Friday, January 17, 2014

Jared Compton's Dissertation

Congratulations to Jared Compton who defended his doctoral dissertation in November:

Jared Compton, "Psalm 110 and the Logic of Hebrews." PhD diss., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2013, xv + 232 pp.

Supervisors: D. A. Carson, Eckhard J. Schnabel, and Richard Averbeck

E. F. Scott once called Hebrews “the riddle of the New Testament,” considering how many basic questions the letter leaves open (e.g., the identity of its author, occasion, and audience, et al.). Sometime later, G. W. Buchanan called Hebrews a “homiletical midrash on Ps 110” in light of how often and, indeed, where the psalm is cited or alluded to in the letter. The following dissertation takes on board Buchanan’s (strangely-neglected) observation about the importance of Ps 110 in an attempt to shed some light on one of the more interesting riddles Scott identified: the situation of Hebrews’ audience. Moreover, since it is the author’s expositions—over against his exhortations—that address the heart of the audience’s crisis of faith and since Ps 110 plays such a fundamental role in the author’s expositions, each of the chapters comprising the body of this paper explore one of the author’s ten expositional units (chs. 3–12). Each of these chapters (1) surface the unit’s main claim, along with the role of Ps 110 in this claim, and (2) reflect on the unit’s—and, thus, psalm’s—function in the author’s larger argument. If, in other words, we can identify what the author says in the part of his letter addressing his audience’s crisis of faith, this should go a long way toward answering why he has written and, therefore, what his audience’s crisis of faith was. The dissertation ends with a final chapter offering a synthetic portrait of the author’s argument and, with this, a synthetic portrait of his use of Ps 110 (ch. 13; see, esp., table 13). Beyond this, the final chapter concludes with a brief, but suggestive, hypothesis about what this synthetic portrait may imply about the audience’s situation, which is another way of saying that it ends with a lingering puzzle but, at the same time, a clearer way forward for future work.

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