Original Research - Special Collection: Old Testament and New Testament Studies

‘Retrodiction’ of the Old Testament in the New: The case of Deuteronomy 21:23 in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians and the crucifixion of Yehoshua ben Yoseph

Gert J. Steyn
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 3 | a3091 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i3.3091 | © 2015 Gert J. Steyn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 June 2015 | Published: 29 September 2015

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Gert J. Steyn, Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The fact that the New Testament authors often referred or alluded to, or quoted from their Scriptures (roughly what is known today as ‘the OT’), and then very often linked those quotations, references, and allusions from their Jewish Scriptures to the Christ-event, has led to the viewpoint of some that ‘Christ is found in the OT’ – that is, that the OT prophesised about the events that took place regarding the person, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the intention of this contribution to confirm the position of mainstream biblical scholarship that the Old Testament does not predict the events surrounding Jesus of Nazareth, but that the New Testament writers interpreted the Jesus-events in hindsight in the light of the Scriptures of Israel. The current study attempts to firstly unfold the meta-narrative of the New Testament in five acts. Against the backdrop of the last of these acts, the case of the crucifixion of Jesus as interpreted by Paul to the early Christians in Galatia receives particular attention. It is argued that Paul’s presentation of the crucifixion in Galatians – as based on Deuteronomy 21:23 – is done retrodictively to portray Yehoshua ben Yoseph as liberator of the law in Asia Minor. This study proposes the coinage of a new term in canonical biblical scholarship, namely the term ‘retrodiction’ – in opposition to the term ‘prediction’.

Keywords

Canon; Prediction; Retrodiction; Deuteronomy; Galatians; Crucifixion

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