Date of Award

2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

College

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, Old Testament Studies PhD

First Advisor

Richard M. Davidson

Second Advisor

Oliver Glanz

Third Advisor

Roy E. Gane

Abstract

Elijah is among the most popular prophets in the Judeo-Christian tradition. In Judaism, the hope for his return has evolved into a plethora of legends in which he functions as a helper to the righteous in the present and avenger to the wicked in the future eschaton. In Christianity, the expectation involving his return has also a multitemporal dimension, but its fulfilment is typologically oriented. More often, scholars study the fulfilment of the Elijah typology from the NT perspective in a backward movement. This dissertation investigates this typology in a forward movement going from the OT to the NT while still recognizing the value of a both ways approach. In other words, the present work aims at looking for indicators of typology in the narrative of Elijah.

This study is divided into three parts. In the first one (Chapter 2), a review of literature of the last two decades reveals that although the basic issues involving the study of typology in Scriptures have not changed during this period, new trends have emerged. After this initial methodological positioning, this study proceeds in the second part (Chapters 3–5) with a text-empirical analysis of Elijah cycle (1 Kgs 17–19, 21; 2 Kgs 1–2:14), that takes into account not only the historical element of the narrative but also its artistic features as literature. Finally, in the third part (Chapter 6), the study identifies the typological indicators that emerged from the exegesis of the passage in part 2 and shows their relationship with the actual fulfillment of Elijah typology in the NT era.

In conclusion, the analysis of the biblical data indicates that there are at least three clear indicators of typology in the narrative of Elijah and in its broader canonical context: (i) the antitypical use of Elijah as a new Melchizedek, Moses, Joshua, and David; (ii) the presence of major redemptive-historical events such as the exodus and new covenant; and (iii) the recurring and unfinished characteristic of the prophet’s narrative. Thus, regarding the typology of Elijah, both Malachi and the NT authors were not reading into the OT something that was not already there. At the same time, the NT writers develop the typology of Elijah beyond its contemporary and initial fulfillment in the ministry of John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah. In addition to this inaugurated eschatological fulfilment, they signal future appropriated and consummated fulfilment phases in the historical progress from the establishment of the NT church to the end of time.

Subject Area

Elijah (Biblical prophet); Typology (Theology)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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