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Showing posts from August, 2011

Paul's Argument in Galatians 5:1-12

1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. 7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one …

More Thoughts on the Relationship Between Theology and History

In my last post I asked what the relationship between history and theology should look like. I have two brief points to further that discussion, and neither of them novel (sorry). First, our theology needs to be informed by historical exegesis as NT Wright among others has reminded us. In particular, the church has repeatedly fallen through the trap door of de-Judaizing the Bible. The story of the Bible is a thoroughly Jewish story (and even that's imprecise as it's several Jewish stories from across centuries) and is only understandable as a Jewish story. It also is the story of Israel. If we don't wrestle with those realities then our theology will be (at best) tangential to, rather than reflective upon the revelation of the speaking God we find in the Scriptures.

At the same time, I feel as if historians want to put everybody in a straight jacket. Theology (as Dale Allison points out) has to deal with far more than history or even historical exegesis. History plays a r…

Dale Allison on the Relationship Between History and Theology

I have just finished Dale Allison's latest book, Constructing Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History. It is a great book and I'll hopefully write two or three posts reflecting on elements of it. First, I'd like to briefly discuss parts of the last three paragraphs of the book, as for me they were the most significant.
We should be grateful, then, that the so-called historical Jesus is only one of numerous theological resources, and far from the most important. Consider the present volume, which, if the author is any good at introspection, is much more the product of historical curiosity and professional habits of mind than of theological aspirations. Even if, let us say, a Christian reader is cheered by my case that Jesus had an exalted self-conception, christological reflection is much more than what the first-century Jesus is likely to have thought or said about himself. Would that it were so easy. Christology must wrestle with Paul, study the Cappadocians, engage moder…

Who is opposed by God? 1 Cor. 15:32 and Isaiah 22

Sorry for my lack of posting these days. Numerous factors (including laziness) derailed my blogging. Hopefully I'll be back on the ball for a while.

A few weeks back I as reading Isaiah on the train in the morning and I read the source of Paul's quotation in 1 Corinthians 15:32, in Isaiah 22. The traditional interpretation that I've heard preached is that if there is no resurrection then we may as well party up because there's no hope for anything beyond this life. This is all we have. I'm not so sure that this is an adequate interpretation and reading the context of Isaiah 22 gave me a little different picture.
8 The Lord stripped away the defenses of Judah,
and you looked in that day
to the weapons in the Palace of the Forest.
9 You saw that the walls of the City of David
were broken through in many places;
you stored up water
in the Lower Pool.
10 You counted the buildings in Jerusalem
and tore down houses to strengthen the wall.
11 You built a reservoir be…