As I said I would do yesterday, I want to share the last two paragraphs from T. Michael Law’s When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible (p. 171):
“What would modern Christian theology look like if its theologians returned the Septuagint to the place it occupied at the foundation of the church, or at least began to read it alongside the Hebrew Bible, as a witness to the story of the Bible and in acknowledgment of its role in shaping Christianity? The Septuagint has already affected some of Christian theology, but mostly only where New Testament writers mediate its readings. We saw earlier that the Septuagint, almost exclusively, molds Paul’s theology in Romans, and the same can be said for the author of Hebrews. There may be further ideas still, but because the Septuagint has not attracted significant attention from theologians its value for modern Christian thought it yet unknown.
“A full-scale exploration awaits an energetic thinker, but for now it is interesting that even while interest in the theological interpretation of the Bible is increasing the Septuagint has not been given the part it deserves in the drama of the church’s reception and use of scripture. For those who wish to pursue such questions as a ‘Search for the Christian Bible’ entails, who wish to consider the theological implications of the Septuagint’s role in the history of the church, I have tried to do the work of the historian, and perhaps now the door is open wide enough for the theologians to walk through it.”
Now, I know readers of this blog may wonder if the broader context of Law’s book gives more meaning to these paragraphs, and it does, so I recommend reading it because in some sense it is impossible to respond to Law’s comments here without understanding his fuller argument, but that being said, Law’s questions remain worth pondering. If the Septuagint was influential about early Christianity, and the formation of the Christian Bible, then how does this impact modern theology regarding the Christian Bible. I’ve seen many evangelical types advocate theological and/or canonical readings of the Bible, but as Law mentions earlier in the chapter, most follow the model of Brevard Childs using the Hebrew Bible as the Christian Old Testament. Is this the best way to do Christian biblical/canonical theology? Or does biblical/canonical theology need to be done from the same Bible from which the early Church brought forth doctrines such as the virgin birth, or used to formulate their understanding of Christ’s deity or the nature of the Trinity?
Joel Watts shared some of his thoughts on this topic here.