by Jerusha Kennealy
On Thursday, February 4, people packed into the Nazareth Chapel to hear from three of Northwestern’s own professors who shared their scholarly research with fifteen-minute presentations in TED Talk style with a short time for questions and response afterwards.
Dr. Ed Glenny shared on “The Septuagint: The Bible of the early church,” Dr. Michael Wise’s area of expertise was on “The biblical period,” and Dr. Walter Schultz concluded with “Why Christian higher education?” This celebration of Christian scholarship was a success, with a large turnout consisting of students, professors, alumni, friends of the college and prospective students.n Thursday Feb. 4, people packed into the Nazareth Chapel to hear from three of Northwestern’s own professors who shared their scholarly research with fifteen-minute presentations in TED Talk style with a short time for questions and response afterwards.
Dr. Ed Glenny: “The Septuagint: The Bible of the early church”
The Septuagint is the Greek translation of Jewish scripture (which is the Old Testament). An example of this is Acts 15:16, which says, “‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’ This correlates with Amos 9:11-12.
Throughout his presentation, Dr. Glenny kept coming back to this idea that much of the New Testament directly coincides with that of the Greek Old Testament. He suggested that the significance and application to people’s lives is to gain a greater understanding of the New Testament through study of the Septuagint.
The Septuagint was the Bible of the early church, and there is more work to be done with the Septuagint. What got Glenny started on this area was taking a class on it, which later led to writing a dissertation on the Old Testament in the New Testament. Since then Glenny has written a work titled “Finding meaning in the text” as well as commentaries on Hosea, Amos and Micah. His study in this area and immersion in these texts deepened his faith; he mentioned the last three verses of Micah, and how they show the “glory of the Lord is that there is no god like our God who forgives sins and shows mercy” as well as the “incomparability of our God. Wow, what a blessing to have these revelations!”
Dr. Michael Wise: “The biblical period”
Dr. Wise began his presentation by telling of the thousands of Jews who were killed in Betar in AD 135, which accounted for seventy percent of the Jewish population (when put in perspective, about 50 percent of the Jewish population was taken in the holocaust). The aftermath of Betar was that the Jewish civilization was changed forever. The narrative was lost. Previously, they lived out a story told by God and they had the lead in that story. Along with the narrative came the belief of the end of days, stemming from Daniel 9:24 and the reference of 70 weeks.
Wise noted that now the book of Daniel is not read in modern synagogues, and Jews are not looking for the Messiah. Christians today are more like the ancient Jews, with circumcised hearts (that Philippians 3 talks of), and they retain the narrative and are therefore the Jews. When asked about the Dead Sea Scrolls and how they have affected Christianity and his personal life, Wise mentioned the narrative that “you and I” are a part of and also said, “In scrolls there is not much of a kindred spirit; it tends to be legalistic, and centered on law as a way of living.” This is why, Wise said, “it’s not a place to get nurtured, [but rather] a place to get perspective on the place I go to get nurtured, which is the New Testament.”
For Wise, it is “not merely academic; it’s worship.” He aims always to glorify the God who created the narrative and try to create an acceptable offering. When asked, why is it worth it? He responded, “This is how we understand the Bible, and that’s worth anything.”
Dr. Walter Schultz: “Why Christian higher education?”
Beginning with Ephesians 1:9, which says, “making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ,” Dr. Shultz jumped into talking about his passion: mathematical logic and economic efficiency. He also described his approach to research: beginning with his foundation, making a hypothesis and testing it.
Schultz’s main point for each listener to take home was that there is no other foundation than Christ. What he was sharing about may be beyond many, and even he admitted that he doesn’t expect everyone to understand. However, it is a way to worship God through scholarship.
Once after Shultz had done a presentation, a woman explained that she did not believe in God but found his research very interesting and could see how a Muslim, Hindu or others could even find it interesting because of the depth and intellect involved. She proceeded to ask Shultz why he was so sure of and stuck on Christ? In that moment, seeing people from across the world, he froze. All that he could say was, “All things were created in him and through him. Christ upholds the universe. If it weren’t for Christ, we wouldn’t be here—there is no other foundation.” That was the driving point of his argument—there is no other foundation.
Through Christ-centered research, Shultz said Christians can “catch glimpses of truth and beauty.” Shultz concluded with this: “Who is this God whom you love with your mind? He’s the God of the Septuagint, the Jews, his name is Jesus and he fulfills his promises.”