Biblical Theology

Introducing the Conversation

By Leo Perdue Published
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Revives biblical theology as a discipline that describes the faith of the biblical periods and articulates normative understandings of modern faith and practiceOne of the thorniest problems in theological study is the relationship between biblical studies on the one hand, and constructive theology on the other. Theologians know that the Bible is the core source document for theological construction, and hence that they must be in conversation with the best in critical study of Scripture. For many biblical scholars, the point of what they do is to help the biblical text speak to today’s church and world, and hence they would do well to be in conversation with contemporary theology. Yet too often the two groups fail to  engage each other’s work in significant and productive ways. The purpose of the Library of Biblical Theology, and this introductory volume to it, is to bring the worlds of biblical scholarship and constructive theology together. It will do so by reviving biblical theology as a discipline that describes the faith of the biblical periods on the one hand, and on the other hand articulates normative understandings of modern faith and practice.  In this volume the authors begin by providing an overview of the history and possible future of biblical theology. They introduce biblical theology as a fundamentally contrastive discipline, one that is neither dogmatic theology (seeking to explain the official teachings of a particular Christian tradition), nor is it a purely historical approach to Scripture, eschewing questions of the Bible’s contemporary message and meaning. Rather, biblical theology takes seriously both the need to understand the message of Scripture in its particular historical context, and the need to address that message to questions that confront contemporary human life.


“A new conversation is opening up between Jews and Christians on the topic of biblical theology. Having been a formerly Christian, indeed Protestant, concern—a detailed overview of which is given in relation to Old and New Testaments—it has now evolved into a challenging dialogue between the two faiths that share the Hebrew Bible. The pluralism of modern contexts of reading means that diversity of interpretation is the order of the day. This study, a fascinating overview of the biblical theological task from three distinguished scholars in the field, brings us right up-to-date in its consideration of the burgeoning field of postmodern and post-colonial readings of texts.”
—Katharine J. Dell, University of Cambridge


Biblical Theology: Introducing the Conversation is a remarkable resource. The four essays chart the development of biblical theology, including classic and contemporary voices as well as Jewish and Christian perspectives. The rich bibliography and fresh set of proposals make the volume required reading for all those interested in biblical theology.”
—David L. Petersen, Franklin N. Parker Professor of Old Testament, Emory University

“Since the heyday of Old and New Testament theology some fifty years ago, the gap between biblical studies and systematic theology has continued to widen. The first volume of the Library of Biblical Theology, an introduction to the current issues by Benjamin Sommer, Leo Perdue, and Robert Morgan, takes a very promising step towards bringing the two disciplines back together in a new and constructive dialogue.”
—Konrad Schmid, Professor of Old Testament and Early Judaism at the University of Zurich, Switzerland

About the Author

Leo Perdue

Leo G. Perdue is Professor of Hebrew Bible and President of Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University. He is co-author of "Families in Ancient Israel".