Covenant, Nuptiality, and the Biblical Vision of Reality
At the heart of Biblical revelation is a vision of creation that is relational and covenantal. It is the reality of covenant that grounds creation. This course will follow a critical analysis of the development trajectory that the theology of covenant takes as it appears in the various moments of Israelite history reaching its fulfillment in Christ. While the theme is adumbrated in the earlier strata of Scripture, it is with the prophets that the nuptial nature of the covenant is explicitly announced and orient us towards its fulfillment in the Messiah, whom the NT presents as the Bridegroom. This ‘ontological’ turn is reinforced by the nuptial dimensions in the Eucharistic and Marian dimensions of the covenant in the NT. At the heart of this study is the relationship of the Old to the New Testament. In examining Pauline theology, the critical issue will be the relationship of law to grace within a covenantal framework. The answer here determines the relationship between law (and of obedient behavior) and salvation. Is salvation predicated on being a member of the covenantal community or is faithful following of the Law essential? Within the OT there is the crucial witness of the prophets who raise a devastating critique against covenantal presumptuousness (“the temple, the temple”) while in the NT there is the struggle within the early Church over the issue of faith vs. works. In particular, the question of antinomism vs. covenantal nomism which deals with the question of legal observance, free will, and grace will be examined. Authors will include Westermann, Wenham, Cassuto, Dumbrell, Eichrodt, Heschel, Hugenberger, Barth, von Balthasar, John Paul II, Ratzinger, Blenkinsopp, N.T. Wright, and Wyschogrod.