Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Paul, Judaism and Methodology (a poem)

A, err, ‘poem’ about some reactions to the Pauline ‘New Perspective’ - especially those that complain against certain NP scholars who carefully link Paul’s understanding of ‘righteousness’ to explicity Jewish themes and words:

*clears throat*

“I think it is educational
how some (usually more conservative)
New Testament scholars

who rush to align Paul
with Jewish modes of thinking
when it comes to elucidating his Christology
over against forces in parts of the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule,


when this strategy seems to back fire
in the discussion concerning the meaning of ‘righteousness’ in Paul
(as emphasis on Jewish modes of thinking here
can take the reader in a rather ‘New Perspective’ direction),

want to talk about
how incredibly Greek Paul is!”

Pity I couldn’t get it to rhyme


At 11/07/2006 4:44 AM, Anonymous Ben Myers said...

Come on, Chris, use your imagination -- there must be plenty of words that rhyme with "Religionsgeschichtliche Schule"!

At 11/07/2006 6:29 AM, Anonymous byron smith said...

Or scan. But who's counting?

This is brilliant.

At 11/07/2006 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


See here for my poetic response. At least mine rhymes!

At 11/07/2006 11:54 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Guy, your response is as theologically disasterous as mine is poetically hopeless!

At 11/08/2006 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Your poetry is far worse than my theology! ;-)

At 11/08/2006 9:47 AM, Anonymous N. T. Wright said...

Mr Tilling, My minion over at N. T. Writes has drawn my attention to your "poem" and that of the esteemed Exiled Preacher. I must say that Mr Davies' work is a rare example of deep poetic sensibilities wedded to nuanced theological understanding. Your effort, however is just silly.

The Vert Revd Up N. T. Wright

At 11/08/2006 10:30 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Ah, Herr Doktor Wright,
Pleased to have you visit my blog.
Two points:
1) Having seen this picture of you recently, I just wanted to inform you :- there is no proven link between the length of ones beard, and the return from Exile.

At 11/08/2006 10:32 PM, Anonymous grounds for denial said...

2) What made you decide to put a picture of your wife on the English version of the new Paul: Fresh Perspectives?

At 11/08/2006 11:01 PM, Anonymous Jim said...

Come now, we know that really can't be NT Wright; had it been, he would have posted a much lengthier bit and then posted 8 followup posts saying essentially the same thing.

At 11/08/2006 11:18 PM, Anonymous N. T. Wright said...


I can't possibly see what epistemological basis you can have for suggesting that my previous comments were in fact pseudopigraphal. The proof that I am the real Tom Wright is in that fact that I favour the Exiled Preacher over this Tilling chap.

The Very Revd Up N.T.Wright

At 11/09/2006 12:07 AM, Anonymous Jim said...

Well, "Tom", since you wrote comments were in fact pseudopigraphal I can only assume that you AREN'T NT Wright, since he would know how to spell "pseudepigraphal".

And anyway, if it were really you, you would have to continue with 18 followup posts now as to why your spelling is the only correct spelling and any other spelling is really anti-christian.

At 11/09/2006 12:07 AM, Anonymous TJ said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah...

N.T. this and N.T. that, but where is Küng? I demand Küng! Küng, Küng, Küng!!!

At 11/09/2006 12:56 AM, Anonymous N. T. Wright said...

Look Jim, I'm a scholar of international repute and the Bishop of Durham. I don't type out these comments myself, I get a half-educated curate to do that for me. Did Paul write Romans? No! he used a clerk. What's good enough for Paul is good enough for his best ever interpreter - moi!

If I'm not the real N.T. Wright, then who am I? Think you're some kind of clever clogs source critic do you? If I'm not me, the prove it!

The very revd up N. T. Wright

(Typed by a chastened, poorly paid curate, Snedwith Smythe)

At 11/09/2006 7:33 AM, Anonymous James d. g. dunn said...

Well, Wright, I think you're Wrong. Mr Tilling seems like an excellent person -- even if he is a very mediocre poet.

At 11/09/2006 7:39 AM, Anonymous E. P. Sanders said...

Personally, I don't quite see what all the fuss is about. Those who've read my Jesus and Judaism will know that there's really no room for continuing controversy.

At 11/09/2006 7:52 AM, Anonymous rudolf bultmann said...

Oh mein Gott! Chris, is that really E. P. Sanders? I didn't know that such a famous person was reading your blog! Toll!

At 11/09/2006 10:08 AM, Anonymous N. T. Wright said...


Now that I've discovered your blog thing and graced your your comments page with my remarks, I feel like we're old friends. As a friend I have to tell you that the comments by "James D. G. Dunn" and "E. P. Saunders" are really the work of a dastardly trickster. They are not, like me, the genuine article. Also, I'm sorry to disappoint you if you thought that a famous (but badly misguided) German theologian really left comments on your blog, but "Rudolph Bultman" is dead!

I, however am very much alive and genuine.



At 11/09/2006 10:35 AM, Anonymous Martin Luther said...

Yes, I suspect Tom is (W)right: I'm pretty sure Bultmann is dead, so this appears to be the work of an imposter.

Anyhow, although I differ with you in the interpretation of Romans (and although I'm not as fine a poet as you), I've also made a few attempts at putting some of these ideas into verse:

Ob bei uns ist der Sünden viel,
Bei Gott ist viel mehr Gnaden;
Sein' Hand zu helfen hat kein Ziel,
Wie gross auch sei der Schaden.
Er ist allein der gute Hirt,
Der Israel erloe en wird
Aus seinen Suenden allen.

