A Book That Meets Its Jacket Claims

Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume I, A—┌, edited by Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Eerdmans, 1964, 793 pp., $18.50), is reviewed by James P. Martin, associate professor of New Testament, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, Richmond.

In its original German, Kittel’s TDNT has long been a standard and indispensable tool for New Testament studies. Its appearance in a complete and unabridged English translation is a theological event of first importance that should greatly assist American theology to rediscover the Greek New Testament and its eschatological realism in terms of a historical approach to the New Testament and its times. The translation is excellent, which is what we have come to expect from Geoffrey Bromiley. The work has also been carefully proofread. As an example of the printer’s art and as a volume rich in content it is worth every penny of its price.

Twenty-five pages of abbreviations of sources, editions, and works consulted, along with rich documentation in quotations and footnotes, reveal that this is a scholarly production of high order. Greek, Latin, and Hebrew quotations are given in the original. At the same time the value and use of Kittel is not limited to those who want the scholarly apparatus. The English text is also considerable! The book can be read and studied in its own right as a guide to historical biblical theology. Nevertheless, it is not a substitute for the exegetical study of the Greek New Testament but an aid to such study. It is not a direct source for sermons but a tool for understanding the theology of the biblical texts that form the heart and content of the sermon.

This first volume treats approximately four hundred words in articles ranging in length from a few lines to forty or fifty pages. Since words are arranged according to Greek roots, not all words beginning with alpha, beta, and gamma are found here, and conversely, words beginning with other letters are found here if they are formed on roots whose letters commence with alpha, beta, or gamma. Cross references within the body of the book indicate this fact. Thus, for example, apolutrosis (redemption) is not found in this volume but appears in Volume VI under luo (to loose); katallage (reconciliation) is found in this volume because its root is allaso. Kephale gonias (head of the corner) appears under gonia (corner), but huios tou anthropou (Son of Man) appears not under anthropos but under huios (son).

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The variety of authors, the long period of time during which the articles first appeared, and the differences in historical outlook and presuppositions among the authors preclude uniformity. But the basic orientation and the wealth of objective findings determine the ultimate worth of the Theological Dictionary. Kittel discusses the history and theology of a word in terms of secular Greek usage (including Hellenistic history of religion), the Old Testament, Rabbinic Judaism, the Septuagint, and the New Testament. Constant discussion of these areas along with Gnosticism and Mystery religions provides an understanding of what the biblical concept is not, as well as the knowledge of what it is. Although some may feel that the “negative” frequently outweighs the “positive” quantitatively, it is necessary to understand that Kittel’s approach is a result of taking seriously the idea of a revelation in history. The materials, for all their diversity, reveal a fundamental methodology that respects the unity of Old and New Testaments, utilizes the concept of a Heilsgeschichte (sometimes strong, sometimes weak) that centers in Jesus Christ, and manifests a respect for biblical realism and Hebraic mentality. One or more of these methodological features may be clearly observed, for example, in such diverse articles as ano, anoteron (above) by Büchsel, gnosis (knowledge) by Bultmann, gala (milk) by Schlier, and apostolos (apostle) by Rengstorf.

The method and theological orientation of Kittel may be best observed, within the compass of a review, by illustrative examples. The article on the verb hamartano (to sin) discusses such matters as Old Testament words (richly detailed), the legal and theological content of the Old Testament concept of sin, sin and guilt, the story of the Fall (Gen. 3), theological nuances of sin in the Septuagint, the concept of sin in Judaism, the linguistic usage and history of hamartano, hamartema, hamartia before and in the New Testament ([1] Synoptic Gospels and Acts; [2] John; [3] Paul; [4] the other New Testament writings). The authorship of this article is particularly mixed. With respect to Paul, it is pointed out that “what Paul has to say about sin is oriented to the relation of God in Christ. Hence it is not an empirical doctrine of sin based on pessimism. It is the judgment of God on man without God as this is ascertained from the revelation of Christ and revealed in full seriousness in the cross of Christ” (p. 308).

