Conclusions By Fiat
The Son of Man in the Synoptic Tradition, by Heinz Eduard Tödt (Westminster, 1965, 366 pp., $8.50), is reviewed by George Eldon Ladd, professor of New Testament exegesis and theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California.
According to the Gospels, Jesus’ favorite designation for himself and his mission was “Son of Man.” Oscar Cullmann in his important study in Christology suggests that this term is the key to understanding the New Testament picture of Christ. The Gospels show Jesus to be the heavenly Son of Man who will preside in judgment at the end of the age and will vindicate his disciples. Before he fulfills this eschatological role, the Son of Man has appeared in humility among men to serve, and finally to suffer and die.
After a detailed analysis of these three groups of sayings as they are found in the several strata of the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Q, Matthew, and Luke), Tödt concludes that they do not represent the historical facts of Jesus’ ministry but embody history that has undergone radical transformation. Tödt believes that Jesus used the term but that he always spoke of the Son of Man in the third person and by it designated some future eschatological figure, not himself. Jesus believed that the world was shortly to end; and in view of this, he had the authority and the mission of gathering a group of disciples around himself in an intimate fellowship. At the end of the world, the heavenly Son of Man would confirm this fellowship and would vindicate before God the fellowship the disciples had experienced with Jesus.
When Jesus died, says Tödt, this fellowship was ruptured; but the Resurrection restored it. Through the Resurrection, the disciples believed that Jesus was exalted to heaven and that the eschatological Son of Man whose imminent coming Jesus had proclaimed would be Jesus himself. Then, having identified Jesus with the heavenly Son of Man, the early Palestinian community placed the term “Son of Man” on his lips in sayings about his ministering among men, and his suffering and dying. “In spite of the conflict with the whole tradition, the community designated Jesus as the one who acts on earth with full authority by the name Son of Man because Jesus himself had correlated the guarantee of the Son of Man with his own earthly activity” (p. 295). Although differing in numerous details, the conclusion is similar to that of Bultmann and also that of Bornkamm, under whom Tödt did this research for a Heidelberg doctorate in 1956.
Tödt’s basic proof that the Son of Man sayings about serving and suffering are not authentic is the assertion that they cannot be. The combination of ideas of a heavenly, apocalyptic Son of Man and a serving, suffering Son of Man by Jesus is impossible. “An interpretation which assumed that Jesus in the parousia sayings spoke of the Son of Man as of a transcendent figure, whilst he formulated other sayings in which the Son of Man was devoid of all traditional attributes and conceived according to Jesus’ own activity on earth, would face an unsurmountable difficulty” (p. 125). The authenticity of such sayings as Matthew 8:20 and 11:19 is “disproved by their dissimilarity from the authentic parousia sayings of the Son of Man …” (ibid.). The main body of the study is enlarged by seven excursuses, including a refutation of Oscar Cullmann’s treatment of the same theme.
This is the work that projected Tödt into prominence in the German theological world; he is now a professor at Heidelberg. The bulk of the work is detailed exegesis of the Son of Man sayings. The style is heavy, and unfortunately the translation—always a difficult matter—renders the work even more difficult. In numerous places, the German is more intelligible than the English.
This kind of “advanced” criticism involves historical probabilities and the critic’s judgment about what could or could not have been possible. The basic historical issue is not difficult to grasp. The Son of Man in Judaism is a heavenly apocalyptic figure (Daniel 7, Enoch); but in the Gospels, the Son of Man is both a heavenly figure and a serving, suffering man. Somewhere in Christian origins, a creative synthesis of a heavenly and an earthly figure took place. Did this synthesis occur in the creativity of the mind of Jesus, or in the corporate consciousness of the early Palestinian Christian community?
