Monday, June 18, 2012

Klink and Lockett's Understanding Biblical Theology

I am always on the hunt for good introductory texts, which often serve a dual purpose for me. One, I have an eye towards pedagogy, imagining how useful the text might be for any class that I might teach, and two, how beneficial the text is for me individually, helping me see clearly and make sense of a complicated topic.

Both of these litmus tests are admirably fulfilled in the forthcoming release, Understanding Biblical Theology: A Comparison of Theory and Practice, co-authored by Edward (Mickey) Klink III and Darian Lockett, colleagues at Biola University's Talbot School of Theology, where both serve as Associate Professor of New Testament (Zondervan Academic, Nov. 5, 2012). I want to thank Mickey for being kind enough to send me the proofs of this forthcoming title.

So why should one pick up this book? One, this is an amazingly lucid intro to a very complex topic. At first blush, one may think that the practice of Biblical Theology is a fairly uncomplicated enterprise, but as Klink and Lockett demonstrate clearly, this is not the case. What makes this intro striking is that Klink and Lockett introduce the reader to no less than five interpretive models labeled conveniently:  BT1: Historical Description, BT2: History of Redemption, BT3:Worldview Story, BT4: Canonical Approach, and BT5: Theological Construction, and then ask how each of these models handle topics such as the relationship of the OT to the NT, how each views historical diversity v. theological unity, the scope of the sources permitted, the subject matter (i.e. the 'who') to which the model ultimately points, and finally, how these models handle the relationship between the church and the academy.

Another feature that makes Klink and Lockett's volume so helpful, is that the author's provide in separate chapters, a main proponent of each interpretive model. So, for instance, regarding BT1, James Barr's contributions are evaluated, while in BT4, Brevard Childs and his work are investigated. This really helps the reader to see how these interpretive models are enfleshed and reinforce how the models actually operate. What also makes this section invaluable are the critiques Klink and Lockett provide at the end of these sections. I cannot stress how important this is for the reader. It is so easy to get caught up in many of the methodologies and their proponents, that is easy for the reader to be blinded to the weak spots in each model.

Much more could be said (including the helpful chart in the back of the book that summarizes the book's findings), but a note of appreciation must go to Klink and Lockett  for providing a helpful, well-written, and interesting (!) read of an otherwise complicated topic. The authors skillfully lead the reader to discover each tree in the forest while helping them remember the forest that each tree is in! This is no mean feat indeed.

1 comment:

cryptotheology said...

Thanks for this - looks like a worthwhile read. I'm quite interested in biblical theology, so will look into it.