Saturday, October 27, 2012

Söding's Die Verkündigung Jesu

Thanks to my parents for the arrival of my birthday present, a copy of Thomas Söding's new book, Die Verkündigung Jesu - Ereignis und Erinnerung. I have eagerly waited a few months for this as I have previously found myself in agreement with him on a number of significant matters. The book begins excellently.
Die neutestamentliche Theologie ist keine Monotonie, auch keine Kakophonie, sondern eine Polyphonie mit einer ganzen Reihe von Dissonanzen, aber einer klar erkennbaren Grundmelodie
Nice. Musical metaphors are of great service to the theologian, as Jeremy Begbie so brilliantly shows.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Conference Reminder

A Critical Engagement with Douglas Campbell’s "The Deliverance of God"

Duke Divinity School, November 9-10, 2012

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

From Mary is My Home Girl

Wish I knew how to like these Tumblr posts, but this one has to be repeated in blogger format.

Mary is My Home Girl, with the subtitle "Coping with the Terrible Life Choice of Studying Catholic Theology in Graduate School", posted this on the 10th October this year here. Every time I re-look at it I snort out a chuckle! The llama stare is up there with the skydiving cat!

To copy and paste from her Tumblr/blog/whatever…

At Mass when I accidentally say "and also with you"

And the person next to me hears me swear under my breath in frustration


And I'm like



Friday, October 12, 2012

Nick Norelli reviews my book

nnorI’m very grateful that Nick has taken the time to write a thorough, fair and extremely insightful review of my book. Click here to have a read. His theology and biblical studies book reviews are the best in the blogging world, I think.

The discussion in the comments has also been illuminating and in light of them I thought I would clarify some potential misunderstandings.

First, concerning ontology:

  • My criticism of Aristotelian ontology is based on the claim that it does not offer the best metaphysical categories for understanding Paul’s theology insofar as Aristotelian notions can involve a suppression of ‘relation’ as ‘accidental’ to a thing (see Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Categories). In other words, my arguments are not a criticism of Aristotelian ontology in general but only insofar as it impinges upon the interpretation of Paul.
  • I am also not arguing that Paul’s divine Christology is not concerned with ontology! Far from it! I certainly do not want to be labelled as someone who would represent a functional Christology as over against an ontological one, as has been common in some quarters. Such distinctions are entirely unhelpful for understanding what is going on in Paul’s theological world. Paul’s divine Christology is certainly ontological, but it is ontological in a certain way, one which does not suppress ‘relation’ as ‘accidental’ to a thing. This is why I speak of Paul’s ‘relational ontology’ in the book.
  • Nor do I wish to suggest that we must scrap all later ontological developments, as the church developed its creedal and Trinitarian commitments. However, healthy theology, whatever its tradition, has not allowed a suppression of relationality to become dominant. Christian Neo-Platonists, for example, managed to synthesise Plato and Aristotle in such a way as to conserve “the Platonic priority of relation over the Aristotelian category of substance” (to cite Adrian Pabst, in his recent book Metaphysics: the creation of hierarchy)

Second, it is worth perhaps saying that the Christ-relation, as I see it throughout Paul’s undisputed letters, involves not just Christ-shaped goals, aims and motives. Chapter 6 maintains that it is reflected, additionally, “in a variety of direct devotional language and practices, in the passionate nature of this devotion, in what Paul contrasts with this devotion, in the presence and activity of the risen Lord, yet also in the absence of this Lord, in communication between the risen Christ and believers, and in the nature and character of his risen lordship”.

Third, I was particularly impressed that Nick noticed my lack of engagement with Paul Rainbow’s work. That man has a keen eye! Although I had read Rainbow’s unpublished thesis, about two weeks before my Viva I also noticed that I had not sufficiently engaged with it in my soon-to-be examined Ph.D.! Rainbow’s work in no way threatened my own thesis (as Nick notes in his review), and indeed Rainbow’s conclusions supported something I wanted to maintain concerning second Temple monotheism. However, my external examiner was Larry Hurtado, and he had spoken very highly of Rainbow in his various publications, so I panicked and quickly penned an appendix engaging Rainbow’s unpublished Ph.D! This was something I wanted to include in the final published version of my work … but - get this - for reasons that I do not yet understand, I simply forgot to include it!!

Yep. I simply forgot! So, I thought I would upload that panicked paper, which I sent to Larry for the Viva in the next blog post. Just need to fish it out of the woods of my hard drive!

Monday, October 08, 2012

T Michael Law is back online!


Timothy has quite the impressive Lebenslauf: he is presently an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, and from 2009-2012 British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in Oxford. For the benefit of us all, he has reworked his webpage and it is now live! There will be some quality posts here, so do add him to your readers. I am very excited about his work on the Septuagint and so his webpage strap line is perfect: “I shall not rest until there is a Septuagint in the hand of every woman, man, girl and boy”!!