Memory and Authority This paper has two goals.

First, we will argue from the Decalogue that for ancient Israel authority of the Torah and the history of Israel cannot be conceptually separated, as the Decalogue is a treaty between God and Israel predicated on His redemption of the people from slavery in Egypt; this warrants our tying together of Scriptural authority and tradition. Second, we argue from the following chapter that Deuteronomy explicitly links God‟s commandments and God‟s redemption of Israel; this warrants our rejection of referential priority in meaning, because when questioned about the meaning of the commandments, they are advised to answer primarily in terms of the redemptive history after which the Torah came. That is, Deuteronomy describes the nature of the Torah‟s authority in a way that very closely resembles the status of tradition in our account of traditioned thought. Accordingly, we want to show here that Scripture‟s authority is the authority of a tradition rather than that of an ahistorical system of cognitively affirmed propositions. After making this argument from the text of Scripture, we want to navigate contemporary philosophical and theological sources in order to answer more specific questions. First, this part of the paper will briefly introduce the broad strokes of Martin Heidegger‟s understanding on human nature as necessarily historical. Second, Robert Brandom‟s treatment of historicist rationality w ill provide resources for putting stricter contours on Heidegger‟s account. Third, we will employ this fram ework gleaned from Heidegger and Brandom to analyze contemporary theological sources: Nicholas Wolterstorff, Kevin Vanhoozer, and Daniel Treier. These philosophers and theologians will not overturn or significantly alter the conclusions gleaned from Deuteronomy, but rather they will specify and clarify its claims. PART I: ANCIENT AUTHORITY: DEUTERONOMY ON MEMORY Deuteronomy 5: Holiness and History I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath


We present these passages without verse divisions in order to present them in a form closer to the original. and He. but they have been deleterious in hermeneutics. or your son or your daughter. verse divisions have been helpful in easily referencing passages. In other words. there is alDeuteronomy 5:6-21 NRSV (all translation from NRSV unless otherwise noted). is the lord of their newly formed (national) identity. and 16 integrate life and well-being for both the individual and the generations to follow. or donkey. as they encourage reading verses outside of their literary context. the full importance of the Decalogue cannot be separated from these related themes. 1 2 . That is. the children of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Second.1 Note that interspersed throughout the commandments are various commentaries that describe the rationale for the commandments. God established a tradition with Abraham by making a promise to bless his descendants and the world through them. and intertwine. But that tradition also interacted with and appropriated concepts and practices from surrounding traditions. the link between obedience and life (Genesis 3:3). verses 9. you shall not do any work—you. and promise to. therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day. the text should be read as a continuous whole rather than as a sequence of one-liners to be cherry-picked. or the resident alien in your towns. Third. First. this passage links the commandments to various other concepts and ideas familiar to Israel: representing God‟s holiness (Genesis 1:26f). or the LORD your God. or male or female slave. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor. a frequently used covenantal structure between vassals and lords of the time. While much could be said regarding the similarities and differences between this treaty and others. Neither shall you commit adultery. so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. Honor your father and your mother. In other words. or your male or female slave. overlap.e. for each person as well as each society. one point is worth holding in place along the way for the sake of the hermeneutical theory we want to defend. Before discussing these elements in turn. This means that influences (i. You shall not murder. or field. as the LORD your God commanded you. Note that the form of the covenant on which Moses here sermonizes follows the form of a suzerain treaty. and the tradition of God‟s history with. but rather they intersect. 10. or any of your livestock. traditions) never exist in isolation. one point sticks out for our purposes: namely the most obvious point that God and the Israelites communicated by appropriating human traditions. That is. in verses 6. He claimed them as His people. Neither shall you steal. or your ox or your donkey. verses 6 and 7 highlight God‟s uniqueness—His holiness. However. therefore. 14 and 15 we read the precedence for the entire the Decalogue: God brought them from Egypt. Neither shall you covet your neighbor‟s wife. so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. Neither shall you desire your neig hbor‟s house. and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.

Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. we are claiming that the texts here present God‟s deposit in terms of their tradition so we are opting to use those terms over metaphysical terms. and Jacob. Now come the protests. The other disorder goes the other extreme and understands Scripture solely by virtue of its use. This appeal to “sanctification” may strike some as exclusive focus on the supernatural but he disa llows that reading: “Talk of the biblical texts as Holy Scripture thus indicates a two-fold conviction. methodologically. eternal truth. John Webster wants to navigate between two extremes. recall the original promise to Abraham—that “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). only one holds a unique position of authority. Regarding the holiness of Scripture. In other words.” On the one hand. Isaac. and interpretation while also referring to the divine grace by which God sanctifies those processes for His purposes.2 Accordingly.ways one tradition that seems to take the lead and subsume the other elements from other traditions under its paradigm. then what makes it authoritative over human traditions? What makes it binding for us now? Moreover. That is. “the texts‟ place in 2 John Webster. eternal deposit of truths that take on a cultural incarnation. that cannot be answered until after we allow for more commentary and immersion in the text. God‟s history—as the God of Abraham. Rather. two disorders. the text presents itself as a history and a tradition and should be understood in those terms. the manifestation of God here does not take the form of a timeless.” On the other hand. Recall that three elements of rationale emerged in the intratextual commentary on the commandments. 6. no appeals to timeless truths are needed to explain the authority of this tradition over others. By one disorder. “the texts are not simply „natural‟ entities. as he calls them. From this we can see a general warrant for likewise subsuming contemporary ideas to that tradition. so long as conceptual coherence is sustained. while many traditions may be actively appropriated. Therefore. If we are not to treat God‟s revelation as a timeless. As per the third question. canonization. 2003). as the God who brought them out of Egypt—is here drawing upon ancient Near Eastern legal language and putting it to work to explicate the meanings of that divine history. This means that internal to the tradition itself is an expectation that it will be a blessing to all traditions throughout time and space. his account seeks to understand Scripture as simultaneously a reference to the very human process of writing. Scripture has been separated from its place in its reception by the community of faith. how do we separate what is eternally binding for us now from what is uniquely cultural to the ancient Israelites? As per the first question. 3 . We see that happening here for Israel. As per the second question.