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On the Adam/Christ typology of the New Testament, Jeremias shows that this is found already in the Marcan account of the temptation. Christ ushers in the paradisial state of the last days when there will be peace between man and beast (Isa. 11:6–8; 65:25). The article on paradise (to appear in Vol. V) elaborates this highly suggestive element of biblical realism. The content of the article on anthropos (man) along with the article on Adam provides necessary correlative material for the term Son of Man (to appear later).

A study of the words associated with the Greek root AG such as hagios (holy). hagiasmos (a sanctifying), hagnizein (to sanctify), is essential if one is to recover the difference between holiness and moralism and thus to capture the nuances and depths of the biblical concept of sanctification. The hagiotes (holiness) of Jesus which strikes terror into the demoniac and forces the revelation of his presence is certainly something different from the morality of Jesus as we customarily think of it in terms of popular religion. As the hagios tou Theou (Holy One of God) Jesus is the Firstborn and Inaugurator of the pneumatic age which will destroy the Kingdom of demons (p. 102). Recognition of Jesus as hagios tou Theou (both by the demon and by Peter in the Johannine account of his confession) involves more than the recognition of the popular Messiah. The material on the Holy Spirit provided in the article on hagios (holy) supplements to a degree the later article on Spirit of God by Schweizer in Volume VI. The noun hagiasmos derives from the verb hagnizein as a nomen actionis. Hence it signifies “sanctifying” rather than sanctification and pertains to a process which has as its presupposition the religious process of atonement (p. 113).

In the article on aletheia (truth) Bultmann writes, commenting on John 4:23. that the addition of aletheia (truth) to the statement concerning worship in Spirit and in truth is an indication that “such worship can take place only as determined by the revelation accomplished in Jesus (4:25 f.), and consequently as determined by the Revealer who is the only Way of access to God (John 1:18; 14:6)” (p. 246). Bultmann’s articles in the Theological Dictionary show little trace of demythologizing since in these articles he is concerned to express historically what the New Testament writers thought, not what we have to think for modern life. It is unfair to Bultmann to argue that he does not know this difference.

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Oepke, writing on apocatastasis (restitution, restoration) in the text Acts 3:20, argues that grammatically the relative article cannot be related to chronon (times) but only to panton (all things) and that this means further that panton can only be neuter and not masculine. “This also means that apocatastasis cannot denote the conversion of persons but only the reconstitution or re-establishment of things. These are restored, i.e., brought back to the integrity of creation, while the promise itself is established or fulfilled” (p. 391). These thoughts should be compared with the article on palingenesia (regeneration, pp. 686–89), where Büchsel relates this concept to the Jewish faith in the resurrection of the dead and the renewal of the world.

The illustrative quotations from Greek literature in Bultmann’s article on gnosis (knowledge) are especially full and rich, a feature expected in Bultmann’s work. Bultmann writes that in First Corinthians Paul maintains the uniqueness of genuine Christian knowledge but in so doing appropriates to some extent the vocabulary and approach of the Gnostics. Paul concedes that the Christian, too, has a sophia (wisdom) that makes possible for him a ginoskein (knowing) of the divine plan of salvation, a knowledge that penetrates the deep things of God because it rests on the divinely given Spirit. But the knowledge of the one God, in Paul, is not theoretical speculation, and knowing does not arise from within man but is grounded on God’s knowledge of man. This knowledge of God in his election of grace, and “to be known” by God is thus to be understood in terms of the Old Testament concept of knowing (p. 709). In John, ginoskein (knowing) means acceptance of the divine act of love in Jesus and obedience to its demand. Pisteuein (believing) corresponds to the Old Testament knowing in Johannine usage, while ginoskein (knowing) lies beyond. Yet the objects of both actions are the same (pp. 712, 713).

