Sunday 8 January 2006

Here and there

In response to our recent “essential” lists, alternative lists have been posted at La nouvelle théologie, Ars Theologica and Metalepsis, while Rory Shiner also offers a list of essential Bob Dylan.

On other fronts, Chris Tilling has begun a series on Hans Küng’s new book about science and religion, with posts here and here. Mike Bird discusses the origins of Gnosticism, Peter Leithart thinks about the speaking thinker, and Jim West comments on the odd coupling of Zionists and conservative evangelicals.

Meanwhile, the Pontificator has some thoughtful ecumenical reflections on N. T. Wright’s view of justification, and Kyle Potter speaks about heretics, reminding us to “watch your damned language.”


Fred said...

It's good to know that theologians are reading poetry and novels and listening to music.

Rory Shiner said...

Thanks for noticing the Bob Dylan list. Good work on the additional categories in your comments. I'm with you on Blonde on Blonde and Blood on the Tracks being the contenders for best album. At a pinch I'd go with Blonde on Blonde.
As for choosing best song, who is equal to such a task?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ben, for the reference to Jim West's piece on Evangelical Zionism. On this question of the church's attitude to "the Land",
two points for all "Bible-believing" Christians.

First, in his ecological/geographical study Jesus a Jewish Galilean, Sean Freyne argues that while affirming the special place of Israel in God's providence, nevertheless Jesus held a permeable understanding of Jewish identity and stoutly rejected the holy war ideology of the Hasmoneans. Freyne also suggests (a) that Jesus' "interest was in the creator God rather than in the God of Sinai and the Exodus, and that his lifestyle was based more on the story of Abraham than on that of Moses", and (b) that "These emphases are very much in line with Isaiah's trajectory also and reflect the outlook which supports the servant's mission and values."

Perhaps more importantly still, with respect to the primitive church, N. T. Wright observes: "The Land no longer functioned as the key symbol of the geographical identity of the people of God, and that for an obvious reason: if the new community consisted of Jew, Greek, barbarian alike, there was no sense in which one piece of territory could possess more significance than another. At no point in this early period do we find Christians eager to define or defend a 'holy land' . . . the world, I suggest, is the new Land."

The conclusion I draw is this: that for Christians "the Land" is otiose as a literal theological category; like the Temple, it can only function typologically. In which case the evangelical obsession with Zion is rather like a man frenetically trying to keep a candle burning in broad daylight.

Ben Myers said...

Thanks for this excellent comment, Kim. I think you're spot on.

Kyle said...

Hey, thanks for the link!

For what it's worth, I think Kim and Tom Wright are dead on. If that stupid strip of dirt is "God's land," what's the rest of the planet...?

Ben Myers said...

Hi Kyle: Yes, exactly!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kyle,

Thanks for your comment.
All the best with your degree at Regent's Park. I was at Mansfield '79-'82, where I was privileged to study the OT under RP's Rex Mason.


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