Blomberg on Davids on II Peter and Jude

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Craig Blomberg reviews the new Pillar New Testament Commentary on II Peter and Jude, by Peter Davids. I just got my copy and haven't had time to look at it much, but I'm looking forward to spending a little time in it when we study II Peter in our congregation in August and September.

From what Blomberg says, there's a lot to look forward to. I tend to agree with the few criticisms he offers. I don't know why you would need to think of Jude seeing a writing as canonical for him to quote it, and I'm certainly with Blomberg on the eternal security point. But I don't expect that sort of thing to be the norm.

I should note that, while Blomberg says at the bottom of his review that Davids gets his asterisk for "top pick among detailed but not overly technical commentaries on the English text of these two little epistles", a quick glance at the page he's referring to shows that it doesn't occupy that position alone. Thomas Schreiner's NAC on both epistles to Peter and Jude is still asterisked. I've spent some time in Schreiner's commentary, mostly on I Peter, and it's absolutely excellent. His work on the other two epistles will no doubt be equally good.

6 Comments

Jeremy,
You said,
"I don't know why you would need to think of Jude seeing a writing as canonical for him to quote it..."

Would you at least say Jude saw the writing he quoted as functioning as scripture, or in some way authoritative or edifying for the church?

Also, if we apply the same line of thinking (that just because a NT author quotes a writing doesn't mean they thought it was scripture) to other NT writers would you be prepared to say the NT authors didn't necessarily think the books from the OT that they quoted were scripture?

Blessings,
Bryan L

I haven't read Davids' commentary yet (and I'm not sure when I'll get the chance), but I'm curious as to why Blomberg thinks 2 Pet 2:20 "befits" eternal security better than Davids' suggestion. I think he may be making too much of Peter's "vomit" illustration. Perhaps Davids' talks about it more in his commentary. Either way, I'm anticipating Hafemann's NIGTC release, he's written a lot on the subject of eternal security.

Bryan, I would say that Jude at least thinks that the portions of Enoch and the Testament of Moses (and whatever other documents he quotes or alludes to) are edifying enough in the context he uses them in to warrant his using them as illustrations. But the same might be said of some elements of Star Wars. I wouldn't endorse George Lucas' dualist and impersonal view of the Force, but I might think some of the Jedi's actions serve as a helpful example. Jude may well have thought more highly of what he quotes from these writings, but the mere fact that he quotes them doesn't seem to me to demonstrate much about how highly he thought of the writings as whole works. After all, Paul quotes pagan philosophers favorably several times.

Danny, I wouldn't say that the vomit image can't indicate a return to a pre-conversion state from someone genuinely converted. There's nothing in the image itself that must be taken either way, so it doesn't show absolutely that this statement involves a notion of eternal security. But I'm not sure that's what Blomberg meant. I think he just sees it as a more plausible read on the image. If the pig is returning to its own vomit, it seems as if it still belongs to it, and that's its natural place even after being cleaned up. So I wouldn't press this as if it's absolutely obvious, but I would lean in taking it that way rather than how Davids apparently suggests that it must be taken. (I don't have the time to look at Davids or any other commentary at the moment.)

I would argue that it's such a clear teaching in other places that it's probably best to take it that way here anyway. Even the seemingly clearest cases of falling away passages seem to me, in context, to be doing something other than speaking of genuinely converted people becoming no longer saved. I don't, however, take them all the way many Calvinists do. See my post here.

Jeremy,
How would you consider the way Jude quotes the writers different from how other NT writers quote the OT? It doesn't really seem much different to me.

And again would you be willing to say just because some NT writers quoted something from the OT doesn't mean they thought it was scripture?

Blessings,
Bryan L

Bryan, I'd have to see what Davids says. I don't know if he's making a general claim about quotation or if he thinks there's something about how Jude words these references to other literature, and I'd have to see if I agree with his reasoning. I'm open at this point to several views along the spectrum I've outlined, but I've never studied the book of Jude carefully, so I haven't settled on what I think. But the position Blomberg suggests seems to be one of the possibilities, and if Davids excludes that I'll need to see an argument.

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