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My Advice to Students — David Rudolph Says, "Consider the Ethical Implications of Your Theology"

Categories My Advice to Students

9780310330639David Rudolph, rabbi of Tikvat Israel Messianic Synagogue and co-author of Introduction to Messianic Judaism, has had quite the academic and spiritual journey.

Having completed a BTh and MTS at Messiah Biblical Institute; an MA in Old Testament and an MA in Biblical Languages at Gordon-Conwell; and PhD in in New Testament with a specialization in Second Temple Judaism under Dr. Markus Bockmuehl at Cambridge—Rudolph's advice to students carries particular weight.

In the course of his studies he came to realize that one of the areas not focused on in the academy is the importance of ethical decision making, particularly the ethical implications of our theology.

Rudolph shares an apt illustration from Klyne Snodgrass regarding truth. Snodgrass says, truth is like a flower with deep roots. If you want to enjoy it fully you must take it whole. If you take just the top part, it will wither in your hands.

Rudolph believes this idea is very much the case of the ethical implications of our theologies. By pressing this issue you realize truth has deep roots and you can't just take the top half.

He offers current discussions on the New Perspective on Paul in regards to Jewish identity as an intriguing illustration of why he advises students to consider the ethical implications of their theology.

In the end Rudolph concludes, "Whenever we arrive at theological conclusions, we need to ask ourselves what are the deep roots of those conclusions, what are the ethical implications of those conclusions. So that when we take that flower we are taking it whole, not just the top half."

-Jeremy Bouma, Th.M. (@bouma)


"My Advice to Students" is a weekly video series designed to advise and guide students who are studying for a future of ministry in the Church, whether in the academy or in congregations. In these specially curated videos, leading scholars of biblical studies share their seasoned wisdom to help you navigate this important season of preparation.

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