The article on graphe (writing) includes discussion of the question of Scripture, including the Judaistic view, and the belief of the early Christians regarding Scripture. The discussion of the gramma/pneuma (letter/spirit) dualism with respect to Second Corinthians 3 and Romans 2:27 f. emphasizes the activity of the Spirit as the key to understanding (pp. 765 ff.). Forgiveness (aphesis) as an eschatological event renews the whole man, in whom sin was not just something isolated and occasional but the power that determined his whole being, and can be received only when man affirms God’s judgment on himself, the old man, in the confession of sins and penitence. “There is thus avoided the legal understanding of the thought of forgiveness as a remission of punishment related only to past events; the future is included in eschatological forgiveness” (p. 512). The article on gune (woman) is strongly historical and provides invaluable information for the interpretation of Paul’s attitudes and judgments. This article can be supplemented by the material on gameo (to marry) and gamos (marriage).

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Perusal of individual articles will reveal a diversity of emphasis. Some stress grammatical matters, others historical background, and still others theological interpretation. In the case of the Theological Dictionary, the comments on the dust jacket are for once accurate and reliable judgments on the worth of the book.


The Church And Social Issues

Aspects of Christian Social Ethics, by Carl F. H. Henry (Eerdmans, 1964, 190 pp., $3.95), is reviewed by Harold B. Kuhn, professor of philosophy of religion, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky.

The Church is still seeking for guidelines that will indicate to her the scope of her proper task; perhaps her quest is more eager because of the evident failure of education, public legislation, and mass compulsive techniques to cope with the growing complexity of modern life. This well-written volume represents the author’s quest to discover where the priorities lie in the thrust of the Church into the area of social duty.

The opening part treats the major types of strategy for social change in our day, with a view to finding which is most compatible with New Testament Christianity. Dr. Henry identifies the types as: revolution, reform, revaluation, and regeneration. The first of these is self-explanatory. The second is primarily concerned with the inculcation of ethical values by techniques of education or projection. The third implies the immanence of moral ideals in human experience and suggests basically that when the Good is recognized, men will accept it as a guide for action.

The fourth type of strategy, regeneration, begins with the Scriptures as the basic source, not only of moral ideals, but also of information concerning the possible embodiment of these ideals in human character. It is at this point that the author sees the first three approaches as deficient; that is, they lack a perspective by which human life as it is ordinarily lived may be estimated. As a result, their advocates fail to perceive the lack of dynamic for high motivation in the natural man.

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The weakness of the first three strategic approaches becomes most apparent when the Church adopts them as programs for action. It goes without saying that the Church cannot compete with violent revolutionary movements for social betterment, and it is to be questioned whether both reform and revaluation may not be applied with more effectiveness by secular agencies. But when the Christian Church neglects the fourth, she denies the points at which her contribution might be unique.

The author finds in the analysis of “The Christian View of Work” a laboratory technique for evaluating much of the social theory of our times. His conclusion is that when man’s life is viewed as being totally “under God,” there appears a possibility for a maximum expression of the implications of regeneration for man’s common life.

The relation of the Christian to social reform and social legislation receives careful attention in this book. Dr. Henry seeks to find a middle course between the extravagant hopes of such men as Rauschenbusch in the limitless possibilities for social improvement by legislation, and the attitude of ascetic aloofness toward public social action that has sometimes been evident in Christian pietism.

The problem is shown to be that of maintaining a proper balance between a self-identification by the Church with prevailing cultural forms and movements, and an indifference to culture. Our author is keenly aware of the implications of cultural aloofness and inactivity upon the part of the Church. A warning is sounded against the identification of any party or any specific piece of legislation with the “Christian position.” In an imperfect world, division of issues is seldom possible upon such a neat basis; and thus the Christian, in participating in political and social action, must always recognize that any social order in the here-and-now will contain many provisional and problematic elements.

The final chapter, entitled “The Nature of God and Social Ideals,” bristles with elements of challenge for hard thought. The cornerstone of the author’s analysis is that “God is sovereign justice as well as sovereign love,” so that the loss of the former premise leads to anxiety about the latter. Our age is quite willing, on the surface, to sacrifice justice to love; but when in practice justice is bypassed, the natural man is perplexed.