In the mind of the reviewer, in spite of Tödt’s learned arguments, the probability rests with Jesus rather than with the Church. The fact that weighs most heavily in this direction is that we lack evidence that the early Church ever called Jesus by the title “Son of Man.” The term is not used by Paul or in the other New Testament epistles; in Acts it appears only on the lips of Stephen at the moment of death (Acts 7:56). And in all four Gospels, the title is found only on Jesus’ lips; neither his disciples, nor the people, nor the evangelists call him Son of Man. Although Tödt meets this argument head on in Excursus V, his arguments on this point are not convincing. The contradiction in two sentences is more than apparent: “Hence we cannot assume otherwise than that the designation Son of Man was current in the primitive Palestinian community …” (p. 325); “but even in this post-Easter application only Jesus himself was allowed to utter the name Son of Man” (p. 327).
Although Tödt has some telling criticisms of Cullmann’s involved historical reconstruction to explain the preservation of this term, he has not satisfactorily refuted the position that the form of our gospel tradition reflects the consciousness of the early Church that “Son of Man” was a title used only by Jesus of himself.
GEORGE ELDON LADD
No Slick Answers
Let’s Discuss, by J. Hills Cotterill (Scripture Union, 1965, 198 pp., 17s. 6d.), is reviewed by Kenneth T. Jarvis, minister, Winchmore Hill Baptist Church, London, England.
Have you ever groaned inwardly over those difficult questions young people persistently ask? If so, here is a volume to help you. It consists of group discussion material written by an author well qualified by training and experience to deal with young people. Mrs. Cotterill was for several years head of the religious instruction department at one of London’s schools and is now a senior lecturer in divinity and religious education and a youth leader.
The book contains twenty-four topics arranged around the general theme of the Ten Commandments, and its subjects include: “Sunday—a day of don’ts?,” “Is work a necessary evil?,” “Mercy killing,” and “Boy meets girl.” The author likens the material in each topic to a packaged commodity in a self-service store, containing two compartments. The first deals with preparation for the leader and contains general comments on the kind of problems the group may have, an examination of relevant biblical material, and a list of useful books and booklets. The second deals with presentation and gives advice on several ways of leading into the topic, questions that might arise, excellent verbal and visual illustrations, and a summary.
The book does not attempt to give slick answers to teenagers’ questions and problems, but it does face them fairly and squarely. Its material is a mixture of sound common sense and equally sound biblical scholarship. Typical of the author’s approach is a sentence in her first chapter: “Every commandment given by God to man requires comprehension, exploration in depth, then action.”
KENNETH T. JARVIS
Philosophy and Christianity: Philosophical Essays Dedicated to Dr. Herman Dooyeweerd, a symposium (J. H. Kok and North-Holland Publishing Co., 1965, 162 pp., $12), is reviewed by William Young, assistant professor of philosophy, University of Rhode Island, Kingston.
These twenty-nine articles contributed by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and humanist scholars in the fields of philosophy, law, and medical anthropology are an appropriate tribute to Professor Herman Dooyeweerd on his seventieth birthday. Fifteen contributions are in English, the rest in German or French. Richard Kroner strikes a keynote by observing that Dooyeweerd has realized that we can no longer philosophize without considering the question of the relation between philosophy and Christianity. Articles by members of Dooyeweerd’s school, aside from H. G. Stoker’s independent contribution on “Outlines of a Deontology of Scientific Method,” include “le Temps” by J. P. A. Mekkes, “Vom Nutzen und Nachteil einer philosophischen Ethik” by A. Varga von Kibéd, “A Key to the Enigmas of the World?” by P. E. Hughes, “Dooyeweerd’s Contribution to the Historiography of Philosophy” by C. G. Seerveld, “Einige Bemerkungen zum Grundmotif von Natur and Freiheit in Werk Camus’, Jaspers’ und Freuds” by K. J. Popma, “Hauriou and Dooyeweerd” by J. D. Dengerink, and “The Impact of Herman Dooyeweerd’s Christian Philosophy upon Present Day Biological Thought” by J. J. Duyvené de Wit.
