Here are a few of my notes from Dr. Waltke’s course. He is teaching this course from his new book called An Old Testament Theology: A Thematic and Canonical Approach. (Grand Rapids. Michigan) This book is still at press, so I could have ordered a photocopy but I have made do with the 6 inch thick reference copy kept at the reserve table in the library.
These are a few of my general impressions from Dr. Waltke’s course so far, in very condensed form. He has a high view of inspiration, a narrow view of the canon, he holds to theistic evolution and a complementarian position on gender. He interacts with all the top scholars in a wide field of biblical studies and approaches the scripture from a faith perspective.
He defines his approach to the Bible as narrative early on in his text. He writes,
- Narrative is a representational form of art. Narrative criticism observes, analyses and sytematically clarifies how narratives represent their object, how they tell their stories in order to communicate meaning. [Narrative] is a representation, a mimesis of reality.
Berlin compares narrative to painting. The narrative represents real life in the same way a painting represents an object. The “meaning” of the painting is derived by how the painter represents the real object. The “meaning” of the narrative is determined by how the narrator tell the story.
Waltke profiles narrative against history on the one hand, and prose fiction on the other. He is in stark opposition to modern literary criticism when it regards scripture as prose fiction, but agrees with Alter that good historical writing is interpretive.
His last class was derailed by someone asking a question about predestination. C’est la vie.