The Christian community characteristically confesses the constancy of God. But historians of religion know by contrast that the deity Yhwh evolved over time. How might scholars who belong to both these camps negotiate the disconnect? This essay seeks an answer by staging a moment of complementarity between Religionsgeschichte and ot theology. First it considers two cases in which the discourses of each discipline mirror one another by narrating the same event of deity change: Ps 82 and Yhwh’s greater mercy through exile. Second, it provides a sampler of two theological ontologies that countenance “holy mutability”: the open theism of Terence Fretheim and the evangelical historicism of Eberhard Jüngel.
Reinhard G. Kratz“Reste hebräischen Heidentums am Beispiel der Psalmen,”NAWG.PH1 (2004/2): 25-65; Reinhard Müller “Die frühe Jahweverehrung im Spiegel der ältesten Psalmen” in Anfänge und Ursprünge der Jahweverehrung ed. Cilliers Breytenbach et al. BThZ 30 (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt 2013) 89-119.
Reinhard G. Kratz“Chemosh’s Wrath and Yahweh’s No: Ideas of Divine Wrath in Moab and Israel,” in Divine Wrath and Divine Mercy in the World of Antiquityed. Reinhard G. Kratz and Hermann Spieckermann fat ii/33 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck2008) 92-121.
Walter Brueggemann“A Shattered Transcendence? Exile and Restoration,” in Biblical Theology: Problems and Perspectivesed. Steven J. Kraftchick Charles D. Myers Jr. and Ben C. Ollenburger (Nashville: Abingdon Press1995) 169-82here 174.
FretheimSuffering35 36. Cf. C. Kavin Rowe: “where our hermeneutics differ from Childs’s we may reasonably expect to find differences in how we conceive of the doctrine of God” (“The Doctrine of God is a Hermeneutic: The Biblical Theology of Brevard S. Childs” in The Bible as Christian Scripture: The Work of Brevard S. Childs ed. Christopher R. Seitz and Kent Harold Richards sblbsna 25 [Atlanta: sbl Press 2013] 155-169 here 169 n. 18).