John E. Goldingay

“At the beginning of its treatment of the Ten Commandments, a rabbinic commentary on Exodus, the Mekilta of Rabbi Ishmael, raises the question why the Ten Commandments did not appear at the beginning of the Torah but appear only in the setting of the introductory words that describe Yahweh as the one who brought the people out of Egypt. To what may the matter be compared? To one who came to a province. He said to the people, “May I reign over you?” They said to him, “You have done nothing good for us that we should accept your reign.” What did he do? He built them a wall. He brought them water. He fought battles for them. Then he said to them, “May I reign over you?” They responded, “Yes! Yes!” Thus it was with God. He redeemed Israel from Egypt. He parted the sea for them. He brought them manna. He provided them a well. He sent them quail. He fought the battles of Amalek for them. Then he said to them, “May I reign over you?” They replied, “Yes! Yes!”5 The Mekilta’s theology is closer to that of Paul and of Genesis in implying that it was not the people’s obedience that opened up the possibility of a relationship with Yahweh. Its obedience was a response to Yahweh’s acts.”


John E. Goldingay, Do We Need the New Testament?: Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself
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Do We Need the New Testament?: Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself Do We Need the New Testament?: Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself by John E. Goldingay
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