Review of Kinship by Covenant: A canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God’s Saving Promises by Scott W. Hahn
Generally speaking, Hahn does an excellent job of defining the nuances in the term “covenant” as well as articulating how the idea of covenant attaches to the idea of kinship; especially in the use of the word “son”. He covers the covenant and kinship related elements in the Hebrew Bible, but goes on to voice quite a different view when it comes to the New Testament texts. He posits this view against the rather traditional interpretations of Paul in Galatians as well as with the view taken by the author of the book of Hebrews.
His canonical view shows a progression of covenants and kinship that ultimately helps the student see the progressive revelation of God and his plan for total redemption of the human race. Additionally, after reading this, I have a clearer idea of how both Jewish and Gentile believers fit together into the phrase Paul uses: “in Christ”. That having been the title of my own dissertation, it was of special interest to me.
The reading and sometimes rereading of this text is slow because there is much detail to absorb, however, the insights brought out in a careful reading show a much more hopeful view of Paul (within his Second Temple Judean context) as well as a view of Hebrews which I believe is the capstone of his covenantal/kinship theme. Hahn uses the Hebrew Biblical texts to explain God’s interaction with Adam, then Noah, then Abraham, Moses and David. He shows a positive progression of God working in His world.
I would recommend Kinship by Covenant to all Biblical Studies and Theology students as it will readjust some of your thinking away from traditional interpretations. The traditional interpretations often sidetrack the believer with a false narrative that encourages skewed opinions as to what covenants are and how they relate to the kinship of all Christ followers. I encourage people to either buy it or get it through an inter-library loan like I did. It is well worth the effort.
Cheryl Durham, Ph.D.
Cheryl is the Executive Director at Living Truth. She is also currently Dean of Students and Professor of New Testament Culture and History at Master's International University of Divinity. She holds a Bachelor and Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling, a Doctor of Biblical Studies in Worldview and a Ph.D. in New Testament History and Culture.