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The concluding words are pungent: “… theology that obscures the distinction between justice and grace soon sponsors alien views of social ethics; and any social theory that confounds justice and benevolence will work against a true understanding both of the nature of God and of the character of the Gospel.”

This does not mean that the derivation of a social ethic from the Christian Scriptures is a simple matter. Dr. Henry takes second place to none in his awareness of the detailed problems that confront the Christian as he seeks to make decisions in a complex world upon the basis of biblical data. But he is powerfully correct in his thesis that in the Christian Scriptures may be found an unmistakable expression of the necessary spiritual foundations for a just world order.


Counseling The Broken Man

Unfragmented Man: A Study in Pastoral Psychology, by Hans-Joachim Thilo (Augsburg, 1964, 224 pp., $5), is reviewed by Gary R. Collins, clinical psychologist, Portland State College, Portland, Oregon.

“This book purports to be a cautious effort at assessing the questions which exercise our minds as we care for souls in our day.” With this as his goal, Dr. Thilo begins with a discussion of the relation between theology and psychology. He develops his argument by dividing the book into four parts. Part I, “The Man to Whom We Proclaim,” deals with human development from infancy to old age and discusses problems related to sickness. Part II, “Nature and Method of Our Proclamation,” considers counseling, confession, liturgy, and other techniques of soul-care. Parts III and IV, “The Place Where We Proclaim” and “The Time at Which We Proclaim,” discuss how church architecture, the time of day, and the season of the year can all have bearing on a soul-care ministry. The book’s rather unusual title, Unfragmented Man, reflects the idea that “the many resources of the church can be used to lead … [man] from a fragmented condition to wholeness in body, mind, and spirit.”

Scattered throughout this book are some valuable facts, a number of thought-provoking observations, and several sound practical suggestions to aid the pastor in the counseling aspects of his ministry. As an example, the chapter on youth provides an informative discussion of the skepticism that characterizes many adolescents. Dr. Thilo suggests that young people today live in a goal-less vacuum where a waning of parental authority and a breakup of moral standards leave the adolescent with nothing to replace the fairyland fantasies of childhood. It is observed that as children grow older they even skeptically cast off the Word of God, because Bible events and fairy tales have both been called “stories” and children cannot differentiate biblical fact from fairytale fiction. Practical suggestions for dealing with these and other members of the congregation include a plea for good counseling technique and several worthwhile ideas about effective counseling rooms.

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Unfortunately, these more enlightening portions of the book are hidden in difficult-to-read prose and somewhat rambling, poorly organized chapters. In spite of his counseling experience and obvious Freudian influence, the author shows a lack of psychological sophistication and a tendency to oversimplify complex personal problems. The chapter on theology and psychology, for example, really deals with theology and medicine, since clinical psychology is mistakenly considered to be inseparable from medicine. It is not until we reach a chapter on the unconscious that mention is even made of such common theology-psychology conflicts as the relation of sin, guilt, and responsibility to mental illness, or the tendency of some theologians to think that all personal problems are basically spiritual.

This book deals with pastoral psychology, but can there be a scriptural or psychological rationale for the suggestion that persons “close to mental illness” should not be allowed to confess sin because, they are “not all capable of recognizing or receiving the gift of forgiveness”? Can we agree with the assertion that since pastoral counseling “must go through the stages of mistrust, affection, love, and hatred between therapist and patient … whoever does not want this … ought not to be a practicing pastor”?

Dr. Thilo’s work presents some interesting and helpful information, but his main concern seems to be the presentation of a psychological rationale for established procedures of liturgy and forms of worship. The rationale is esoteric and not very convincing.


The Christian Negro

The Negro Church in America, by E. Franklin Frazier (Schocken Books, 1964, 92 pp., $3.50), and The Story of the National Baptists, by Owen D. Pelt and Ralph Lee Smith (Vantage, 1960, 272 pp., $3.75), are reviewed by Jesse Jai McNeil, lecturer in social ethics and church and community, California Baptist Theological Seminary, Covina, California.