The comparison obviously fails on some levels. the answer to this comes down to the unique way in which God‟s discourse sets a norm in a way that mine cannot.” 3 By this understanding of sanctification. Obedience to God. But what demarcates the difference between the way Moses speaks on God‟s behalf and the way I speak on Klemick‟s behalf? In short. 55f. Often. and I can write speaking for him. other times. Holy Scripture. Klemick can “obey” in this very limited sense and then go on as he wills. canonize. 4 . God demands specific responses from His people for their full life. Webster. we can give a very mundane example to demonstrate at least the possibility of a multi-layered authorship. Moses would speak of his own choice of words but led by what God had explicitly said. but the main point shows that Klemick can write speaking for me. So. I can only demand from Klemick specific responses relative to writing this work. The work that Griffin Klemick and I have been doing in collaboration exemplifies this possibility. but saying that humans are active by no means excludes saying that God is also active in the same processes. especially in the cases of prophetic authorization. I do so with the mentality that he may challenge me at any point and amend claims ash he sees fit until we work out the disagreements and come to a position we both endorse. Holy Scripture. the Spirit‟s sanctifying work. and the church‟s faithful submission to. Webster claims that the authority of Scripture can only be understood within the cluster of concepts such as God‟s authorizing work. when I write. the sermons of Deuteronomy for example. The initial giving of the Decalogue exemplifies this well. this would come in the form of God giving Moses sp ecific messages to take to Israel. first and foremost to God 3 4 Webster. Webster wants to fall between the two extremes. Thus. Then. When Klemick writes his chapters or parts of chapters he does so knowing that he is writing not just on his behalf but mine as well.the divine economy does not entail their withdrawal from the realm of human processes.4 The structure of the Decalogue exemplifies this scope of obedience. and proclamation of. and then edit them to reflect my clarifications. 27. he will contact me. by contrast. and interpret Scripture. before writing. God spoke to Moses and Aaron so that they would in turn speak on God‟s behalf to Israel. humans truly do write. Similarly. italics original. While much theological ink has been spent writing on the nature of this divine-human agency. in the editing stages. ask me about ambiguous claims in my drafts. In other words. The tradition of human response to divine grace often works in a similar form. the gospel of Christ. means no less than having one‟s full life oriented by that relationship to God. we talk about the ideas and come to an agreed position and plan to articulate that position.

rather than other national gods. out of the house of slavery. 7 Deuteronomy 5:11 (ESV).”5 Moreover.and then by repercussions to all of familial. I am the LORD your God. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. Israel represents God to all other kingdoms. 5 6 5 . For this reason. and personal life. briefly stating norms for a functional faithful society. showing that 17-21 textually belong together as a unity. The first cluster of the Decalogue begins with this historical preamble. Rather. verses 12-16 thematically segue between relationship toward God and natural relationships. and redeemed you from the house of slavery. Accordingly. this one warns them not to forget that the LORD. hypocrisy and apostasy are closer linked than we are willing to admit. they are to consistently represent God as His priestly kingdom. Verses 6-11 all pertain to Israel‟s relationship to God. who brought you out of the land of Egypt. They are to keep themselves from other nations‟ gods and from those they might invent. which means that disobedience reflects back on not only the individual but on the nation as a whole and on the God who established the nation.8 In short. rescued them. You shall not make for yourself an idol. Israel only exists now because God rescued them and established them as an independent nation: “ It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the LORD set his heart on you and chose you—for you were the fewest of all peoples.”6 In other words. with 21 cutting past externally visible actions and even commanding against specific intentions. 8 See Amos 2:6-8 and 5:21-24. you shall have no other gods before me. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. Where the first commandment tells Israel to remember that the LORD. from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand. As His priestly nation. or your son or your Deuteronomy 7:7f. It was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath that he swore to your ancestors. even that promise cam with specific expectations: “you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. rescued them. Exodus 19:6.7 Disobedience is not simply a matter of an occasional misbehavior. you shall not do any work—you. social. proper reverence for God means to represent His name as he represented Himself to Israel: as gracious redeemer. the prophets frequently linked idolatry and social injustice. rather than their own innovated deities. this first commandment would have been understood by the Israelites as entailing the promise made to Abraham and the expectation that the fulfillment of that promise would involve his descendents‟ representing Him to the nations. and verses 18-21 begin with the waw-conjunction.

