Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer, “THE COMPASSIONATE GOD OF TRADITIONAL JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN EXEGESIS”

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Click on the attachment at the bottom to view Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer, “THE COMPASSIONATE GOD OF TRADITIONAL JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN EXEGESIS,” Tyndale Bulletin 58.2 (2007) 183-207.

The author’s summary of the article follows. Interestingly, the article notes “that Calvin is the one exegete who is reluctant to accredit Noah, Abraham and Moses with any real power to influence God’s plans. It is likely that this disinclination is an expression of Calvin’s belief in predestination.” The author’s survey of Jewish and Christian exegetes would seem to show how contrary Calvinism’s divine determinism is to the text of Scripture, given the exegesis of the vast majority of scholars in texts that imply that human beings can influence God’s plans.

Author’s Summary:

The comparison in the Zohar (Noah, 67b-68a) of Noah, Abraham and
Moses serves as the starting point of this paper. Its aim is to investigate
how traditional Jewish (e.g. the Targum, Midrashim, the Talmud, the
medieval commentators) and Christian (e.g. the New Testament, the
Church Fathers, Luther and Calvin) exegetes interpret the responses of
these three individuals to divine foreknowledge (Gen. 6-7; 18:16-33;
Exod. 32:10-14). Two main responses are suggested – intercession
and/or proclamation of repentance. As shall become apparent,
strikingly similar answers are given. First, foreknowledge is seen by
nearly all scholars, regardless of religious affiliation and historical
background, as a veiled hint at the possibility of influencing God, with
the desired result of cancelling the prediction. Secondly, the majority of
scholars read intercession and/or repentance into these texts to a
greater extent than the texts themselves warrant. This uniformity
suggests that the questions asked are shared by people across the
borders of time and specific denominations. Even so, there are
differences: Jewish scholars tend to emphasise the motif of
intercession, existing or non-existing, on behalf of the guilty, while
Christian ones are more prone to stress the idea of repentance.

Tiemeyer. The Compassionate God of Traditional Jewish and Christian Exegesis