MEREDITH G. KLINE ON COVENANT COMMUNITY AND CANON

by MEREDITH M. KLINE in Vol. 2 No. 1 / April 2016



Meredith G. Kline supported conservative views of canon by arguing that ancient Near Eastern treaties and Deuteronomy contained canonical clauses, meaning that their texts were authoritative for the vassal community when they were written, as were biblical books performing functions governing that community. Based on discontinuities between the Old and New Testament forms of the covenant community, Kline redefined canon as documents structuring and implementing the polity of the various phases of the vassal community. Thus, the Old Testament counts as Scripture, but not canon, for the church. Critical scholarship perceives Kline’s views as conservative dogma rather than historical argument; conservatives approve his demonstration that all Scripture is covenantal, but dislike his distinctions between faith, individual-life, and community-life (polity) norms.


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