Some of the authors honor Dooyeweerd by serious criticism of certain of his major themes. C. A. Van Peursen examines the “meaning” in Dooyeweerd’s thought and questions the doctrine of “states of affairs … the same for every philosopher.” V. Brümmer also addresses himself to the problem of the antithesis between Christian and non-Christian philosophy, methodically reducing the area of essential difference to a class of value-judgments. J. J. Louet Feisser criticizes Dooyeweerd’s critique of Kant’s critical philosophy, rejecting the charge of a fundamental antinomy between natural causality and freedom in Kant’s system and attacking Dooyeweerd’s appeal to “states of affairs in reality” independent of the human subject. A. G. M. Van Melsen, while agreeing with Dooyeweerd that the scientific method as such is based on certain philosophical presuppositions, yet insists that the unanimity within science itself suggests at least a certain relative autonomy. Van Melsen argues for a universal interdependence of theory and praxis, concluding that the internal development of science has had repercussions upon the initial theoretical attitude and even on its religious ground-motives.
Other interesting philosophical contributions not discussing Dooyeweerd’s views are P. A. Verburg’s “Delosis and Clarity,” K. Kuypers’s “Die Frage nach dem Sinn der Geschichte,” J. F. Glastra van Loon’s “Self-defeating Utterances and the Conditionality of Truth,” and “Christian Philosophy in Clement of Alexandria” by Robbers. S. J. H. Kelsen, who was criticized formerly by Dooyeweerd for reducing legal theory to logic, in his article “Law and Logic” swings to the irrationalist extreme of denying that the logical principle of contradiction is applicable to juridical norms. The section on medical anthropology contains articles of interest by W. K. Van Dijk, A. Schlemmer, and A. L. Janse de Jonge.
As is not unprecedented for a volume printed in the Netherlands, typographical mistakes in the English abound (e.g., “cleary,” p. 22; “thougt,” p. 160; “empirial,” p. 161; “frome,” p. 164; “emperical,” “alle,” p. 214; omission of the apostrophe in “Dooyeweerds,” pp. 161, 434, 435).
There is included a helpful bibliography of English, French, and German publications by Dooyeweerd as well as his Dutch publications 1961–1964, and a brief list of some works dealing with Dooyeweerd’s thought.
This handsomely prepared volume gives expression both to the incisive depth of Dooyeweerd’s critical thinking and to the amazingly wide range of his interests. It ought to be read by all who are seriously concerned with the implications of Christianity for philosophy and the special fields of human thought and activity.
The Intemperate Professor and Other Cultural Splenetics, by Russell Kirk (Louisiana State University Press, 1965, 163 pp., $5), is reviewed by Carl F. H. Henry, editor,CHRISTIANITY TODAY.
Russell Kirk’s essays and lectures make good reading on a winter night. They provide an enjoyable window on conservative thought at its best. Dr. Kirk has lectured on more than 200 American campuses, and he has the intellectual vigor, literary power, and delightful humor to deal in force with such subjects as academic freedom, professorial principle, educational reform, scientism and liberal learning, and morals and culture. A man of letters who is at home in the long history of ideas, he is also a discerning scholar who knows how to raise the right questions about some of the doubtful dogmas of the day.
“He who admits no fear of God is really a post-Christian man; for at the heart of Judaism and Christianity lies a holy dread” (p. 74). Kirk recalls how he shared the requirement of the fear of God as the beginning of wisdom with a group of scholars discussing conditions for arriving at scientific truth. “Some gentlemen took this for indecent levity; others, unable to convince themselves that anyone could mean this literally, groped for the presumptive allegorical or symbolical meaning behind my words. But two or three churchgoers in the gathering were not displeased. They were given to passing the collection plate and to looking upon the church as a means to social reform.… ‘Oh no,’ they murmured, ‘not the fear of God. You mean the love of God, don’t you?’ … Theirs was a thoroughly permissive God the Father, properly instructed by Freud.”
