Saturday, April 25, 2009

Seifrid comments on Wright’s new book

Have a listen to the recent Boyce College conversation on Wright's new book, Justification: God's Plan & Paul's Vision. I think it was a great idea to provided response in such a forum setting like this. From what I have managed thus far, a couple of decent points have been made, especially by Schreiner. Though, in my judgment, plenty of bad arguments hit the fan too. Mark Seifrid got started with this beauty:

"I suspect (I could be wrong) that the poor man [i.e. Wright] doesn't know what he's talking about. . . He's very good on the historical Jesus, but here he is absolutely horrid"


Okey dokey then.

Absolutely horrid, no less.

Somebody touched a nerve there, me thinks...

Anyone for another serving of patronising to go with that order of curious ad hominem?

Nah, me neither.

By the way, two thoughts on this picture of the panel:


First, Schreiner (second from right). I've read some of his stuff and have appreciated not only his learning, but also his gracious and polite 'tone', if you know what I mean. But his head ... how does he pack all that learning into such a small head?

Second, Mark Seifrid (second from left). It occurred to me that Seifrid, at least in this picture, looks a bit like a James Davila with blond hair dye.


At 4/25/2009 2:26 AM, Anonymous Jim said...

maybe it IS davila, with a bad dye job. you know, the same way that golb is 500 other people too or gibson is every blogger and bibliolister.

At 4/25/2009 6:22 AM, Anonymous Esteban Vázquez said...

"He's very good on the historical Jesus, but here he is absolutely horrid."

But that's more or less true! ;-) It takes some gall to suggest that the Wrightianarch doesn't know what he's talking about, though.

"[H]ow does he pack all that learning into such a small head?"

It's very long sideways. Like, duh.

At 4/26/2009 6:30 AM, Anonymous steph said...

It's more or less true because that he is very good on the historical Jesus is probably less true that 'here' where he is absolutely horrid. He should stick to theology where it is legitimate to treat the biblical texts with the same difference from non biblical literature that he treats them with when he's doing "history". :-)

It must be very long back to front because it's actually very small sideways don't you think...

At 4/26/2009 12:04 PM, Anonymous Michael Westmoreland-White said...

What's amusing is that Seifrid who, like other rightwing Southern Baptists, claims to be a champion of "orthodoxy" fails to see the obvious: Wright is far more traditional in his view of Paul ("New" perspective and all) than he is in historical Jesus research. (Not that he's a radical there, either.)

Wright is a traditionalist with amazing historical critical skills. That has good and bad points. But because folk like Seifrid see any deviation from 17th C. scholastic Calvinism as "modernist heresy" they see Wright as a "dangerous liberal."


I think Wright is better on historical Jesus research than on Paul, too, but not because he doesn't know what he's talking about when he discusses Paul--but simply because his Pauline thought is so traditional. I have never thought that the "new perspective" was all that new. It dates back at least 50 years in NT work growing out of post-WWII encounters with Jewish scholars of the NT and with Christians trying to purge the anti-semitism from NT theology.

At 4/27/2009 7:13 AM, Anonymous Andrew said...

The panel seemed to take it for granted that Wright's Augustinian view of final justification by works was [i]self-evidently[/i] bad. They told us it was bad for several minutes without dealing with any actual reasons it was bad. At the end of that discussion, they mentioned two reasons in passing - it's "catholic" and "you don't know whether you've done enough works". If the first reason is even an argument, then I don't understand it. And the second complaint obviously isn't valid against an Augustinian view because believers can look to their faith that they have to assure them of salvation: their faith should make them confident that they are of the Elect (and therefore the God who elected them and gave them faith will continue to sanctify them to reach the standard of works he wants).

I thought they were a bunch of total hypocrites for the several minutes they spent accusing Wright of using slightly biased language in the way he framed the discussion and his opponents. Wright is pure as the driven snow compared to Piper (and the panel) in that regard.

At 4/27/2009 1:58 PM, Anonymous Terry Wright said...

The comment about the head made me snort! (There you go: I've added pure, unadulterated profundity to these comments.)

At 4/28/2009 5:31 AM, Anonymous Jonathan Robinson said...

Interesting how they they don't argue about what the Bible actually says but only whether what the Bible actually says fits into their 'protestant' theology.

What's striking me here which i hadn't noticed before is the parallel track some theologians seem to be on with Spirit Christology, the desire to actually give sufficient weight the work of the Spirit in the event and process of salvation

At 4/28/2009 7:02 AM, Anonymous Levi said...

i had something decent to say, but the small head comment got the best of me. :)

At 4/28/2009 11:29 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Esteban, I didn't even think the head went back a long way. Onl yexplanation. He must look a bit like Alien.


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