Exploring a Taxonomy of Perspectives on the NT Use of the OT

Scholars discuss several factors involved in assessing the New Testament use of the Old Testament. These include analyses of the form classification, of any textual factors involved, of the NT context where the referenced OT passage occurs, of the OT context of the referenced passage, and of other ancient uses of the OT passage. Following on a series of ETS papers over the past few years that discussed taxonomies of functions, forms, framings according to which NT authors reference the Old Testament, this paper is an exploration of various overall perspectives by which scholars approach the New Testament use of the Old Testament.
By “perspectives” we mean to examine, not the step-by-step methodologies utilized by scholars, but the various sets of perceptions that affect their approaches to interpreting the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament. In addition to functions, forms, and framings, a scholar’s perspective involves a wider realm of factors including presuppositions about Scripture, historical understandings of how to read material, and assumptions about divine involvement in interpretation.
Taking into account these kinds of factors, Michael Vlach has recently published a taxonomy of seven different approaches to the New Testament use of the Old Testament: Michael Vlach, The Old in the New: Understanding How the New Testament Authors Quoted the Old Testament (The Woodlands, TX: Kress Biblical Resources, 2021; Sun Valley, CA: The Master’s Seminary Press, 2021), pp. 1–58. This paper builds upon that analysis and suggests that a broader eclectic approach may be most helpful.

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