Hamilton Responds to Köstenberger on Biblical Theology

Andreas Köstenberger’s most recent JETS editorial characterizes Jim Hamilton’s book God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment as a “hybrid” of biblical and systematic theology. Köstenberger writes:

It should be noted that Hamilton’s brand of Biblical Theology is in fact a hybrid of Biblical and Systematic Theology—Hamilton calls the two disciplines “equal tools”—and takes its cue from both theologians such as Jonathan Edwards and direct study of biblical texts (3)

Hamilton takes issue with this description of his methodology in some extended remarks on his website. Hamilton writes:

In sorting through the Bible’s themes to determine which one the biblical authors consider to be ultimate, the distinction Jonathan Edwards makes between subordinate and ultimate ends is very helpful. But quoting Edwards on this point does not mean that my “brand of biblical theology . . . takes its cue” from him, as anyone who has read Edwards and my book will easily discern.

I have learned from and have great respect for Jonathan Edwards, but he did not define biblical theology as I do, nor am I pursuing an interpretive methodology that takes its cues from his way of operating. He was working at a different time with different dialogue partners.

You can read Köstenberger’s editorial here and the rest of Hamilton’s response here.


  • Dan Phillips

    OK, now that I’ve read both I still agree with myself in agreeing with Hamilton. In fact, one wonders whether an editor shifted Kostenberger’s “It is creative, shows thorough awareness of the field, and avoids numerous landmines that have inflicted serious damage to the proposals of many of _____’s predecessors” from an original reference to Hamilton, since the words fit his terrific book quite nicely.

  • Chuck Fuller

    I was present for the regional ETS during which Köstenberger spent a good portion of his plenary address criticizing Hamilton’s approach. It seems that Köstenberger accuses Hamilton of being, at once, too simple and too complex. If I were Jim, I would receive such critique as compliment!

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