Posted by: mattcolvin | January 9, 2010

K. Stendahl on Continuity with the Old Testament


Found this great little quote from Krister Stendahl’s introduction to The Scrolls and the New Testament:

“It has always been known that Christianity emerged out of Judaism, and to the early church this was not only a historical but a theological fact. The fight against Marcion’s attempt to do away with the Old Testament and the Jewish legacy of Christianity makes this clear once for all.

Marcion’s intentions were, however, rather close to the unconscious attitudes of modern man. He wanted Christianity to be a new religion, just as it is to us. Whereas the New Testament sees Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecies, we are apt to see him as the founder of a new religion. And our paramount problem is to prove that there is something new in Christianity, something never heard of before. Our pattern of thought is that of natural science: Jesus is the inventor of Christianity and the church is the guardian of his patent and his copyright. In the New Testament the major concern is the diametrically opposite one: to make clear that all is “old,” in accordance with the expectations of the prophets. The golden rule is not promulgated as the terrific achievement of an ethical thinker; it is recommended by the remark, “This is the Law and the Prophets.”


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