Honor your father and your mother. and children with the grace shown to them.daughter. Ending on this note rings the chord by which they are to understand the depth of true obedience. Relating to God and representing Him require consistent fidelity in word and deed. The specific rationale of “so it that your days may be long” thus mean not that children‟s lives will be short if they disobey. Intergenerational relationships are to likewise exemplify the grace that God has shown. Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor. This grace learned and fostered in the family unity then extends to other social and judicial relationships. so this was not a verse intended for use by parents to reproach their children. Neither shall you steal. heard. or your ox or your donkey. note that the final commandment presses obedience past external performance. and so on. so that your days may be long. or male or female slave. as they are now in a position of power. he reminded them of an inchoate motif undergirding the entire Decalogue and prophetic movement: obedience cannot merely be performed. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. it means that intergenerational strife will upset the legacy of the family as abuses foster further abuses and honor fosters honor. He did not. not that these verses all appear with conjunctions to link them. Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house. the parents themselves are to honor their fathers and mothers so as to set the model and exemplar for how the children will treat them in their old age. As an exegetical point. and understood as a united network of commands. In this way. Neither shall you commit adultery. Rather. or anything that belongs to your neighbor. or ox. as some read it. or any of your livestock. You shall not murder. or donkey. To put it in contemporary terms. we can see the logic operating throughout the Decalogue. Thus. not only in the temple or in the family but also in the full scope in interpersonal relationships. Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife. radicalize the commandments regarding murder. Keep in mind that these commandments were addressed to the heads of the household. Rather. livestock. However. they are to remember that they had been overpowered and oppressed. they are to be read. Rather. or field. God redeemed them from Egypt so that they might rest and flourish. as the LORD your God commanded you. or the resident alien in your towns. so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. God rescued Israel from being slaves and redeemed them—to fulfill the promise made to their ancestors—for the purpose of 6 . Jesus‟ Sermon on the Mount famously accentuated this dynamic of the Torah. they are to emulate the grace of God rather than the powers from which He saved them. they are to also treat their own slaves. Thus. Here the faithful representation of God links up with the tradition of divine grace. adultery. “obedience” has an existential meaning rather than a behaviorist one. Let no mistake be made: God‟s commandments extend not only to word and deed but even to thought and desire. or your male or female slave.

against Pharaoh and all his household. as the LORD.10 The LORD (the God on their ancestors. Who Israel is is defined by what God has done. so that it may go well with you. “What is the meaning of the decrees and the statutes and the ordinances that the Lord our God has commanded you?” then you shall say to your children. as is now the case. 95. He brought us out from there in order to bring us in. soteriology. the LORD alone. and with all your soul. 2009). But this explication so far does not yet say how Israel is expected to norm itself to that tradition.” The internal onomatopoeia of the same few vowels and the repetition of adonai allows this to be very easily set to memory. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away. to give us the land that he promised on oath to our ancestors. Then the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes. O Israel: The LORD is our God. and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you. and theology converge. to fear the LORD our God. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart.9 When your children ask you in time to come. Accordingly. Deuteronomy 6: Holy History and Traditioned Thought Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the ordinances—that the LORD your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy. and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey. 20-25. so as to keep us alive. the LORD alone. This explicates in tandem the motifs of holiness and life by way of appealing to the tradition of God‟s grace to Israel. Telford Work. we keep reading. 9 10 Deuteronomy 6:1-7. The Shema in verse 4 summarizes and crystallizes the content and logic of the Torah. for our lasting good. when you lie down and when you rise. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible (Grand Rapids: Brazos. The LORD displayed before our eyes great and awesome signs and wonders against Egypt. who promised to make a great nation from Abraham‟s li neage and who brought them out of Egypt) is our God—ecclesiology. so that you and your children and your children‟s children may fear the LORD your God all the days of your life. Here the realms of ecclesiology. and with all your might. O Israel. Hear.being priests. their existence. The LORD is our God. Hear therefore. has promised you. 7 . Such a structure indicates that Moses intended this to be not simply a pithy line in his sermon but memorized and recited. they can only flourish by living faithfully to what God has done for them. and observe them diligently. but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. “We were Pharaoh‟s slaves in Egypt. the God of your ancestors. For this. Deuteronomy. Also note that the repetition and poetic structure of the Shema indicate their intended use in catechesis: “Shema yishrael adonai eleheynu adonai echad. His grace is their identity. so that your days may be long. By redeeming Israel and offering them a promised land—soteriology—YHWH presents himself as the God alone to whom they owe thanksgiving and fidelity.

