Skip to main content

Wheaton Theology Conference - Richard Hays

Those of you who read my regularly know of my deep admiration for Richard Hays. He has been one of my greatest influences. First I'd like to offer my condolences to his family. His father-in-law passed away and the funeral is today. Graciously he decided to still come and deliver his lecture (though he could not stay for the panel discussion). He spoke on what he saw as flaws in Wright's approach to studies of Jesus. The timing of this talk is impeccable, coming on the heels of the recent debate between McKnight and Wright in CT (which I have commented on).

First, let me note that Hays was extremely gracious in the way he critiqued Wright. If only all Christians could follow his example of God-glorifying disagreement.

It should be noted that Hays is responding to Wright's criticism of him at the 2008 SBL meeting. Wright found the book edited by Hays and Gaventa, Seeking the Identity of Jesus: A Pilgrimage, to be too Barthian in its understanding of history.

Hays response to Wright broke into three main parts. First he sketched Wright's approach. Then he mentioned some gains and losses from Wright's approach. He closed with a proposal of how we should proceed now.

I don't want to give a full outline of what Hays said, but he made a couple of key observations. One is that in Jesus and the Victory of God, Wright does not pay attention to the literary and theological shape of the gospels. In effect what happens is Wright mutes each writer's voice and in effect creates a fifth gospel which he has reconstructed historically. A second major criticism is his exclusion of John from his reconstruction (which was the topic Maryanne Meye Thompson discussed in the following lecture). I highly encourage you to listen to Hays to hear how he expands on this criticism, his points here were excellent.

Hays certainly sees strengths in Wright's work as well. These include a reading of Jesus in his historical context and his vindication of the NT's use of the OT.

How do we go forward? Hays believes that Barth and Wright need to be brought into conversation. They're not at odds as much as one might think. Second, Hays thinks we need to continue to explore the relation of story and history. Jesus cannot be known outside of a confessional framework or outside of the framework of the gospels. Our belief in the portrayal that the gospels and church has presented (especially including that Jesus rose from the dead and still lives) gives us a hermeneutical advantage because the resurrection is the key to all history.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Aquinas and Conclusion

When we reach Aquinas we come to the pinnacle of orthodoxy when it comes to the Trinity and Christology. Christology was important to Aquinas and he dedicated the first fifty-nine questions of Tertia Pars of his Summa Theologiae[1] to the topic. In many ways it is refreshing because he does not treat solely the more philosophical questions of who Jesus was that preoccupied theologians from the third century on. He also spent extended time on Jesus earthly ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and glorification which was a major innovation.[2] Of course every possible topic of Trinitarian and ontological speculation is also probed. For the sake of space we will only hit some highlights.

Aquinas is clearly in step with the tradition that can be traced from Nicea, through Augustine and the Lombard, to the heart of the Middle Ages. One thing to briefly note is that even in his densest argumentation, Aquinas was not trying to prove elements of his theology via rational argument as that…

Exploring the Christian Way of Life - The Identity of Jesus - Church History (Pre-Reformation) - Irenaeus

Starting from Irenaeus, Christology, in some respects, moves on. A big part of this would have been due to the “gnostic” controversies. It became increasingly important to clarify the relationship between Father and Son and to minimize their distinctiveness, while still maintaining Jesus’ full humanity. From this point on, clashes over heresy about the nature of Christ and discussions related to Trinitarian theology dominate Christological discussion to the point that the original emphasis on Jesus’ Messianic identity fades to the background.[1] Maintaining the affirmation that Jesus was both human and divine was critical for Irenaeus and those after him because they saw that as the necessary grounds of salvation.[2]

Of particular interest to Irenaeus was the baptism of Jesus. What happened when he received the Spirit?[3] It was not the means by which the Word entered Jesus. He was not merely human before that point.[4] Rather it was a divinization of the human nature of Jesus, a nat…

End of Summer Review/Update

The school year is now upon us and I'll definitely not be posting the next two months. This summer didn't quite go to plan so I didn't get to do the blogging I was hoping to do. Specifically I was planning on blogging through 2 Thessalonians, but that didn't happen. It may happen late in the fall, but we will see. I may instead decide to pick up a different Pauline letter (perhaps 2 Corinthians). This is my last year of school  and by the fall of next year I should be back on a more regular blogging schedule.

A lack of blogging was not from a lack of productivity (although I'm sure my Pokemon Go playing did cut into my reading time a little bit). I've had a interesting summer learning about Medieval Christianity and specifically focusing on Peter Lombard and Thomas Aqunias. They'll both be featured in my next paper in Exploring the Christian Way which I hope to publish here in late January of 2017. 90% of the reading and 80% of the writing is done for that …