Monday, December 1, 2014
These blog thoughts are jottings, not a fully developed essay. Still, here's a start.
Jesus' miracles, also attested in the earliest strands of the tradition, pointed in the direction of his Divine sonship. H.P. Liddon summed up this fact: " The four Evangelists, amid their distinguishing peculiarities, concur in representing a Christ whose life is encased in a setting of miracles."
Sunday, November 30, 2014
The issue of the historical Jesus is a huge one, but a few facts can be our anchors.
First, the NT writings (most of them) can be reasonably and reliably dated in the lifetime of the eye-witnesses of the historical Jesus. Paul, whose letters are very close in time and in contact to the historical Jesus and his circle, who claims to be handing on the traditions he received (1 Cor. 15), is the strongest evidence, and his clear teaching about the divine identity of Jesus is undoubted. So we can date this testimony within 20 years or so from the life and resurrection of Jesus (see dating of Corinthians, early 50's CE).
Also, the canonical Gospels themselves can be dated in the first century, even allowing for the fourth Gospel to be placed at the close of the century , just within the eyewitness life-spans. There was a continuous community of testimony. As Richard Hays shows in his latest book, the Christology of the Gospels is the same in essence to the other NT writings.
Sceptical scholars can dispute the dating of NT writings but my guiding principle is to rest on sufficient evidence. We have some strong date indicators about the short interval between Jesus and the written belief in his Divine Sonship. The letter to the Hebrews, for example, was surely composed before the destruction of the Temple in 66-70 CE. The whole argument of the letter is the obsolete or fulfilled nature of the Jewish sacrificial system. Had the Temple already been destroyed, it is inconceivable that this fact would have been omitted by the writer; it would have clinched his argument.
So I give the benefit of the doubt to the Gospels when it comes to presenting reliable historical testimony about Jesus, recognising that there are theological themes governing the presentation. I see no reason to believe that the Gospel writers invented a legendary Jesus while so many living witnesses were alive.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
There are sceptical, revisionist scholars who think it was highly unlikely that Jesus himself had this view. But how did it arise, then, if it was not connected in some way to the historical Jesus? I am thinking about what it was in the life, teaching and activities of Jesus Christ, that led his friends to this deep mystery about his identity and nature. I will collect my thoughts and share them in this blog.
Friday, January 31, 2014
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Monday, January 27, 2014
I have been reading David Bentley Hart' s book The Experience of God. No atheist could surely deny that this is a sophisticated essay on theism. Hart puts the absurd simplifications of some current atheist big names into their place.
His first argunent is that God is not a being in nature but is Being itself. Popular discussions tend to conceive of God as a kind of semigod, a big super person somewhere else who is able to do supernatural things.
Rather God in the great religions is "the one infinite source of all that is : eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, uncreated, uncaused, perfectly transcendent of all things abd for that reason absolutely immanent to all things."
Dawkins and others simply miss the whole point, having a misconstrued concept of God.