Block has suggested Animals are often likewise described as nephesh. “Seat of emotions and passions” also appears (151) times. As if the final line of the Decalogue were not clear enough about the depth of what obedience means. The Lutheran and Catholic traditions. with appetites here meaning needs (especially. we could just ifiable read this as meaning “with all you seek. While it could be read as implying that. it was very good. when you lie down and when you rise. Genesis 1:31: “. “heart” ( lev) refers first and foremost to the deepest corners of the human person. hunger) as well as desires.You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart. . “might” (meod) leaves translators scratching their heads. however. some have read heart. Block. allowing for a philosopher‟s idiosyncrasies. 2011). Following that track of Augustinian psychology. 2012). 21. this reinforces the point.” Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away. treat “You shall have no other gods before me” together with the commandment against idolatry as one commandment but separate the verses regarding coveting. O LORD (Eugene: Cascade Books. Block opts for translating meod as “resources. See Genesis 1:20. we might see the full force of Moses‟ meaning by interpreting the verse as “You are to love YWHW with your full existence: all you seek and all you posses. and desires.” Therefore. Daniel I. setting “Neither shall you covet your neighbor‟s wife” as its own commandment. but allowing ourselves to see it as within the network of the term‟s meaning. and might here as evidence for a tripartite structure to the human person.” 16 Daniel I. Or. her desires. which mimics the language here. needs. 92. Block.12 Another angle on the term is that nephashim are often described in terms of needy creatures.11 so this clause most likely means to love God with all one‟s life. 17 See Daniel I.17 Despite the ongoing debates surrounding these interpretive questions.13 We cannot derive from the text that Moses had this connotation in mind. and 24.15 Accordingly. soul. 56-60. . 15 For example. Biblical scholars debate how the Decalogue should be numbered in Deuteronomy. “soul” (nephesh) means the life of the creature. The Gospel according to Moses: Theological and Ethical Reflections on the Book of Deuteronomy (Eugene: Cascade Books. denoting fullness or abundance. and with all your might. How I Love Your Torah. and with all your soul. First. 13 Brown-Driver-Briggs offers “seat of the appetites” (46 times) as a p ossible translation. See Genesis 19:17 for this use. this clause can be read to say “with all your passions. this could be read to mean “with all your being. The Reformed tradition sets “You shall have no other gods before me” as its own comman dment and treats the verses against coveting as one commandment. it is generally accepted that there are ten. The word is only once elsewhere14 used as a noun but is elsewhere always used as an adjective or adverb. and fundamental orientation toward life.” Third.”16 Bringing these translation choices together. 14 2 Kings 23:25. drives. 11 12 8 .” Second. such a reading loses sight of the rhetorical force of the three terms.

But as is. ten commandments to be taught to children who could then recall them by counting fingers. Heritage and Historical Rationality In his early career. PART II: RECENT MEMORY Tradition and Authority: The Logic of Traditioned Thought In the preceding two sections. does show that even the form in which the Torah demonstrates a catechetical intention. we want to take this basic impulse as our guide for the conceptual architecture we build around the theological matter of authority for contemporary use. we argued from Deuteronomy 5 and 6 that Moses treats the history of God‟s dealings with the ancestors as definitive of Israel‟s existence and thus the meaning of the Torah‟s authority. As Moses accordingly articulates the answer to this question of authority. O LORD. they are asking the rationale of normative force of these commandments. To thus clarify our use of this “authority” in this sense. How I Love Your Torah. but the succinct and mnemonic form of the Shema. Vanhoozer‟s account with the adaptations suggested above will provide the larger basic framework. two themes dominated Heidegger‟s thought: a phenomenology of Christian faith (as our Chapters 2 and 3 detailed) and a proper understanding of the historical meaning of human 18 Block. and Treier (in conversation with Heidegger and Brandom) will provide us more specific detail and an example of this model at work. To conclude this chapter.18 The text does not clearly state this rationale. we will revisit Vanhoozer‟s and Treier‟s writings. 25. The particular acts of God and the particular responses of His people establish a chain of normative beliefs.that having ten commandments was a mnemonic device. To conclude. which the Torah succinctly states in a pedagogical form so that the cultural memory can be passed on and normative for future generations. but when they ask the second -order question of why. The children‟s question presumes knowledge of the Torah. which is memorized by Jews to this day. 9 . the text is not terribly specific as to how we are to carry out that sense of authority. the meaning and content thereof are fully expressed in terms of what God has done and so what they do in response. we will turn to Heidegger and Brandom to explicate deeper elements of the logic behind the account we have been simultaneously developing and employing.

trans. as thrown. In such futuralness. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson (1962. New York: Harper Perennial.26 The hidden “handing down” is the key meaning of a heritage. historical investigation enters the present. he provides the most succinct and most poignant formulation of his matured position: “Authentic historicity is not a matter of making something [past] become present. italics original. As thrown into a particular history. what Heidegger is here driving at is the point that historical study is a form of self-understanding. but that state of being futural in which one readies oneself to receive the right impetus from the past. The Concept of Time: The First Draft of Being and Time. In other words. Phenomenology of Intuition and Expression. 435. it becomes critique of the present. These themes become sharpened in Being and Time with his understanding of “heritage”:22 The resoluteness23 in which Dasein comes back to itself. trans. 22 We will footnote definitions of technical terms here to shortcut to the main points of the claim.”21 Here. 2008). the unity of the self comes not by merely existing as a forensic unity but also as a volitional unity that coheres by virtue of one‟s future self that one ought to become. 24 Actual possibilities relative to a particular situation. And that lineage Many of the ideas of Being and Time were first developed via Paul and Augustine.”20 In short. As he states in an earlier lecture. the “self”) and merely tangible objects. discloses current factical24 possibilities of authentic existing. takes over. italics original. whereas selves exist by that location but also by self-navigation in that location. . he wants to explain the fundamental difference between the human person (i. . In one‟s coming back resolutely to one‟s thrownness. “The human being receives its unity through that which it ought to be and become. as influenced by that past one already participates in that tradition. 2010). 20 Martin Heidegger. Accordingly.existence (as shown in his magnum opus). but his first exposition of these themes in the form immortalized in 1927 appeared in a lecture given to the Marburg Theological Society in 1924 published as The Concept of Time. one has a lineage of possible lives to lead and role models on which base one‟s life. 26 Martin Heidegger. . 23 A commitment regarding the course of one‟s life. italics original. 21 Martin Heidegger. the matter at hand is one of understanding the past as a guide to future actions and forming a coherent sense of self. 19 10 .e. and discloses them in terms of the heritage which that resoluteness. repr. He concludes that merely tangible objects exist in terms of a spatio-temporal location. Being and Time. 80. So. Rather. 25 The fact of having been born and raised into a particular shared history and cultural memory. Tracy Colony (London: Continuum. 54.25 there is hidden a handing down to oneself of the possibilities. to study history is to excavate the influences already at work in one‟s way of thought. In the “first draft”19 of the latter work. 2011). hence the relative incoherence of Heidegger‟s thought after 1933. This study becomes a critique of the present in a sense deeper than simply mining the past for conceptual resources. Ingo Farin and Alex Skinner (London: Continuum. as one‟s own thought is necessarily historically informed. trans. The only question is how attuned one is to the logic of the tradition in which one participates. translation altered.