CARL F. H. HENRY
In A Hundred Ways
The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, and Content, by Bruce Manning Metzger (Abingdon, 1965, 288 pp., $4.75), is reviewed by Clark H. Pinnock, assistant professor of New Testament, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Every press turning out religious books these days seems to be attempting to provide a complete set of aids to Bible study, and there are many admirable textbooks that introduce the student to the New Testament. But this time, Abingdon has succeeded better than most of its competitors. For Professor Metzger has written a lucid, concise, and exciting volume that serves this purpose brilliantly. His aim was to “present a balanced account that represents the consensus of present-day New Testament scholarship.” In so doing, he reveals the intelligent conservative viewpoint he holds, one that bypasses current destructive fads and features a healthy acceptance of the historical integrity of all the New Testament material. It is a book of basic background information showing balanced judgment and careful, accurate exegesis.
The work falls into three parts: a readable, uncontroversial account of New Testament backgrounds (fifty pages), a perceptive exposition of the life and ministry of Jesus (ninety pages), and a description of the apostolic age and its literature that shows great confidence in the accuracy of Scripture (one hundred pages).
A sampling of his opinions on various issues will illuminate his critical and theological stance. Dr. Metzger adduces the normal arguments for the priority of Mark but lacks confidence in Streeter’s more elaborate four-document hypothesis. Form criticism, he believes, has shown how some modification took place in adapting Jesus’ words and works to new settings, but Metzger insists that these changes were very slight. In his account of the ministry of Jesus, the author readily accepts the chronology of John. In his view, Jesus may have twice cleansed the temple in righteous indignation. Two features of John—the raising of Lazarus and the discourses with the disciples—Metzger relates without a trace of skepticism. For him the bodily resurrection of Jesus was a literal event, the empty tomb a historical fact. He takes pains to point out that Jesus did not teach the “universal fatherhood of God,” and that the Master entertained and taught a very precise and exalted conception of his own person. In a hundred ways, Professor Metzger shows a reverent, believing approach to the Scripture and supports it with excellent proofs. Only with Second Peter does he adopt a position (literary pseudepigraphy) incompatible with biblical infallibility. His treatment of Revelation is perhaps unnecessarily restricted to its historical setting, but after all this is a matter of hermeneutics, not inspiration.
This author is committed to historic Christianity and is quite prepared to stand for supernaturalism where the text requires it. His work is an admirable textbook for college survey courses and for general use.
CLARK H. PINNOCK
The Formation of the New Testament, by Robert M. Grant (Harper and Row, 1965, 194 pp., $4), is reviewed by David H. Wallace, professor of biblical theology, California Baptist Theological Seminary, Covina, California.
The title of the book is not a precise indicator of its contents, for at first glance it appears to retrace the steps of primitive event, oral tradition, documentary development, and finally the emergence of the canon, somewhat in the manner of C. F. D. Moule’s The Birth of the New Testament. However, Grant’s concern is not with the pre-literary stage of the New Testament but rather with the development of the canon of the New Testament itself. Therefore he begins with a discussion of the Scriptures of the earliest Church, the Old Testament, and follows this with a review of the Old Testament canon in Judaism and Christianity. He shows that even among Jews in the first and second centuries the Old Testament canon was in a fluid state.
The balance of the book is given to a careful analysis of the growth of the idea of a New Testament canon within the first three centuries of the Church. Professor Grant is entirely at home with patristic materials and calls up witness after witness to speak to the standing of the New Testament documents in the post-apostolic Church. He points out that at Alexandria the New Testament first began to be regarded as “Scripture” (p. 124). By the end of the second century the basic collection of New Testament documents was completed, with the exception of the Catholic Epistles, which existed under an uncertain reputation. Irenaeus was the first theologian of the Church to declare a fourfold gospel tradition, for up to this time no fixed idea existed about the number of Gospels, a fact that Tatian exploited. An anonymous author writing against the Montanists in 192 was apparently the first to equate the “New Testament” with the specific collection of documents that today bears that name. In the end, the New Testament secured consent by the “Great Church” (p. 185) as to its limits around the sixth century. It is noteworthy that this consensus was achieved without a clearly articulated screening method; canonicity was ascribed on the basis of correct tradition about Jesus Christ and apostolic authorship, although even this latter criterion was not applied in the case of Hebrews.
