The Holy Spirit in the World Today Conference 2013
Recorded this on my iPad yesterday!
Whatever one makes of N.T. Wright’s work, his astonishing ability to keep a bigger picture in mind, and his skill to bring otherwise disparate elements together in coherent unity is difficult to deny. And he writes so brilliantly.
So when Logos added this to there webpage yesterday, I got as excited as a suicidal alcoholic arsonist covered from head to toe in finest Whisky, holding a box of matches.
Quite a few of the essays in vol. 3, Pauline Perspectives: Essays on Paul 1978–2012, many of us will have already read. But vol. 1, Paul and the Faithfulness of God is the book I think Wright has wanted to write for decades. I personally hope for a good, constructive and extensive conversation with Campbell as any work these days simply must grapple seriously with The Deliverance of God, but we shall see. Fun times ahead!
I have asked my esteemed colleague, Dr Stephen Backhouse, to say something about his exciting Oxford University Press book, Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism. Stephen is our Tutor for Social and Political Theology and has also recently published The Compact Guide To Christian History (Lion, 2011). For those interested in political theology, theological identity, nationalism, Kierkegaard, church history and so on and on, his work will be of great interest and Stephen’s brilliant work may just rock a few theological worlds.
I will also record an interview with him next week about his OUP book, about which let me now hand you over to Stephen:
The book originated with my initial reading of Kierkegaard when I noticed how surprisingly relevant his Danish, mid-19th century, Christian, 'attack upon Christendom' was to the current situation faced by Christians today, especially in the monolithic, unanalysed christianised cultures of the USA and Europe. More so than any other commentator, Kierkegaard was keenly aware of the ramifications that a christianised common culture has for Christian communication and witness. In a world in which becoming a Christian is as easy as being born and being a good citizen, his stated aim was to 'reintroduce Christianity into Christendom' by making Christianity harder and more offensive!
A huge part of his analysis of 'Christendom' is wrapped up with the way that the Christian religion and culture has made Christianity essentially a moral, civilising set of ideas. Christendom has tied itself closely to the notion that history is progressing, and that a nation's success or disaster is somehow connected to the quality of its (christianised) culture and morality. Thus, focus on the personal, individual and unsettling nature of Jesus' incarnation is by-passed in favour of a triumphalistic commitment to the inevitable rise of groups and movements.
This made me alert to another interest I have as a political theologian, namely, the rhetoric of patriotism and nationalism which routinely enlists Christian language and tropes, and the egregious degree to which Christianity is distorted by this rhetoric and mindset. The phenomenon is obviously alive and well today in the USA, but it is by no means confined to that country or to this present era. The earliest Christian church defined itself against precisely this sort of civic-religion and idolatry and were persecuted as 'atheists' as a result. How is it that the pagan vice of patriotism has now become, almost universally, a Christian virtue?
I noticed that running throughout Kierkegaard's critique of Christendom was, in fact, an underlying critique of Christians who confuse their countries with their God. So I put my interest in 'patriotism' together with my love of Kierkegaard and produced 'Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism'. The book and my work has led to a number of conference papers, lectures and public talks, including a Danish newspaper interview commenting on Anders Breivik's massacre in Norway and a TV panel debating with the chap who invented the UK Citizenship test!
Just got this memo to SBL members:
K. K. Yeo and Robert Jewett
We want to announce the release of From Rome to Beijing, a selection of essays delivered in twenty-six symposia devoted to the evaluation of the Hermeneia commentary on Romans. Leading scholars in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America offered their assessments of this commentary, resulting in conversations about its contemporary relevance in the global environment. The direction from Rome to Beijing marks the opening of new interpretive arenas that move far beyond the traditional parameters of Pauline debate. This book will provide a provocative resource to stimulate discussion by students and scholars around the world.
This volume appears in a new monograph series, Kairos Studies, and can be ordered at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The paperback price of this 499-page volume is $35; the hardcover price is $42; and the e-book price of $9.99. Since the book is being marketed in an inexpensive form without the resources of a traditional publisher, we would be grateful if you would forward this announcement to your librarian; the ISBN number is 978-1-937216-38-2.
I’m preaching on James this weekend, and I have really enjoyed researching this fascinating text. I came across the following claim made by Donald Hagner in his new book, The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction. Something to ponder!
“One sometimes gets the impression from some people that all twenty-seven books of the NT, since they are inspired, canonical books, must be of equal importance and value. As a canonical book, James must be heard in the church, and it has much to offer. However, it does not express the gospel, and for that reason it is not the equal of other books” (683)