusions to the OT illumines the biblical-theological framework and hermeneutical presuppositions guiding the author of Hebrews (his “interpretive perspective”) and thus helps guide our interpretation of Scripture today. Chapter 1 introduces the subject of the NT use of the OT, briefly surveys this field, and identifies the issues of the validity and the normativity of the NT hermeneutic as controlling questions in the discussion. Chapter 2 considers the history of research on the use of the OT in Hebrews and establishes the rationale for the present work. Chapter 3 sets forth the methodology for this dissertation, describing the interpretive presuppositions and hermeneutical constraints for “biblical-theological exegesis,” which is the approach employed for this study. Chapter 4 examines the citation of Isaiah 8:17–18 in Hebrews 2:13 and argues that Hebrews’ interpretation of Isaiah 8:17–18 is warranted by the function of Isaiah and his “children” in the original context as typological prefigurements of the Davidic Messiah and the eschatological people of God. Isaiah 8:17–18 is interpreted through the biblical-theological framework of the book of Isaiah’s promises of a new exodus and the eschatological hopes set forth in Psalm 22. Chapter 5 considers the use of Psalm 40:6–8 in Hebrews 10:5–10 and contends that the author of Hebrews reproduces what was already present in his LXX Vorlage, which interpretively renders the Hebrew. Furthermore, it is argued that Hebrews’ interpretation of Psalm 40:6–8 is warranted by redemptive-historical development through a biblical-theological matrix of interconnected texts across the OT canon (Exod 25:9; Ps 110:1, 4; Jer 31:31–34; and Isa 53) and eschatological fulfillment in Christ. Chapter 6 investigates the citation of Habakkuk 2:3–4 (with the introductory allusion to Isa 26:20) in Hebrews 10:37–38 and maintains the author’s interpretation of Habakkuk 2:3–4 goes beyond Habakkuk’s original meaning, but by extending it rather the contravening it. Habakkuk 2:3–4 is shown to be open-ended and eschatological in its orientation, anticipating its fulfillment in Christ’s second coming. Chapter 7 proposes certain allusions in Hebrews and investigates what they reveal about the author’s “interpretive perspective.” First, this chapter posits an allusion to the Abrahamic promise of a “great name” in Hebrews 1:4 and argues that Hebrews understands this promise in light of the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants, now fulfilled in Christ. Second, this chapter maintains that allusions to the new exodus in Hebrews 2:10–18 and 13:20–21 indicate that Hebrews sees the hopes of an eschatological new exodus as fulfilled through Christ’s death and resurrection. Chapter 8 distills the findings of the previous chapters to delineate the author’s hermeneutical principles and describe his “interpretive perspective.” On the basis of this description, a prescriptive framework is set forth for Christian interpreters today to imitate the exegesis of the author of Hebrews.