We deem this mode of rationality “traditioned thought. but the parallels between Heidegger‟s heritage and the catechesis in Deuteronomy deserves comment. one models one‟s life on the basic drives and rationale that governed that role model‟s life. 27 11 . Rather. Brandom briefly sketches five conceptions of rationality. one does not emulate a role model in the sense of living according to a literal rote repetition of all that role model says and does. points out that the This view of rationality pivots on the claim that distinctly human rationality is one of “concept mongering. what warrants a proper appropriation of a role model. from the history one studies. and resolving on a particular way of life that critically appropriates a role model. inferentialism. means to returning to those histories. That handed down in a cultural memory that persists tacitly in the various social practices and institutions of that society. one may ask. In a similar fashion.27 appears fourth in the sequence. In the “Introduction” to his collection of essays. studying one‟s history more intensely than the rote memorization of historical factoids from the classroom. Brandom‟s own view from Making It Explicit. . For Heidegger‟s authenticity. the rational capacity to understand proper inferences to concepts from other concepts.” i. Brandom did not begin with a focus on historicality. understanding that one cannot think outside of the possibilities permitted by historical context. school structures.” the form of reasoning in which one sees norms gathered from the tradition as the standard for one‟s thought.” then. leading into traditioned thought: “The historicist about rationality . . “Coming back resolutely to one‟s thrownness. but rather his thought matured into that theme along the way to an understanding of distinctly human rationality. Tales of the Mighty Dead. One‟s being “thrown” means that these models are handed down and appropriated wit hout the person critically doing so.e. Unlike Heidegger. or in Israel‟s case the Torah and its tacit logic of priestly existence? What are the guides by which this process keeps from devolving into cherry picking from historical precedence and adapting it at whim? Brandom‟s description of traditioned thought helps specify fidelity to a tradition more specifically than does Heidegger. or role models. one critically appropriates not the role model‟s life but the norms by which the role model lived. But. and history classes about Founding Fathers are tacitly handing down particular models according to which one is expected to model one‟s life. Now it would be inappropriate to read “authenticity” anachronistically into Moses‟ sermon. Moses exhorts parents to teach their children the Torah and the meaning of the Torah—why they should live according to those testimonies and statutes. But those social practices and institutions (especially in contemporary society) do not explicitly tell you that the political system. each successive conception subsuming the merits of prior ones.

we see sufficient similarity between Brandom and the logic of 6:20-23 that Brandom‟s descriptions illuminate the rationale employed in Deuteronomy‟s catechesis. 12. Israel elicit particular responses and judgments that then set the norms for future theological judgments. Without appeal to eternal. ahistorical) truth.inferentialist takes for granted a set of inferentially articulated norms as an already up-and-running enterprise. 30 Brandom. However. 28 12 . while exemplifying the element of traditioned thought that Heidegger describes as heritage: Brandom. cumulative.”30 By drawing this from Hegel. Tales of the Mighty Dead. as for Kant. Tales of the Mighty Dead: Historical Essays in the Metaphysics of Intentionality (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. such determinate norms?”29 Brandom‟s way of managing this question simultaneously draws upon his concept mongering. The past expressions of God‟s commitment to. because of the normative role they play in such judgments. historicist rationality seeks to critically accord itself to the logic of those historical sources: “What do we have to do to establish or connect with. being heavily influenced by Hegel. italics original. its justifiability as a correct application of a concept. Brandom is able to state clearer guidelines for traditioned thought than Heidegger does for heritage. . 31 Brandom. 12f. . historicist rationality inquires as to the sources of current language-games and their normative rules More than this. 2002). Instead. “Concepts for him. italics original. writes.”31 Again. is secured by rationally reconstructing the tradition of its applications according to a certain model—by offering a selective. But he also has the idea that the only thing available to settle which universal a word expresses is the way a word . .e. has actually been applied in prior judgments. .”28 That is. subject ourselves to. and Jacob as manifested in the particular act of r elease from slavery. and redemption of. are norms for judgments. Isaac. 29 Brandom. it belongs to traditioned thought to discover the norm tacitly at work in past applications of the judgment: “The rationality of the current decision. express universals. expressively progressive genealogy of it. What is more. which marks inferentialist rationality. . Robert B. . These past particulars in turn set no explicit rules for future judgment. Moses directs attention to God‟s particular promises to Abraham. consists in a commitment to understanding the tradition that gives one words to speak by exhibiting it in this form. A certain sort or rationality . Tales of the Mighty Dead. Tales of the Mighty Dead. 14. prior judgments and applications of concepts not only provide grist for the tradition‟s mill but also set the norm for what is or is not a proper use of that concept. . Brandom. 13. these past judgments do not come with explicit guidelines for future uses. They determine proprieties of application to particulars of terms that. without reading inferentialism back into Moses‟ sermon on the Decalogue. (i.