At a time when the integrity of white American Christians is being acutely tested by their demonstrated commitment to a racially inclusive church, the appearance of The Negro Church in America will undoubtedly do much to provide historical perspective, clarify thinking, reveal misconceptions, and sober the expectations of both Negro and white Christians who advocate or resist the racially integrated church.

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Many Caucasians fear that Negroes will overrun their churches once an open-membership policy is practiced; that large numbers of Negroes are so anxious to join white American churches that they will not hesitate to turn from their own churches and racial religious heritage. Negroes have other ideas about racially integrated churches. While many already feel at home in white churches and find the religious forms and expressions there more compatible with their own education, tastes, and style of life, the basic concern of most Negroes is that they not be denied membership in any church, whether they take advantage of membership privileges or not. On the other hand, an increasing number of Negroes today are rejecting the Negro church—without a full appreciation of how deeply their racial experience is imbedded in their souls.

With this book Dr. Frazier, who until his death in 1962 was a world-renowned sociologist and authority on the Negro in the United States and the Negro family, has broken some new ground in the area of the Negro’s religion and culture. The book makes a valuable contribution to the sociology of religion in America.

Dr. Frazier attempts to show the singular role of the Negro church in the Negro’s struggle for survival, identity, racial solidarity, stable family life, and racial significance (p. 30). He accomplishes this through a profound and acute historical and structural analysis of Negro life in America, beginning with the days of slavery—a method characteristic of the few but scholarly and significant studies that he wrote.

An instance of the author’s insight is his rejection of the idea that the method of non-violence in the Negro’s struggle for freedom and justice can be credited to the influence of “Gandhism.” He sees in this struggle the expression of the Negro’s racial religious experience (p. 75) and implies that Negroes will not easily free themselves from its influence (p. 70 f.).

While admitting that the growing secularization of the Negro church has lessened its influence among Negroes, Frazier also observes that the Negro church is adjusting to the fact of a secularized life through an attempt to achieve secular relevance. This adjustive process is currently symbolized by the rise and the wide popularity of the gospel singer (p. 74).

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Secularized though the Negro church may be, the author contends that it still plays an important though diminishing role in the life of the American Negro.

Anyone interested in the historical roots of the current racial revolution should read The Negro Church in America, and it is also important for students of religion and society. The book is permeated with the authoritativeness that marks all Dr. Frazier’s writings.

Unintentionally, the second book in review here illustrates what Frazier’s research reveals—the influence of the Negro church in the life of the Negro in the United States. The Story of the National Baptists is a popular and well-written history of the National Baptist Convention, U. S. A., Inc. The vision and aspirations of the pioneers of the original National Baptist Convention are recounted. The author goes on to discuss the growing conflicts in Baptist ranks that resulted in a second national Negro Baptist body, the National Baptist Convention, U. S. A., Inc., and to describe the work of this convention’s boards and commissions.

This book, whose story is in some ways seriously fragmented, points up Dr. Frazier’s observation that the Negro church became the one stable institution through which the early Negro could develop his own leadership in religion, business, and group welfare and face the necessity of building his own social and cultural life.


Book Briefs

The World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary, 2 volumes (Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, 1963, 2,265 pp., $50.20). Prepared in cooperation with the staff of the World Book Encyclopedia, and geared particularly to the user of that encyclopedia, with graded directions for extending the vocabulary and for writing properly. Beautifully bound, modern syllabication, clear readable print. A fine dictionary for the student.

What Can a Man Do?, by Milton Mayer (University of Chicago, 1964, 310 pp., $5). A brilliant journalist writes with wit and astute observation about many things, including morals and religion.

The Missionary Emphasis of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, by William J. Hopewell (Regular Baptist Press, 1963, 153 pp., $2.75).

