Monday, January 04, 2010

Happy New Year

... and a belated Happy Christmas!

Among my gifts (which, ok, I selected myself – but Anja at least wrapped!):

  • Hammann's biography of Rudolf Bultmann (Yeeeesssssssss!). Anja and I picked my copy up direct from Mohr in Tübingen while visiting her family for Christmas J. For a hardback Mohr Siebeck book, €49 is a good price.
  • Charles Freeman's A New History of Early Christianity (a deeper skim of which has actually not yet inspired me: too much loose reasoning. But we shall see.)
  • Hans Küng, Disputed Truth. Memoirs II. This one looks even more entertaining than his first volume. He is a genuinely warm person, he encourages fresh research and when he puts 'pen to paper' I always sit up and listen. He is a rare genius and thus always worth engaging with (yes, even by those who would ultimately reject aspects of his 'correlationist' programme)
  • A little book, a conversation with Eberhard Jüngel: Die Leidenschaft, Gott zu denken: Ein Gespräch über Denk- und Lebenserfahrungen. This was fun to read but at €14.80 for only 84 pages, this was too expensive. Couldn't help myself, though. In one memorable moment, he explained his difference to Pannenberg: 'what was of course in no way my thing - that was the apologetic basic position of Pannenberg. And that distinguishes me still from him' (54, my dodgy translation). It seems to me that an apologetic Grundhaltung remains particularly inappropriate for biblical scholars, and Tom Wright has rightly been critiqued (by e.g. Dale Allison and James Crossley) for his apologetically motivated remarks concerning Matthew 27:52-53 ('The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many'). Of course, it is quite silly to dismiss Wright's otherwise brilliant proposals on the basis of this example – something some are also prone to do!

Of course, I think it a real pity that my friend Jim West has decided to stop blogging. But I hope that he will return to it after a break.


At 1/04/2010 1:11 PM, Anonymous Bjørn Are said...

Would be interesting to hear your views on Freeman, indeed. He seems to have misunderstood a lot of intellectual history.

At 1/04/2010 2:06 PM, Anonymous volker said...

For something critical on Küng (which sounds fair to me, though I haven't read his book on Islam), have a look at the bookreview "Theologische Verbrämung des Zeitgeistes" here:

At 1/04/2010 11:10 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Bjørn, I'll perhps blog about it as I read. What points of critique have you discovered?

Thanks for the link, Volker!

At 1/05/2010 1:53 PM, Anonymous Bjørn Are said... is a good place to start, a critique (by an atheist, even) of his first and most famous book.

He has somewhat modified himself later, however not really fundamentally, as far as I see.

IMV he tends too much to identify paganism with hellenistic science/natural philosophy, interpreting attacks on the former as if on the latter...

At 1/12/2010 1:33 PM, Anonymous Spiritual agnostic said...

Interesting blog. I was very disappointed by Kung's second volume compared to the first which I really enjoyed. He seems his own worst enemy in the way he gets himself entangled in these disputes with the Vatican.
Freeman's first book is not Closing of the Western Mind- he has several before that, Egypt, Greece and Rome (widely seen as one of the best introductions for university students) and The Greek Achievement to name but two. There are better and more thoughtful reviews of Closing of the Western mind that I have seen in past years than the Armarium one, where the discussion eventually degenerates into a rant by the blog's author. He seems to be obsessively anti-Freeman.look forward to hearing more about his Christianity book.


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