The World Council of Churches has called for renewed theological reflection on the biblical roots of ordination to strengthen the vocational identity of the ordained and to provide a framework for ecumenical dialogue. This book is a response to that call. It is grounded in the assumption that the vocation of ordination requires an understanding of holiness and how it functions in human religious experience. The goal is to construct a biblical theology of ordination that is embedded in broad reflection on the nature of holiness. Dozeman's study of holiness and ministry interweaves three methodologies. The first, from the History of Religions, describes two theories of holiness in the study of religion, as a dynamic force and as a ritual resource. Both play a central role in biblical literature and establish the paradigm of ordination to Word and Sacrament in Christian tradition. Second, the study of the formation of the Mosaic Office illustrates how the two views of holiness model ordination to the prophetic word and to the priestly ritual. Third, Canonical Criticism provides the lens to explore the ongoing influence of the Mosaic Office in the New Testament literature.
Holiness and Ministry will assist candidates for ordination to discern their call experience and establish professional identity within individual traditions of Christianity, while also providing a resource for ecumenical dialogue on the nature and purpose of Christian ordination.
Thomas B. Dozeman is Professor of Hebrew Bible at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He is the co-editor of A Farewell to the Yahwist?: The Interpretation of the Pentateuch in Contemporary European Scholarship and author of God at War: Power in the Exodus Tradition, along with a number of other books.
"Alas, we've lost much of our earlier conviction that to be in ministry is to have one's life formed by God for the peculiar challenges of this high vocation. Tom Dozeman helped me to rediscover that conviction -- those who are called to ministry in Christ's name are also called to holiness of life. This is an encouraging, timely book." --Will Willimon, Bishop, North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church
"Thomas Dozeman has provided an essential resource to denominations and local congregations who are attempting to examine their theology and practice of ordination. The book provides a template for any Christian tradition seeking to locate the roots of its ordination practice and theology within the biblical witness. This biblical theology of ordination may well generate rich new conversations and important movements toward renewal of ordination within the churches." --Richard L. Eslinger, Professor of Worship and Homiletics at United Theological Seminary and author of The Web of Preaching: New Options in Homiletical Method
"This ambitious book fills a major gap in the field of Biblical Theology and provides a much needed resource to anyone involved in ministry. Dozeman draws on the resources of History of Religions to place the biblical traditions in a broader comparative perspective. He uses Canon Criticism to show how two divergent approaches to holiness in the biblical tradition can be used to complement each other. This book is a major contribution to the academic discipline of Biblical Theology, and is indispensable for anyone involved in seminary education." --John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament, Yale, and author of Encounters with Biblical Theology