the sea. therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it. What concerns us now is whether we can cohere post-biblical theological development under this rubric.” but in Deuteronomy the latter appears first. Where the Exodus formulations left this syntactically unclear. he was trying to make the norms and the history cohere for later generations. For this. That is. but the corresponding verses in Exodus do not. Second. these conjunctions show that those commandments are not merely enumerated but cohere to form a web of social regulations. In Exodus 20 “You shall not covet your neighbor‟s house” precedes “You shall not covet your neighbor‟s wife. but rested the seventh day. attached to the commandment to keep the Sabbath. a creation theology provided the logic. Moses switches the commandments about coveting. For that later generation‟s sake. and the Regula Fidei We will open this section by noting Nicholas Wolterstorff‟s pioneering work to employ speech act theory for the service of answering theological problems posed by the postmodern crisis of mean32 Exodus 20:11 13 . like himself.e. Moses adapts the letter of the law according to its spirit (i. tacit norms). First. And in the Deuteronomy sermons. but the following seems likely: the Exodus version misled Israelites to thinking that the house was to prioritized over the house. Third. As noted above.traditioned thought can study the history in such a way as to uncover the tacit norms for future uses and adaptations of the prior judgments. Divine Discourse. Moses was preaching not only to the older generations who. we return to topics usually not discussed in studies of method but rather reserved for historical theology. Moses supplemented the command with a particular construal of the history in such a way that explicated the norm according to which early generations came to understand that particular commandment. and all that is in them. Deuteronomy 6:18-21 begin with waw-conjunctions. recall the Exodus but also to the younger generations who were born in transit. We can only speculate as to the reason.”32 Originally. Moses elaborates the rationale for resting on the sabbath in terms of remembering that they were slaves in Egypt and God had released them. The Decalogue in Deuteronomy in fact demonstrates just this kind of appropriation in three specific ways. But what was Moses doing here? In these final sermons. so Moses switched the order later so that the underlying norm that persons take priority over possession manifests more clearly. Drama. Moses alters the rationale for the rule from its original form: “[I]n six days the LORD made heaven and earth.

As his basis.37 and he rejects Derrida‟s belief that meaning is a creature of signification. Austin‟s speech act theory. first. 33 14 . How to Do Things with Words. opting for performance interpretation in its place. third. 94-101. however. advocates for “pe rformance interpretation. he writes that “literality and metaphoricity are a matter of use rather than of meaning.38 However.”35 So. 35 Wolterstorff. on the one hand. which makes distinctions between the locution (the utterance).33 to argue that speaking is doing something. voices disagreements with Paul Ricoeur‟s textual sense interpretation. This opened a way of rethinking the authority of Scripture in practical rather than merely cognitive terms. he insists that sentences have meaning.”34 and on the other hand. 37 Wolterstorff. on his own account. in taking up a normative stance. and the perlocution (what effect the illocution has on one‟s audience). . italics original. In the middle chapters of the book he. challenges the coherence of Jacques Derrida‟s rejection of authorial intent and. which would seem to imply that meaning is constituted at least partly by use. Later. 193. second. italics original. Urmson and Marina Sbisà (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim that God Speaks (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.”36 but never does he clarify this separation of use and meaning. early on he makes the distinction between revelation and discourse: “Speaking consists . the illocution (what is done by the utterance). he claims that “sentences of a language have meaning—that they come with meanings. Divine Discourse. he acknowledges that utterances take place within speech acts. Divine Discourse. 171. Wolterstorff concedes to Derrida that authorial intention is no longer a viable interpretive goal. On the one hand. 39 Wolterstorff. 38 Wolterstorff. In other words. When articulating the core of his account. As per the tension in his account. 157f. he seems to push closer to the stance of uniting use and meaning while explicitly rejecting such identification. ed. he makes the relationship between an agent‟s normative stance toward a sentence and its consequent effect of meaning rather ambiguous. The tension in Wolterstorff‟s account pertains to his theory of meaning. he adopts J. 36 Wolterstorff. Divine Discourse. Austin. 1975). so that we are to understand what the person is doing with what they say. 140. Divine Discourse. particularly his appreciation of discourse as entailing normative stances. L. the two citations above separate the two. it is unclear on Wolterstorff‟s account whether the normative stance or sentential meaning carries the meaning of a given utterance.” Against Ricoeur. Although his account suffers from conceptual tensions. J.39 He takes a cue from Ricoeur and makes an analogy beJ. italics original. On the other hand. 140. . 1995). 34 Nicholas Wolterstorff. O. specific moves he made. as per meaning. 35. Divine Discourse.

