Monday 8 February 2010

The faith of Jesus Christ: the pistis christou debate

I just received my copy of the new collection of essays on the pistis christou debate. (In a nutshell, the debate centres on whether Paul's language of pistis christou refers to "faith in Christ" or "the faithfulness of Christ".) The book is edited by Michael Bird and Preston Sprinkle: The Faith of Jesus Christ: Exegetical, Biblical, and Theological Studies (Paternoster / Hendrickson, 2009), 350 pp., with a foreword by James D. G. Dunn.

Contributors include Douglas Campbell, Francis Watson, David deSilva, Stanley Porter, Paul Foster, and many others. It also includes my essay on Barth's interpretation of Paul: "From Faithfulness to Faith in the Theology Karl Barth". Here's a summary of my paper, from Mike Bird's introduction:

"Benjamin Myers draws attention to Karl Barth's unique contribution to the debate through his conception of God's faithfulness as revealed in the πίστις of Jesus. He detects a pervasive Paulinism, running from Barth's Römerbrief to the Kirchliche Dogmatik, which places God's operations in the context of cosmic apocalyptic action rather than seeing them as the outcome of salvation-history. Myers shows how Barth regards faith as essentially God's faithfulness revealed in Jesus Christ, and human faith as the obedience that participates in Jesus' own obedience to the Father. Myers also regards the construal of the πίστις χριστοῦ debate as a contest between 'anthropological' and 'christological' readings to be a false dichotomy, since Barth's own model shows that the human subject need not be erased in order to make room for divine action."


jps said...

Great book; I'm reading it right now. Lots of good technical Greek discussions to put me to sleep : ) I haven't gotten to yours yet, but I'm sure it will keep me awake!


Rob said...

Do we need Barth to show up the falsity of the 'christological' or 'anthropological' dichotomy? Doesn't exegesis do the trick, since in cases where the 'en' preposition is used (pistis en christou) it is an objective genitive, and when the preposition is absent it's a subjective genitive? Can't we simply say "Paul uses both" and leave it at that?

Jack Palmer said...

I'll have to check that book out, thanks!

Anonymous said...

To Rob,

According to my understanding: the use of 'en' may necessitate an objective genetive, but the absence of en ('pistis christou' or 'pistis autou') does NOT necessitate a subjective genetive. The absence of a preposition means the genetive may be interpreted in either direction.

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