Holy Scripture is the cognitive principle of theology, the supreme source from which the treasures of divine wisdom are drawn and the supreme norm by which our grasp of those treasures is measured. To borrow a metaphor from Matthew 13:44, Holy Scripture is the “field” in which the “treasures” that theology seeks to acquire are “hidden.”
When theology forgets what tools are necessary for digging up Scripture’s treasures, or when it forgets even what it means to dig, then “retrieval” becomes an essential element of theological method. Retrieval is about apprenticing ourselves to theologians and biblical interpreters of the past so that they can remind us what shovels are and how they are to be used. Retrieval, thus understood, is a means to an end, a means to the end of discovering the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8) hidden and revealed in the prophetic and apostolic writings.
In his latest book, Bobby Jamieson provides an instructive model of what it means to retrieve past tools of biblical interpretation for the sake of theological renewal in the present.
Jamieson’s book is a profound study in the Christology of Hebrews in its own right that addresses a number of issues that have bedeviled modern interpreters. Its thesis is that we may best appreciate the Christology of Hebrews by viewing its varied claims about Jesus from the bifocal perspective of his identity as divine Son and messianic Son. More specifically, according to Jamieson, Hebrews portrays Jesus as God’s divine Son who became God’s messianic Son by means of his incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, and enthronement at God’s right hand.
Jamieson arrives at his Christological claim with the help of six concepts and reading strategies derived from what he calls a “classical Christological toolkit.” These six tools, once recognizable to all orthodox biblical interpreters, have largely been set aside and left unused in modern biblical criticism, to the profound diminishment of exegesis and theology. Jamieson takes up these tools, accurately describes what they are and how they work, and then shows us how to use them in biblical exegesis. The result is a master class in hermeneutics that may serve as a model for anyone looking to gain greater skill in digging up the unsearchable riches that God has hidden for us in Scripture in the person of his divine and messianic Son.
Here’s the commendation I wrote for the book:
It is only fitting that the one who is the Father’s Son by nature should fill the role of Son in the Father’s household, from his incarnation and atonement to his resurrection and enthronement. This simple claim, according to Bobby Jamieson, is the key to the Christology of Hebrews. Grasping this claim, however, has not been a simple matter for modern interpreters. In a work of great hermeneutical and theological sophistication, Jamieson draws on six classical christological reading strategies forgotten or ignored by many modern interpreters to help us better see the glory of the Son of God in the epistle to the Hebrews.