Andrew

What we're reading

730 posts in this topic

On 4/17/2017 at 5:04 PM, Rob Z said:

. Have you or anyone read both them and N.T. Wright's tomes on Jesus and the Resurrection? Thoughts about how they compare, such as in academic tone (Wright is a great writer, but his other academic work has been a hair on the dry side for me since I would be reading these works devotionally)?

Wright's work, "The Resurrection of the Son of God" is majestic.  I've read all of his "Christian Origins and the Question of God" series, but could not finish his two volume work on Paul.  I'm no academic but Wright's work is pretty accessible for the non-technician.  In his "Paul" works, he gets more technical, and to my untrained eyes, much more engaged with esoteric conflicts in academia; of course this is where the Pauline action is, I guess, ever since Sanders' work in the 70/80s.  I'd have a hard time imagining reading just a selected volume from the series without having read the foundations, but if you go in to ROTSOG knowing that Wright's spent a great deal of ink locating Jesus and the gospels in the 1st century milieu of II Temple Judaism in conversation with the messianic expectation as a end-of-the-exile event, and that Jesus was essentially redefining the Israel identity around himself and his followers, then you'll be relatively grounded.  The book follows his standard template:  Describing the concept in relation to its contemporary Jewish context, then in terms of its relationship to contemporary pagan thought, then in the double criteria of similarity and and disimilarity to both, he paints the topic as a new innovation that demanded a response.  I found it exhilarating.

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Posted (edited)

I remember being impressed with the book N. T. Wright wrote with Marcus Borg-- The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions--especially Wright's chapter on resurrection. His voice was one of the few that kept me open–minded...not to certainty or insistence, but possibility.  An excerpt -

"Early Christianity did not consist of a new spirituality or ethic. It consisted of the announcement of things that had happened… The body of Jesus was neither resuscitated nor left to decay in the tomb, but was rather transformed into a new mode of physicality; shocking and startling to the disciples and to all subsequent readers.… The contrast is not between physical and nonphysical, but rather between a body animated by soul (which will die like the animals) and a body animated by spirit, God’s spirit, which will therefore possess a quality of life that transcends the present decaying existence….

The point of the resurrection, for Paul, is that entropy does not have the last word, for humans or the world as a whole.  For Paul, what mattered was that the resurrection had happened – not as an isolated bizarre miracle, but as the messianic focal point and climax of the story of the creator and covenant God with Israel and the world. This was the hinge on which the door of history turned."

Edited by phlox

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On 4/18/2017 at 10:31 AM, Joel Mayward said:

 I begin PhD studies at the University of St Andrews this fall, which is where Wright currently teaches, so I hope to have at least a few conversations with him in the years to come.

Joel-- I unexpectedly got a chance to attend a lecture by Tom last night at a local church here in Cincinnati.  Totally random event that I learned about due to a friend's post on FB.  Wow--I think if you have the opportunity to take a course, you definitely should.  Two tidbits:

1) Wright writes out his entire lecture, and while he's not appear to read verbatim, I was close enough to see the notes pages were all text.

2) Apparently, he's a very warm and personable instructor, forming relationships and whatnot with the students.  So much so that he gave a lecture at this local Cincy church because he taught the senior pastor as a student twenty years ago.   That's an endearing quality.

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I now have Wright's The New Testament and the People of God on the way to me from Barnes & Noble. It might not be the most accessible starting point, but the one I'm really eager to read is The Resurrection of the Son of God, so I want to start the series it's in.

On a completely different note, I just read Orson Scott Card's Xenocide . I thought the setup was equal to any of the previous Ender books, but the payoff was imperfect at best. It was worth reading, but doesn't make me wildly eager to read Children of the Mind, though I'm sure I will eventually.

Edited by Rushmore

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5 hours ago, Buckeye Jones said:

Joel-- I unexpectedly got a chance to attend a lecture by Tom last night at a local church here in Cincinnati.  Totally random event that I learned about due to a friend's post on FB.  Wow--I think if you have the opportunity to take a course, you definitely should.  Two tidbits:

1) Wright writes out his entire lecture, and while he's not appear to read verbatim, I was close enough to see the notes pages were all text.

2) Apparently, he's a very warm and personable instructor, forming relationships and whatnot with the students.  So much so that he gave a lecture at this local Cincy church because he taught the senior pastor as a student twenty years ago.   That's an endearing quality.

That's wonderful! I likely won't take a course, but I do hope to have some in-depth conversations with him, as my PhD research may include some New Testament hermeneutical stuff regarding film and narratives (like, what exactly is a parable anyway? Funny enough, Wright has a brother who also is a theology scholar, Stephen Wright, whose expertise is in parables.) If nothing else, I'll aim to get a book or two signed, as well as read his entire New Testament corpus.

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