Cosgrove, Charles H. 1952-

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Cosgrove, Charles H. 1952-

PERSONAL:

Born July 8, 1952; married Debbie Fredericks; children: Katherine. Education: Bethel College, B.A., 1976; Bethel Theological Seminary, M.Div., 1979; Princeton Theological Seminary, Ph.D., 1985. Attended the University of Tubingen, Germany, Instituto Superio Evangelico de Estudios Teologicos, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, IL. Hobbies and other interests: Jazz trombone.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Northern Seminary, 660 E. Butterfield Rd., Lombard, IL 60148. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, editor, educator, and theologian. Northern Seminary, Lombard, IL, professor of New Testament Studies and Christian ethics, 1984—.

WRITINGS:

The Cross and the Spirit: A Study in the Argument and Theology of Galatians, Mercer (Macon, GA), 1988.

(Editor, with John T. Carroll and E. Elizabeth Johnson) Faith and History: Essays in Honor of Paul W. Meyer, Scholars Press (Atlanta, GA), 1990.

(With Dennis D. Hatfield) Church Conflict: The Hidden Systems behind the Fights, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN), 1994.

Elusive Israel: The Puzzle of Election in Romans, Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 1997.

A History of the 134th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the American Civil War, 1862-1865: Long Night's Journey into Day, E. Mellen Press (Lewiston, NY), 1997.

Appealing to Scripture in Moral Debate: Five Hermeneutical Rules, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 2002.

(Editor) The Meanings We Choose: Hermeneutical Ethics, Indeterminacy, and the Conflict of Interpretations, T & T Clark International (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Herold Weiss and K.K. Yeo) Cross-Cultural Paul: Journeys to Others, Journeys to Ourselves, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 2005.

(With W. Dow Edgerton) In Other Words: Incarnational Translation for Preaching, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer, editor, and theologian Charles H. Cosgrove is a professor of New Testament studies and Christian ethics at the Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. There Cosgrove pursues research in a variety of theological areas, including Biblical theology, ancient Christian worship, early church music, ethics, and hermeneutics, or the science of interpretation, noted a biographer on the Northern Seminary Web site. Further, Cosgrove is a scholar of the works and letters of the biblical figure Paul and of the Gospel of John. A native of the Chicago area, Cosgrove has worked and studied in Germany, Argentina, and Minnesota. In addition to his work at Northern Seminary, he conducts Christian adult education workshops. He is a choir director for both youth and adult groups, and as a skilled jazz trombonist, frequently performs in "brass groups and other instrumental ensembles for worship," the biographer stated.

Cosgrove explores a perplexing aspect of Pauline scholarship in Elusive Israel: The Puzzle of Election in Romans. In the book, he considers three interpretations of Paul's references to Israel in Romans 9 and 10, noted Mary C. Orr in Interpretation. In the first, Cosgrove suggests that Paul might be redefining Israel spiritually, and thus refers to the church; in the second, he might be using Israel to refer to the Jewish people as a whole; in the third, Cosgrove speculates Paul might be referencing a particular group within the Jewish nation. Cosgrove concludes that, in all likelihood, Paul's reference to Israel was meant to encompass the physical entity of the nation. Throughout the book, "Cosgrove makes some excellent points," Orr concluded.

In Appealing to Scripture in Moral Debate: Five Hermeneutical Rules, Cosgrove examines five hermeneutical, or interpretive, rules that are commonly used to interpret and evoke the Bible as a reliable source for moral arguments. "One of the virtues of Charles Cosgrove's splendid study is making explicit the ‘common-sense’ rules we implicitly invoke in reading the Bible as authoritative Scripture," commented William O'Neill in Theological Studies. Cosgrove seeks to clarify these hermeneutical rules as used by modern-day scholars and ethicists, and suggests that "by examining how we argue, from the Bible to moral conclusions, we can become more consistent in our use of scripture in ethical reasoning," noted Interpretation reviewer Jack Rogers. The rules he covers address topics such as moral rules found within Scripture itself; the priority to be accorded the voices of the marginalized citizens at the fringes of culture; the use of scientific and empirical knowledge that falls outside the scope of Scripture; and the precedence that moral and theological considerations must take in cases where there is conflict in meaning or interpretation. Cosgrove's argument displays "considerable grace and erudition," O'Neill observed.