42 Wolterstorff.” not as an entity whether metaphysical or ideal. As per the reader. 44 An allusion to Roland Barthes‟ oft-quoted and oft-misread “[T]he birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author. We can understand “meaning. Image – Music – Text. 46 Wolterstorff wants to preserve some “objectivity” for meaning against what he sees as a dangerously co nstructivist treatment of the text. Accordingly. . and trans. Wolterstorff concedes that a sentence or text can have multiple meanings. Derrida would reject a reader-takes-all hermeneutic. Of Grammatology. For example. Divine Discourse. . Divine Discourse. I can say “nice weat hWolterstorff. 177. this requires a specific form of rationality such that she can see markings or hear sounds and understand them to be part of another rational agent‟s attempts to communicate. ed. we can navigate their respective commitments and concerns. On one hand. Divine Discourse.tween a text and a musical score:40 “What‟s given to a musician is a score. 178. what‟s given to a reader is a text. 173. 43 Wolterstorff. 176). 48 Wolterstorff would grant this move of meaning‟s locus: “Interpretation occurs in the space between a score‟s specif ications and its realizations” (Divine Discourse. a “violence against authors. 197ff. 1977].”41 With this provocative metaphor in place. 47 Wolterstorff. This pushes meaning into the locus of interaction between reader and text. so that neither authors nor readers need to die. Stephen Heath [London: HarperCollins. but as a process of understanding or more specifically as the conclusion of that process. 169. we want to understand meaning not as a property of texts but as a function of the linguistically adept reader as she reads the text. A realization of a text comes about when we actually read a text and imagine someone saying certain things with the words. Wolterstorff.45 On the other hand. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.43 But by unpacking the text-score metaphor in terms of simply interpreting what the writer was saying. so also must the writer construct those markings in such as way that she might reasonably expect a literate person to understand them as attempts at communication.” (Roland Barthes. 158-164.48 we can say that both must achieve specific statuses in order for meaning to arise. 45 See Jacques Derrida. 148). trans.”47 As located between reader and author. 1976). We can clarify this relationship by making the following move. Divine Discourse. Divine Discourse. 46 Wolterstorff. where one navigates probabilities of what one would have wanted to say. to which we presume both would assent. That is. 40 41 15 . Divine Discourse. . where his metaphor would incline one to take him to lean closer to prioritizing active response to a text. his conclusions from it seem rather flat: “Scores are „realized‟ in performance. this way of interpreting the realization of a textual score collapses “performance interpretation” down to a variant of authorial intent interpretation. he never really clarifies the relationship between use and meaning.”42 So. 175f.44 With such a minor modification.

moreover. 51 See his Is There Meaning in this Text?: The Bible. 174.” 184. which perhaps carries the text-score metaphor farther but by way of a drama metaphor instead. 52 Vanhoozer. According to his Drama-of-Redemption approach. 44. We also have two theological reasons for preferring “tradition” to “drama” as our guiding motif. 10. 6. we will not treat it as essential to Vanhoozer‟s core theory. and incarnation (Act 3) but before consummation (Act 5). but said during blue skies it‟s an adoration of beauty.50 So for Vanhoozer. and The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology (Lousvill: Westminster John Knox Press. Indeed. We agree with Vanhoozer in his theological impulse to prioritize the story over the proposition. “sejskdidsj” cannot be taken to mean anything. Divine Discourse. Gundry and Gary T. Kevin Vanhoozer. (We gather that. one should know that Vanhoozer generally develops his position with reference to speech act theory51 but does not require it: “Look Ma: no speech acts!”52 Thus. 2005).) Now. 2009). ed. Scripture and Hermeneutics (Downers Grove: IVP. deWolterstorff. we should interpret Scripture not propositionally but primarily in terms of the story God scripts in Scripture: we live and breath in Act 4: after creation (Act 1). The Reader. the distinction between locution and perlocution facilitated the use and meaning separation that led to a tension in Wolterstorff‟s account. n. and the Morality of Literary Knowledge (Grand Rapids: Zondervan. First Theology: God. With this modification. Wolterstorff even permits the formulation that “in such cases what one does is „make sense‟ of the text. describing the Christian story in terms of drama has connotations of ascribing to that story a fictitious status. See also Is There Meaning in this Text?. 1998). Stanley M. on a tacit level. he takes what God is doing with his divine perloctions—Scripture—more consistently than Wolterstorff does by situating those speech acts within the larger trajectory of the canonical story that God is writing. This construal. because no one could be expected to recognize those markings as a pattern of agential-intellectual content. 174. but we take speech act theory to employ unnecessary distinctions. 49 50 16 . However. n. this modification to Wolterstorff‟s account bring us closer to Van hoozer‟s description of Christian doctrine in terms of a divine drama. First. However. law (Act 2). Meadors (Grand Rapids: Zondervan. thereby making the metaphor limited in a very problematic way. said during a storm the utterance is a joke. 31. “The Drama-of-Redemption. 75. preserves Wolterstorff‟s performance interpretation by taking the normative stance and what we do with words to guide our theory of meaning more radically than he does. 2002). we can preserve the limits of interpretation while conceding meaning‟s “ 8.”49 Moreover. right?” with variant possible meanings.” Accordingly. meaning is not a property of sentences but a function the writer doing something with the hope of getting the reader to do something. “The Drama-of-Redemption Model” in Four Views on Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology . thereby making a robust account of how discourse functions problematic.