At 11/09/2006 11:58 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Well, thank you Jimmy Dunn, for your words - except those about my poetic ability. I guess you just don't understand the artistic message.

Nice to hear from both of you Germans, too, i.e. Bultmann and Luther. Always pleasant to wake up for a bit of necromancy.

At 11/09/2006 7:51 PM, Anonymous Jim said...

Ok- now I'm quite miffed. Bultmann NEVER spelt his name with a ph. It was always Rudolf. He was no reindeer!

(Hello Professor Luther, nice to see you writing again after something of a slump!)

At 11/10/2006 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Professor Luther, nice to see you writing again after something of a slump!

LOL - good stuff

At 11/10/2006 2:11 AM, Anonymous Martin Luther said...

Yes, it was a bit of a slump. That bloody Anfechtung got me down for a while.

At 11/10/2006 4:31 AM, Anonymous The Apostle Paul said...

Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus, to Chris Tilling. While I question the gall of this "New Perspective" on me, I approve of your style, particularly the way you have presented your entire argument in a single sentence.

At 11/10/2006 11:07 AM, Anonymous N. T. Wright said...

Re Jim's last comments,

NTW: Snedwith Smythe, SNEDWITH!!!

SS: What now?

NTW: You're making me look an idiot.

SS: Oh really?

NTW: Yes! You spelt Rudolf Bulmanm as Rudolph. That clever clogs Jim thinks that I've got the old Liberal confused with a reindeer.

SS: So, he's not a reindeer?

NTW: No!

SS: Did he have a red nose?

NTW: I don't know. The quest for Bulmnann's historical red nose has yeilded inconclusive results.

SS: So, what's your point?

NTW: The point is, Snedwith that your inablility to spell is making me look very silly. How will people believe that I'm the real N. T. Wright if it doesn't appear that I can spell. People will begin to think that I'm a dozy Welshman or something!

SS: Yeah, yeah. Why don't you write your own stupid comments anyway?

NTW: Ahhh! You just can't get the staff these days.

At 11/10/2006 11:24 AM, Anonymous rudolf bultmann said...

The recent comment by the Apostle Paul is in fact largely a product of a later Pauline community. The earliest stratum, perhaps written by Paul himself, can be reconstructed as: "Paul to Chris[t] Illing [our Lord] ... [His] New Pective sing ten[s]e."

This was probably a standard liturgical formula among some of the earliest communities, and "Christ Illing" was a humorous mythological deity invoked by certain Hellenistic groups in the first century.

At 11/10/2006 12:05 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

"People will begin to think that I'm a dozy Welshman or something!"

Guy, er, Tom, I would never think that!

Herr Prof. Bultmann, thank you for your ingenius comments regarding the mythical Christ Illing! That's up there with the Hellenistic divine-man myth of John!

At 11/10/2006 2:18 PM, Anonymous Christian A said...

Hi Chris, I just surfed on in from Byron's page. But perhaps I could offer a suggested rhyming scheme:

Oh if only I was given a dollar
For every conservative new testament scholar

Who bravely defends Paul against the higher criticism elephant
Armed with Jewish Monotheism, Creation and Covenant

But then furrowing deep in the exegetical jungle
He throws down these weapons, afraid that he’ll stumble

And stray down a path not trodden by Reformers
Smelling far more like Israel than Athenian law courts

But, oh scholar, re-arm with the Judaism of Paul’s day
And cut your way through to the true ‘dikaiosune’!

At 11/10/2006 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's with dissing the Welsh? Who does that N. T. Wright think he is? I am most reassured that Chris has disassociated himself from NTW's slanderous remarks.

At 11/10/2006 9:19 PM, Anonymous Jesus said...

I hate to interrupt- but I have big news for you chaps. Bultmann was right. He's right here and we are having a jolly time discussing with Luther and Zwingli the implications of his Christology.

And by the by, Calvin I know and Tilling I know, but who is this NT Wright person?

Anywho- it's back to our discussion.

p.s., to Jim, Rudolf says hello and thanks for pointing out that he is indeed not a reindeer.

At 11/11/2006 2:33 AM, Anonymous Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer said...

Hey, hang on a second: what the hell is wrong with reindeers anyway?

Respectfully yours,

At 11/12/2006 1:49 AM, Anonymous Jim said...

*unrepressed chuckle*

At 11/12/2006 5:49 AM, Anonymous Albert Schweitzer said...

Personally, I think all of you are looking down a deep well and just seeing your own reflections. Oh, wait--I said that already.

At 11/12/2006 11:31 AM, Anonymous bono said...

You tell them, Albert. You and me are both great men, and we know better.

At 11/12/2006 12:11 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Christian A,

I thought your poem was brilliant. Bit too good actually. People will start to thiink I've got no poetic ability is this makes the light of day.

And Albert, I have to correct you. You didn't say those words at all! It was the English deist, George Tyrrell. It is a myth that you said these words. Myth.

*pokes out tongue*

Nice to have you visit bone, er, bono.

At 11/12/2006 9:43 PM, Anonymous Albert Schweitzer said...

Old and New perspectives ignore that Paul was a Christ-mystic. O, wait, I already said that, too.


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