Mark Driscoll As Scholar And Exegete
If this sermon was to be written down and handed in as an exegetical paper at most Universities Mark would very likely get a big red F:
I find this entire homily painful at best. First, elohim is simply the common Hebrew word for God, plural in construct but singular in meaning, and as Mark fails to point out takes a singular verb בָּרָ֣א. There is universal agreement that a trinitarian understanding of this noun could not have been the understanding of the priestly author of Gen 1.
Second, targum Neofiti is commonly dated in the second century CE! That’s significantly later than Driscoll argues. In fact, undercuts most of his argument.
Third, “firstborn” is an odd rendering of ברא in Neofiti, and its Greek equivalent is not πρωτότοκος (Col 1:15 is what Driscoll is referencing).
Fourth, I understand that grammatically there is a case to be made for ברא as son (not firstborn) in the Neofiti text; however, seeing as the Targums are translations, interpretations, and clarifications of Hebrew texts I’m not sure how you get by associating it with בָּרָ֣א in the Hebrew text and parsing it as a 3ms verb.
Fifth, the special pleading in Driscoll’s argument is actually quite shocking. Driscoll has stated elsewhere that there is nothing he can learn about the OT from someone who is not a Christian.
Oh but wait! I have a tendentious translation of a targum, whose function I don’t understand, that if I twist the right way with an incorrect analogy from the NT “proves” there were Jews who believed in the trinity before Jesus. Egad.
His opening salvo that there was some Jews who believed in the trinity because “they read the Bible and took it at face value” is so wrong, on so many levels, before he goes into his mistake laden sermon, that it’s quite surprising to me this has not been taken off of the internet.
I understand that operating within a church setting means that as interpretive communities they adopt certain assumptions and presuppositions about interpreting the text. But special pleading that is little more than outright misrepresentation (i.e., lying) seems to me to be contra the pastoral charge.
But what do I know, I’m just a liberal scholar! 😉