is in fact a description of the way the world really is and is becoming. Put otherwise. . . . Deuteronomy 6 advises parents to answer their children‟s questions about why they follow the Torah by retelling God‟s establishment of the Israeli people by delivering them from slavery in Egypt. the history with its promises and commands] itself.”54 Or. “A Drama-of-Redemption model.” 160. “A Drama-of-Redemption model. Israel was to embody and exemplify YHWH to the neighboring peoples and thereby take part in the history God directs. Secondly. 53 54 17 .”53 Notice how he unpacks the metaphor. Such is a meaning of being a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. of the tradition without bending a metaphor. as we will argue in the following chapter. Deuteronomy describes the meaning and authority of the Torah in terms of God‟s history with His people. “A Drama-of-Redemption model. 55 Vanhoozer. Accordingly. like the selves who navigate it. Vanhoozer explicitly shows that history and participation in that history are in fact the operative drives of his work: “What the church seeks to understand is a true story: the history of God‟s dealings with his creatures. this is not a play or performance that we initiate and direct.” 168. to adapt language from Heidegger cited above. as noted above the drama is already underway before we enter into it. God has already begun directing history and invited His people to participate in the work. First of all. we should note that despite the dominance of the drama metaphor. rational duties. The question before us now is whether Vanhoozer‟s account can be brought under the basic impulses of the picture developed from Heidegger and Brandom and if so how that would amend the theological use of their analyses. In other words. and consequently also truth. “what is transcultural is not some principle behind the text but the biblical discourse [i. Rather.e. .”55 In other words. Vanhoozer.scribing the Christian story in terms of a living tradition allows us to appropriate the narrative structure of Vanhoozer‟s drama metaphor while articulating the authority. Scripture itself appeals to tradition structures when describing its own authority. Likewise. As an ongoing tradition. or virtue formation. Going beyond the Bible biblically is ultimately a matter of participating in the great drama of redemption. the persistence of which demonstrates God‟s fidelity to His promise to Abraham. utilitarian outcomes. . the world has been undone and. receives its unity through what it ought to become. Vanhoozer thinks that theologians who try to read the text for the ahistorical truths behind the text are fundamentally missing Vanhoozer. New Testament Christians continue that same trajectory and history of participating in the history as priests to the nations.” 155f. God created a world and invites us to be His image in its midst as participants in His redemption of it: “The world of the text . rather than appealing to natural law. italics added.

did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited. in heaven and on earth and under the earth.e. Treier. 1948). 88.” 157. quoted in Vanhoozer. he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death —even death on a cross. O Israel: The LORD is our God. 325f. Stephen E.”59 What he means by that is that when the early church theologians were navigating between the high Christology of Philippians 2:61160 and the traditional monotheism of Judaism as crystallized in Deuteronomy 6:4. every tongue shall swear. and there is no other. Against Geerhardus Vos who claims. We want to answer this challenge by way of seeing how Treier manages the question through his treatment of the Regula Fidei (Rule of Faith). For Treier. Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans‟. the Nicene theologians concluded that the line “to the glory of God the Father” demonstrated that Jesus and God were not in conflict for supremacy as competing deities but rather that God the Father is most glorified precisely through the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord. Theological Interpretation of Scripture.” 158. the LORD alone.” the metVanhoozer. Geerhardus Vos.” 61 “Hear.” in The Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Classic and Contemporary Readings . so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend. quoted in Treier.” 56 But Vanhoozer warns against overstating the continuity. but emptied himself. Yeago.” 62 “Turn to me and be saved. contemporary) contexts bear on the life of the church. By myself I have sworn. but also with regard to the relevant traditions: Biblical and Greek-philosophical. 58 Daniel J. taking the form of a slave. from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness a word that shall not return: „To me every knee shall bow. Introducing Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Recovering a Christian Practice (Grand Rapids: Baker Aademic. Fowl (Oxford: Blackwell. And being found in human form. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name.”58 To provide an example of this. 1997). though he was in the form of God. “We ourselves live just as much in the N[ew] T[estament] as did Peter and Paul and John”57 questions Vos insofar as he does not address how other (i. he draws from David Yeago‟s treatment of homoousion [“of one being”] as neither deduced from nor imposed on the text but “describing a pattern of judgments present in the text.‟ ” 56 57 18 . the Rule opens various readings yet also constrains them: “[R]eading with the Rule of Faith elicits creative interpretations—within limits. 60 “[Jesus Christ]. 60. ed. all the ends of the earth! For I am God. 2008). 60.62 By linking Philippians 2:6-11 to Isaiah 45:22-23. and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. “A Drama-of-Redemption model. to the glory of God the Father. The debates leading up to the Nicene formulation entailed detailed exegesis but also rigorous philosophical debates on the relative explanatory merits of “of same substance” and “of similar substance . “A Drama-of-Redemption model.61 they appealed to Isaiah 45:22-23. “The New Testament and the Nicene Dogma: A Contribution to the Recovery of Theological Exeg esis. 59 David S. But we should also note what happened here not only with regard to logical relations within the text.the point: “[T]he content of revelation [forms] not a dogmatic system but a book of history. From this they concluded a pattern within Judaic faith that warranted a bond between the Risen Jesus and the God of Israel. Accordingly the judgment to declare Jesus as homoousion with the Father fits within the pattern of judgments warranted by the text. being born in human likeness.

CONCLUSION In this way. the Nicene theologians subordinated not only personal life but even the traditions that in part defined their lives. even unto dominating and regulating traditions beyond the text of Scripture and its post-biblical heritage. They. That is. 19 . and their coherence relative to the Biblical material. as thrown into a Greco-Roman philosophical tradition converging on ancient Israeli monotheism. therefore. they had no recourse but to employ one toward the other. demonstrated traditioned thought in a way that lived out the authority of Scripture over their lives. to which they subordinated extra-biblical traditions. In other words. They then deciphered the norm at work in that and related judgments.aphysical implications of the formulations. with full fidelity to the tradition of divine grace and grateful response. appropriating that as the standard—the Rule of Faith—according to which they determined the propriety of their own judgments. they saw the particular judgments of past saints as they responded to particular acts of grace. they employed Greek metaphysics with utmost rigor for the sake of theological exegesis. But. a hermeneutical practice that dates back to Moses‟ Deuteronomy sermons.

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