The Thunder of Bare Feet, by J. Wallace Hamilton (Revell, 1964, 160 pp., $2.95). A clergyman looks at the revolution occuring among the masses and with a sparkling style counters the Communistic with the Christian answer.

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The Quest for Catholicity: The Development of High Church Anglicanism, by George Tavard (Herder and Herder, 1964, 227 pp., $5.95). Roman Catholic Tavard’s historical study of “catholicity” in the Anglican church as it developed from the Reformation to the beginning of the present century.

The Living Word, by Stephen F. Olford (Moody, 1963, 58 pp., $1.75). Three evangelical essays on the pre-existent, the creative, and the incarnate Word.

In Praise of Saint Paul, by St. John Chrysostom (Daughters of St. Paul, 1963, 123 pp., $2). Seven sermons on Paul by Chrysostom.

In the Midst of Plenty: The Poor in America, by Ben H. Bagdikian (Beacon Press, 1964, 207 pp., $4.50). A plea for the needy, sick, young, unemployed, and aged in affluent America.

The Art of Illustrating Sermons, by Ian McPherson (Abingdon, 1964, 219 pp., $3.50). A discussion about sermon illustrations that is as practical as you can get.

The Church, by Giovanni Battista Cardinal Montini, now Pope Paul VI (Helicon, 1964, 232 pp., $5.50). Ten essays that declare what the Roman Catholic Church is and what it is not.

Religion and Social Conflict, edited by Robert Lee and Martin E. Marty (Oxford, 1964, 193 pp., $5). Lectures given at the Institute of Ethics and Society at San Francisco Theological Seminary. For students only.

Doubt’s Boundless Sea: Skepticism and Faith in the Renaissance, by Don Cameron Allen (Johns Hopkins, 1964, 272 pp., $5.95). A discussion of atheism by an author who feels—or fears—that atheism is the deep fear of the orthodox Christian believer.

Variations on a Theme, by Winfred E. Garrison (Bethany Press, 1964, 208 pp., $3.50). A kind of high-caliber cracker-barrel musings on many things by a sharp thinker and good writer who will not be remembered for any great fidelity to the Scriptures.

Who Brought the Word (Wycliffe Bible Translators, 1963, 130 pp., $4.95). The Wycliffe Bible Translators’ own story in picture and word of how they are reaching earth’s remote tribes with the Gospel.

Memorial Messages, by R. Earl Allen (Broadman, 1964, 96 pp., $1.95). Sixteen funeral meditations that are more than poetic recitals about flowers.

Ministers of Christ: A Commentary on the Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, by Joh. P. Meyer (Northwestern Publishing House, 1963, 326 pp., $5). A fine commentary by a professor who has served the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary for forty-three years.

An Introduction to the Apocrypha: Based on the Revised Standard Version, by Bruce M. Metzger (Oxford, 1964, 274 pp., $7). A comprehensive but concise examination of the Apocrypha, their history and their significance.

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To Number Our Days: An Autobiographical Memoir, by Pierre van Paassen (Scribners, 1964, 404 pp., $7.50). A famous Dutchman who can’t get all the religion out of his blood looks wide over life and in vigorous language writes what he sees and how he interprets it.

The Open Church: Vatican II, Act II, by Michael Novak (Macmillian, 1964, 370 pp., $6.50). A fascinating report with detailed coverage of the struggle to open up the Roman Catholic Church to the modern world.

Moral Philosophy, by Jacques Maritain (Scribners, 1964, 481 pp., $7.50). Renowned Roman Catholic Maritain turns his years and talent to present and critically evaluate the great moral philosophical systems of the past. A tremendous study for specialists and students.

The Neglected Factor, by Eric Baker (Abingdon, 1963, 112 pp., $2.25). A discussion of the Beatitudes to show that ethics are an integral part of Christian life and thought.

Personalities of the Old Testament, by Ralph G. Turnbull (Baker, 1964, 151 pp., $2.50). Thirteen short sermons in the biblical tradition that will ignite ideas for the pastor’s own sermons. They are also good reading for laymen.

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