Sunday, December 28, 2014

2-5-2008 spiritual warfare Part 3 part 2 commentary 2 on the Bible and demons and Driscoll's omission of intertestamental literature.


What I do then in explaining this to them, I tell them, "Look, if you wanna know more about the Bible and what it says about Satan and demons here's what the Bible says."  I give them a list. I send this to them as a pdf. I go from Genesis to Revelation. I just give them all the chapters in the Bible that talk about Satan and demons and all the verses. And some folks who are neatniks they'll just go through the Bible and highlight all the verses and read it for themselves. That's totally fine. I also give them a summary of places they can read if they want to get the highlights.

This will admittedly seem to be a pedantic point that only theologians and biblical scholars might care about but Driscoll tends to be what some would call a Biblicist, only taking seriously what he can consider to come straight out of the Bible. 

But even in Jude the allusions to the books of Enoch were legion enough there were some questions about whether to canonize those books alongside Jude since the author of Jude made a point of quoting them.  Driscoll has adopted without any apparent critical engagement a number of standard interpretive glosses on Isaiah and Ezekiel as referring to Satan that were actually medieval era accretions in the Western church (whether the Eastern Orthodox also took the light-bearer and Tyre passages as oracles regarding Satan could be fielded by Orthodox lurkers if they like).  As Wenatchee The Hatchet has discussed at some length in the past Mark Driscoll's would be Bible-only approach hasn't accounted for either intertestamental literature or later medieval glosses on texts that he presents as strictly addressing the subject of Satan rather than as oracles with political and military significance prior to the existence of Jesus and the rise of early Christianity.

This is more of a general observation that will be non-news to scholars and theologians in general but that lay readers (and Wenatchee is no more than a moderately read layperson) may benefit from.

If you'd like to read up on the history of Christian thought in the West about the devil go grab all the books by Jeffrey Burton Russell in his sweeping series on the subject.  They're great reads.  If you want to read a bit more from a textual scholarly than a history of religion perspective than Suzan Garrett's books The Demise of the Devil and The Temptation of Jesus in Mark's Gospel would be handy references.  Check the spelling for Garrett, though. 

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