Cosgrove is the editor of The Meanings We Choose: Hermeneutical Ethics, Indeterminacy, and the Conflict of Interpretations. Cosgrove and his contributors suggest that the "meaning of biblical texts is very often indeterminate, and where this is so the interpreter should choose meanings that are morally acceptable and edifying to the church," noted reviewer J. Barton in the Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Some contributors, Barton noted, assert that biblical texts are often subject to "competing reasonable interpretations," while others feel that it is up to the readers to derive their own interpretations of a biblical passage, based on solid ethical considerations. Barton concluded that the book is a "significant contribution to a growing debate."

With Herold Weiss and K.K. Yeo, Cosgrove is the author of Cross-Cultural Paul: Journeys to Others, Journeys to Ourselves. In this work, the three authors interpret Pauline concepts and thought from their own individual cultural backgrounds—Anglo-American, Argentine/Uruguayan, and Chinese. They also consider Paul from the perspective of three other cultural perspectives: Native American, Russian, and African American. "The result is both a fascinating insight into each of the cultures dealt with and a lively and intriguing engagement with various aspects of Pauline thought" in areas such as eschatology, Christology, the natural world, and suffering, commented Gary Burnett in the Journal for the Study of the New Testament. The book "represents a daring, albeit uncommonly sensitive, approach to ‘cross-cultural’ hermeneutics, and it should provide ample fodder for the larger conversation," remarked Michael Barram, writing in Reviews in Religion & Theology. In their individual contributions, the authors consider the themes and theological concepts found within Paul's uncontested letters, and provide in-depth analysis and discussion of these concepts within the context of their cultural background. The authors also provide a conclusion that assesses important differences between the six cultural interpretations addressed within the book.

William O'Neill, writing in Theological Studies, mused, "This cross-cultural exercise shows us, to our surprise, that Paul's concepts have many more possible connotations than we thought." Barram concluded that "Western teachers, preachers, missionaries—indeed, all serious students of Paul—will find insights worthy of consideration in this book," and called the volume a "strong and well-conceived contribution to contemporary hermeneutical debates."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Catholic Biblical Quarterly, April, 1999, Florence Morgan Gilman, review of Elusive Israel: The Puzzle of Election in Romans, p. 357.

Interpretation, April, 1992, Paul S. Minear, review of Faith and History: Essays in Honor of Paul W. Meyer, p. 205; July, 1998, Mary C. Orr, review of Elusive Israel, p. 312; January, 2004, Jack Rogers, review of Appealing to Scripture in Moral Debate: Five Hermeneutical Rules, p. 92; October, 2006, Daniel Patte, review of Cross-Cultural Paul: Journeys to Others, Journeys to Ourselves, p. 470.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament, September, 2006, Gary Burnett, review of Cross-Cultural Paul, p. 151.

Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, June, 2005, J. Barton, review of The Meanings We Choose: Hermeneutical Ethics, Indeterminacy, and the Conflict of Interpretations, p. 98.

Journal of Biblical Literature, spring, 1991, George Lyons, review of The Cross and the Spirit: A Study in the Argument and Theology of Galatians, p. 171; spring, 2000, Mark D. Nanos, review of Elusive Israel, p. 149.

Journal of Religion, January, 1991, David J. Lull, review of The Cross and the Spirit, p. 93.

Journal of Theological Studies, April, 2007, Eryl W. Davies, review of The Meanings We Choose, p. 183.

Reviews in Religion & Theology, January, 2007, Michael Barram, review of Cross-Cultural Paul, p. 11.

Theological Studies, March, 2004, William O'Neill, review of Appealing to Scripture in Moral Debate, p. 231.

Theology, November-December, 2006, Kathy Ehrensperger, review of Cross-Cultural Paul, p. 458.

Theology Today, October, 1991, Charles B. Cousar, review of The Cross and the Spirit, p. 374; July, 1998, review of Elusive Israel, p. 298.

ONLINE

Northern Seminary Web site,http://www.seminary.edu/ (May 22, 2008), author biography.