Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Brevard Childs passes away…

Posted by joespencer on June 30, 2007

In a brief conversation with Jim and Robert on another post, we suddenly discovered that Brevard Childs passed away earlier this week. You can read about his death here: http://www.yale.edu/divinity/news/070625_news_childs.shtml

Childs is well known for the development of what he calls “canonical criticism,” a field of Old Testament research that undertakes to study the scriptures as canon. It thus pays a great deal of attention to traditional interpretation, to Church dogmas, and to the final form of scripture (rather than the bits and pieces left after most exegetical treatments). His programmatic Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture is a marvelous introduction to this kind of study. As Walter Brueggemann has noted in several places, Childs was most successful in his work on Isaiah, will culminated just a few years ago in a marvelous commentary (simply called Isaiah) that I’ve been using pretty constantly for the past couple of months.

His scholarship will certainly be missed, and I hope to see other scholars doing the kind of careful canonical work he has been doing. There are a lot of ways, it seems to me, in which his canonical approach opens marvelous possibilities for scriptural interpretation that does not need to pay a lot of attention to what are usually termed historical difficulties. That is, a canonical approach to Isaiah is certainly a helpful approach for a Latter-day Saint, who finds much of Second Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, etc. As Jim pointed out during our discussion, it may be that Brevard Childs exemplifies the kind of scholarship that has to this point prevailed among LDS scholars.

At any rate, it is certainly clear that I’m not a eulogist, but I would like to offer my own thanks to Professor Childs for his life’s work and for his undeniable faith in the scriptures. May he rejoice before God eternally.

One Response to “Brevard Childs passes away…”

  1. Julie M. Smith said

    Aw, thanks for this post. Just a few hours ago I was debating with myself over buying his Exodus commentary (I lost).

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