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An Amusing Way to Spend an Hour

My Hermeneutics Final: "Write an interpretation of the biblical passage provided below. Include in your essay, among other things, attention to genre, context, structure, and biblical theology of the passage. You are limited to one hour and no more."

The passage? Isaiah 27:12-13:

12In that day from the river Euphrates to the Brook of Egypt the LORD will thresh out the grain, and you will be gleaned one by one, O people of Israel. 13And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.
I was really glad that we didn't get something obscure.

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Easy!

Clearly then, it's written to believers in the 21st century (the End Times), telling them that in the last days a literal trumpet (probably in the sky somewhere) will be blown and all of God's chosen people will be returned to the land of Israel for the televised return of Jesus.

Right...that's what I put. I hope I get a good grade! But, seriously, how could I not get an A if I interpret it literally like that?

Exactly. I forgot to add that the "threshing" will be done w/ tanks, biological warfare, and atom bombs.

Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell.

And yet Andrew, you forgot to mention that Eden is hidden somewhere between Euphrates to the "Brook of Egypt" (dude Jacob, what translation is this?) and all evangelicals must return to this area on a quest. Assyria is a natural analogy to Iraq, Saddam Hussein, and basically Arabs and Palestinians at large.

Jacob, are you sure you didn't hyperventilate just a little bit when you read "one hour?"

First, the translation is ESV. I think that most translations call the Brook "wadis," but apparently Packer and the Gang thought that "Brook" was the best choice.

Second, we all had known that we were going to have an hour for the final, but we didn't know what passage we were going to get. So, if it were something simple--say, out of Genesis or a gospel or something--an hour would have been plenty of time. But no, we get this. Loads of fun. :)

Seriously, though, I think that it went, all things considered.

Ah, ESV. My personal favorite, though the NRSV/RSV is a favored one in our department as well. If you want a TNIV for Christmas, I have an extra copy with your name on it!

So I'm very curious to know if you get docked on grading because you have a different eschatological system than your teacher. And as to "brooks," I actually have the hebrew word (nahal I think) on my vocab for the final, and according to the BDB Hebrew-English lexicon, either translation is permitted. However, I'm not real sure what the heck the difference is, or what a wadi is for that matter.

A wadi is a dry riverbed that during the wet season can suddenly fill with rain. They're usually fairly large, so a river gorge would be a fair synonym.

I don't know about Jacob, but my professor for my Revelation Hermeneutics class was accepting of various eschatological opinions, provided that they fit within the theological framework of a specific view. However, if you are at a school that is a specific denomination, then I doubt you can consistently deviate from the accepted theology of that denomination and still get good grades.

You can't just throw anything you think out there, it has to align with an accepted theological tradition. Lots of people decide to be their own theological authority, especially when it comes to eschatology. But "this is what I think it says" is not good theology, or hermeneutics for that matter.

My school, Beeson Divinity School, is equally evangelical as it is interdenominational. So, while they actively recruit students and faculty to have differing opinions on such matters as eschatology (as in Calvinism, gender roles, charismatic gifts, etc...), they wouldn't allow anyone to demythologize the second coming or something like that. So, we have everything from Dispensational Premillenialists to Covenantal Amillenialists. Teachers respect those differences, but at the point where a student's viewpoint goes beyond the pale, that student might have a problem. The professors themselves must sign a statement of orthodoxy, believing in the Apostle's Creed, biblical inerrancy, the full deity and humanity of Jesus, etc...

This mix of orthodoxy and plurality--with a generally Reformed Baptist lean, on the whole--was the main attracting feature of Beeson. I would recommend it to anyone who is planning on entering the ministry one day.

I second that. While I'm still in undergrad, the fact that my school is interdenominational was the deciding factor for me, as I wanted to have a theology degree, and not in a specific tradition. Unity in the essentials, diversity in everything else.

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