Calling for Papers for Kairos Theological Symposium 2023

What is a symposium? It is 1) A conference or meeting to discuss a particular subject, or 2) A drinking party or convivial discussion, especially as held in ancient Greece after a banquet.

Date of Symposium: Saturday 11 Feb 2023
Venue: Petaling Jaya

Time: 9.00 am to 3.30 pm

I. Kairos Research Centre is convening two theological symposiums for the year 2023 (Feb 2023 and Sept 2023).

II. The symposium will discuss papers addressing issues in 1) Systematic Theology, 2) Biblical Studies, 3) Contemporary Issues and 4) Asian Church History and Mission.

The symposium will be held from 9.00 am to 3.30 pm on Saturday 11 Feb 2023. Five papers will be presented for discussion. Instead of a Greek banquet, there will be free coffee. Lunch will also be provided. Yes, there is still free lunch in today’s world.

III. Calling for Papers
Kairos is calling for papers (2500-4000 words) to be presented at the symposium. Each paper writer-presenter will be given a small honorarium of RM 200. Continue reading “Calling for Papers for Kairos Theological Symposium 2023”

Unity and Composition of Deuteronomy as a Covenant Treaty

“You are standing today, all of you, before the LORD your God…so that you may enter into the sworn covenant of the LORD your God, which the LORD your God is making with you today, that he may establish you today as his people, and that he may be your God, as he promised you, and as he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Deut. 29:10,13

A number of scholars have argued convincingly that there is a relationship in form between the Hebrew covenant and the ancient Near Eastern vassal treaty…

In its classical form, the Near Eastern vassal treaty has the following component parts:

1. Preamble (“These are the words . . .”).
2. Historical Prologue (“antecedent history,” i.e., events leading to and forming the basis of the treaty).
3. General Stipulations (statement of substance concerning the future relationship, which (1) is intimately related to the antecedent history, and (2) summarizes the purpose of the specific stipulations).
4. Specific Stipulations.
5. Divine Witnesses: various deities are called to witness the treaty.
6. Blessings and Curses: relating respectively to the maintenance or breach of the covenant. Continue reading “Unity and Composition of Deuteronomy as a Covenant Treaty”

Reading the Bible as a Covenantal Document

One of the prominent features of contemporary historical criticism is to dissect the bible into discrete units which are taken to represent the earlier historical sources and literary traditions which underlie the biblical text. Having identified these historical sources, critical scholars then analyze how they are pieced together into the various books of the bible. As an example, critical scholars argue that the Pentateuch is a compilation of four originally independent documents: the Jahwist (J), Elohist (E), Deuteronomist (D), and Priestly (P) sources. According to critical scholars, the Pentateuch did not originate with Moses (~1400 BC), but were finally complied by some unknown redactors during the Jewish Babylonian exile (~400 BC).

Presumably, this critical historical exercise would enable scholars to gain insights into the literary intentions or ideological biases of the final redactors of the presently preserved biblical text. This exercise may enable scholars to speculate on the history of the composition of the text. But one wonders whether the critical approach may lead scholars to miss the forest for the trees, that is, to be so focused on the discrete and artificially constructed fragments of the text that they overlook the meaning of the bible which becomes evident when one reads the books of the bible holistically.

An alternative approach to the historical-critical reading of the bible would be to take the bible on its own terms, that is, to read the bible holistically. Meredith Kline argues that such a holistic reading is necessary because the bible is in its literary-formal form a covenantal document, and that biblical canon must be read holistically as a treaty-canon. Continue reading “Reading the Bible as a Covenantal Document”