Grant justifies yet another book on this theme on two considerations: the evidences afforded by the Gnostic documents unearthed in Egypt, and the reassessment of the role of tradition today. Despite the intensely historical character of this study, the author affirms that “divine initiative” is integral with the historical process of the emergence of the New Testament (pp. 185 f.), which is the Church’s credentials concerning its own existence and nature. Perhaps the book should be read in conjunction with Oscar Cullmann’s essay on tradition (paradosis) and its role in the formulation of the canon. Grant’s book ends with the sixth century, but in fact the “problem” of the canon of Scripture is still both theoretically and practically unresolved, as the Council of Trent and modern discussion about the inclusion of the Apocrypha illustrate.
DAVID H. WALLACE
A Short History of the Ancient Near East, by Siegfried J. Schwantes (Baker, 1965, 191 pp., $4.95). A concise, serviceable history. This book won for the author the twenty-fifth-anniversary Baker Book House award.
The Bible Speaks, Volume I, by Hella Taubes, translated by Lolla Bloch (Soncino Press [London], distributed by Books, Inc., 1965, 70 pp., $3.50). A very fine Bible story book marked by loyalty to the Scriptures. With excellent illustrations, a few in color.
Power for Today, compiled by Norman E. Nygaard (Zondervan, 1965, 384 pp., $3.95). A devotional guide for every day of the year, by a host of authors, clerical and lay.
Earnestly Contending for the Faith, by John R. Rice (Sword of the Lord, 1965, 361 pp., $3.50). This is an unusual book. The red, white, and blue cover carries a picture of the author that suggests he is surprised to be there, and the table of contents contains more surprises. Inside the book the author wields “the sword of the Lord,” chiefly against evangelicals, with a finesse reminiscent of Samson.
Perspectives in Evolution, by Robert T. Francoeur (Helicon, 1965, 300 pp., $5.95). A popular (don’t push this word too hard) presentation of the view that time is linear and all things are in a movement of evolution. The Roman Catholic author is a student and admirer of Teilhard de Chardin.
The Apostolic Fathers: A New Translation and Commentary, Volume II: First and Second Clement, by Robert M. Grant and Holt H. Graham (Nelson, 1965, 138 pp., $4).
Psychiatry and Pastoral Care, by Edgar Draper (Prentice-Hall, 1965, 138 pp., $2.95). A general discussion.
No Greater Love, by Wyn Blair Sutphin (John Knox, 1965, 71 pp., $2). The meaning of the Cross in dramatic language.
The Cross of Jesus Christ as a Doctor Sees It, by P. A. Satralker (Carlton Press, 1965, 139 pp., $2.75). A doctor looks at some of the strange physiological aspects of Christ’s death. Interesting and enlightening.
Racism and the Christian Understanding of Man, by George D. Kelsey (Scribners, 1965, 178 pp., $4.50). A provocative study.
Natural Law: A Theological Investigation, by Josef Fuchs, S. J. (Sheed and Ward, 1965, 193 pp., $4.50). A Roman Catholic approach to natural law from the basis of Christian theology.
Christian Seed in Western Soil: Pacific School of Religion Through a Century, by Harland E. Hogue (Pacific School of Religion, 1965, 276 pp., $4.75).
Show Me Thy Glory, by Sarah Anne Jepson (Moody, 1965, 576 pp., $3.95). Brief evangelical devotionals that have something to say.
The Genesis Octapla: Eight English Versions of Genesis in the Tyndale-King James Tradition, edited by Luther A. Weigle (Nelson, 1965, 301 pp., $12.50).
