Friday, May 25, 2012

Videos and Audios from the Douglas Campbell Conference

First, a huge thanks to the guys from Grace Communion International for filming and recording the whole conference.*

Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul: A conference critically engaging Douglas Campbell's book, The deliverance of God. Held at King's College London on December 16-17, 2011

It was a unique and memorable experience, and an honour to help organise and contribute to (ooo, ending a sentence with a preposition, naughty me). I spoke to introduce the conference, talk about Campbell, Athanasius and Paul, and finally faith language in Galatians. I was very grateful for and inspired by the brilliant and searching contributions of all participants, many thanks, it was everything I hoped it would be. Of course, special kudos to Douglas Campbell, for his book and his riveting papers. A (smaller than Deliverance of God!) book will be published by Wipf&Stock next year, largely coming out of this, and I will give more info about that later. And finally, my sincere thanks to Kings College London, and especially Eddie Adams and Richard Burridge, who made this possible. So, if you fancy watching videos or downloading the audio of all sessions, click … / media / paulconf2011

* Please do check out GCI’s incredible online video library, by the way; they have some seriously helpful entries.


At 6/06/2012 4:24 AM, Blogger Andrew said...

My thanks to those who recorded this conference and made this available!

I particularly enjoyed session 4 with Robin Griffith-Jones and DC's discussion of speech-in-character. I find Campbell's reading of Rom 1:18-32 as speech-in-character one of the most compelling and fascinating parts of his position. (To others interested in that topic I would particularly recommend reading Calvin Porter's article: "Romans 1.18-32: It's Role in the Developing Argument" New Test. Stud. vol. 40,1994, pp. 210-228)

I found some of the other sessions of the conference a bit disappointing due to the general lack of opposing voices; and also was a bit frustrated at the amount of vague theological waffle / unsubstantiated general theological assertions instead of clear focus on biblical text.

As someone with interest in historical theology, I found the use of the terms "Arian" and "Athanasian" to be extremely painful... please don't misuse terms from historical contexts like that, it's just irritating and doesn't convey anything useful (since what you guys really seemed to be referring to was Barth's idea about the centrality of Christ with regard to epistemology, nothing to do with A&A).

What kind of surprised me most about that conference was how much of it I disagreed with, given how much of DC's book I agreed with. I think because his book focuses so much on the interpretation of the biblical texts, and I nearly always agree with DC's interpretative moves (speech-in-character, pistis christou etc). Whereas the conference focused largely on the theology, and I nearly always disagree with DC's theology. So in his books I am able to nod along as he attacks Justification Theory and nod along at the general notion of having a santification / PPME model and nod along as he interprets passages in Paul, and nod along as he makes arguments about how pistis should be understood and how Romans 1 should be read, and then I mentally skip over his brief statements of what I regard as silly theology. Whereas the conference mostly focused on his theology, and in particular on the part I find most absurd, his non-contractualism.

I find his non-contractualism a non-starter because:
1) It makes Paul's theology severely contrary to (a) other NT writings, and (b) to the Church Fathers up until Augustine (including Athanasius).
2) It fails to explain the themes of final judgment by works and effort to be righteous that occur in Paul's writings just as they occur in the rest of the NT / early Church Fathers. (While DC ascribes Rom 2 to the Teacher, there are plenty of other references to the judgment in Paul's writings and encouragements for ethical striving in order to pass it) It not quite clear to me whether DC endorses universalism as a consequence of his non-contractualism, but presumably he does, and then what does he do with themes of judgment and Paul's oft-given encouragements for ethical striving?
3) DC's teaching of severe human depravity (which seems to go hand-in-hand with his non-contractualism) I find equally problematic. His teaching on severe human depravity is (a) simply empirically false. Every one of us knows from everyday life that humans can do good and that they do good often, and that humans often act rationally and thoughtfully. DC's claims about the state of humanity are just plain obviously false. His teachings of severe human depravity also (b) lack convincing evidence in Paul's writings. Stendahl, for example, argued well that an Augustine/Luther position on human depravity could not in fact be justified from Paul's writings and that this was something they were bringing to the text rather than someone that could be found there. Instead, in Paul we actually find a very optimistic anthropology. (And, indeed this is what we find in the Church Fathers until Augustine, again including Athanasius)

At 6/10/2012 1:10 AM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Thanks for this Andrew, some things to think on.

Glad you enjoyed Robin. When he first summarised his thoughts to me on the Tube, I knew I had to get him for the conference!

Not sure what you mean about lack of opposing voices, though. Plenty of robust and serious criticism and I suspect that you miss the point of the recourse to A&A.

On your final points, 1) you may be mistaking DC's view for some kind of cheap grace? John Barclay touched on some of these issues in his recent Princeton paper. On 2) Yes, I think see 1! 3) You really want to suggest Paul has an optimistic anthropology? So long as it that which is included in DC's PPME!

Best wishes

At 6/14/2012 11:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, thanks for these videos and audios. So much more interesting to have several disciplines in conversation with one another. And another good thing about a cross-disciplinary conference--simply more accessible and inviting for someone like me (a simple country pastor). Well done.

At 6/15/2012 1:09 AM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Anon, thanks for this encouragement, much appreciated.

At 6/16/2012 1:22 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

I'm all ears if you'd like to explain how you understand DC's interpretation of Paul's view on the final judgement to work. ie is there a post-mortem judgment, what is at stake, what is the criteria of judgment? Is everyone judged positively at it?

Also, if you felt up to explaining in words of one syllable what the deal with the Athanasius and Arius metaphor is, that would be appreciated.

At 6/19/2012 9:32 AM, Anonymous Richard Hobson said...

Andrew, the "deal with the Athanasius and Arius metaphor" was dealt with very clearly in the second session, particularly by Chris.

You claimed it was "just irritating and doesn't convey anything useful".

I find that a bit odd. As an amateur, observing the debate from the cheap seats, this unlocked some of the mystery of the debate for me.

However, rather than me mangle the argument by attempting to lay it out again, I would suggest re-listening to Session 2.

At 6/22/2012 1:45 AM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Good to hear from you Richard, I hope you are well.

Andrew, Douglas develops some metaphors in Deliverance in answer to your question (relating to the distinction between a job appraisal and job interview)

At 6/22/2012 12:22 PM, Anonymous Richard Hobson said...

Chris, I'm doing good, thanks. Really enjoyed the conference, although some of the more technical stuff passed me by.

I'm obviously in no position to adjudicate this particular debate but, since the implications of Doug's Monstrograph are obviously massive for my own position (as a member of the Caliban), I'm trying to understand what's going on rather than rejecting it by default. It's been a very helpful process.

The days when you were pushing people over in the Spirit at St. Andrews seem a world away now! :)

At 6/23/2012 12:27 AM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Well good for you. Love the "caliban" line!! Yea, that world of ST A's does feel distant sometimes, but I still think back fondly on even some of the wacky stuff. That naive yet wonderful expectation contained some good. Glad you enjoyed the conference. I do think that much of what DC argues is very friendly with Calvinism. Not the neo-Calvinism of the north american variety, for sure, but more JOHN Calvin! DC will have a more popular level Romans commentary out next year I hope, called I think The End of Religion. Have read bits and I think you will enjoy it enourmously
Best wishes


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