Biblical Backgrounds, by J. McKee Adams, revised by Joseph A. Callaway (Broadman, 1965, 231 pp., $6.50). Long a useful book, now extensively revised.
Social Philosophy, by Martin G. Plattel (Duquesne University, 1965, 346 pp., $7.95). Lectures that develop the theme “existence is co-existence” and discuss such things as the state, work, justice. For the serious student.
A Short History of Greece: From Early Times to 1964, by W. A. Heurtley et al. (Cambridge, 1965, 202 pp., $3.95). A very readable introduction to Greek history.
A History of Christian Thought, Volume I, by Otto W. Heick (Fortress, 1965, 509 pp., $8.75). A competent, factual, and lucid presentation of the history of Christian dogma, but one that lacks a theological engagement and struggle with the issues involved.
Between Sundays, by Richard C. Halverson (Zondervan, 1965, 160 pp., $2.95). Concise, down-to-earth religious essays that show the meaning of Christianity for every man, in any place, any day of the week. Around-the-clock Christianity.
Sometimes I Feel Like a Blob, by Ethel Barrett (Regal Books, 1965, 190 pp., $1). Speaks religious sense to teen-agers, relating Christian truths to their problems. The first of a new line of paperbacks by Gospel Light Publications.
When a Teen Falls in Love and Build a Happy Home with Discipline, by Henry R. Brandt (Scripture Press, 1965, 34 pp. each, $.50 each). From the “Building a Christian Home” series.
How Not to Kill Your Husband, by Kenneth C. Hutchin (Hawthorn, 1965, 284 pp., $1.75). Advice to women on how to keep their men alive. First published in 1962.
How to Save Time in the Ministry, by Leslie B. Flynn (Broadman, 1966, 95 pp., $1.50). Example: get up at four in the morning and pray while you shave.
The Cross and the Creed: The Seven Last Words in Light of the Third Article of the Creed, by David Belgum (Augsburg, 1966, 95 pp., $1.95). Spiritual wisdom in simple language.
The Upper Room Disciplines, 1966, edited by Sulon G. Ferree (Upper Room, 1965, 375 pp., $1).
No Easy Salvation, by R. E. Glaze, Jr. (Broadman, 1966, 71 pp., $1.25).
Crossroads of Lent: Sermons for the Lenten Season, by Robert L. Anderson (Augsburg, 1966, 104 pp., $1.95). Good.
The Unsilent South: Prophetic Preaching in Racial Crisis, edited by Donald W. Shriver, Jr. (John Knox, 1965, 169 pp., $2.25). Southern sermons (most shortened) on race problems, with date and place preached.
Revivalism in America, by William Warren Sweet (Abingdon, 1965, 192 pp., $1.50). First published in 1944.
The Morality of Law, by Lon L. Fuller (Yale University, 1965, 202 pp., $1.45). Storrs Lectures on jurisprudence, Yale Law School, 1963.
Taking Stock: Help for Daily Living, by Theodore S. Smylie (John Knox, 1965, 128 pp., $1.75). Short meditations—very good.
The Archeology of World Religions (three volumes), by Jack Finegan (Princeton University, 1965, 600 pp., $7.95). Extensive coverage, lucid writing. A small library on the non-Christian world religions. First printed in 1952.
The Mediator: A Study of the Central Doctrine of the Christian Faith, by Emil Brunner (Westminster, 1965, 624 pp., $3.25). One of Brunner’s most important works.
Thirty Psalmists: Personalities of the Psalter, by Fleming James, edited by R. Lansing Hicks (Seabury, 1965, 252 pp., $1.95). Scholarly studies that reflect Hermann Gunkel’s study of the Psalms. First published in 1938.
The Pastoral Ministry of Church Officers, by Charlie W. Shedd (John Knox, 1965, 72 pp., $1.25). A provocative booklet that every elder and deacon in the church should read. It might make them work twice as hard.
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