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(how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference)

Jörg Frey’s critique of the neutralisation of apocalyptic in Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God

Jörg Frey offers a useful critique of N.T. Wright’s understanding of Paul’s apocalyptic in his chapter in God and the Faithfulness of Paul—the massive response to NT Wright’s massive Paul and the Faithfulness of God. I was asked what I think about it, so here’s my brief assessment and a quick overview of how I understand Paul’s eschatology.

The key question, according to Frey, is whether Paul’s apocalyptic vision constitutes a continuation of the “covenantal traditions of Israel” and the narrative of salvation history or a radical interruption of it, the introduction of something fundamentally new (522). The first position is represented by Wright, who insists that Paul’s apocalyptic language must be thoroughly assimilated into the covenantal narrative of Israel. The second position is represented by the cosmic, a-historical apocalypticism of the “Union School” of Martyn and de Boer, and more recently by Douglas Campbell.

19 Jun 2018

[Helge Seekamp has kindly translated a few articles from this site into German. This is a translation of “What do I mean when I say that Jesus is my personal Lord and saviour?”]

Der folgende Text vertieft die Frage, welche praktischen Konsequenzen der narrativ– historische Ansatz haben könnte. Besonders der...

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14 Jun 2018

I make the point frequently that there are two basic approaches to the interpretation of the Bible operative in the church today, a theologically determined method and a historically determined method. The church tends to regard the historical method as detrimental to orthodox belief and the theological method as...

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6 Jun 2018

I’ve been reflecting on the flood story this week in preparation for a sermon on Noah as a risk-taker. This is not the content of the sermon, just some notes on the background narrative of Genesis 1-11.

Theological readings of the Bible tend to isolate Genesis 1-3 as a foundational account of creation and...

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31 May 2018

I am firmly of the view that in the symbology of Daniel 7 the “one like a son of man” who is brought to the throne of the Ancient of Days stands for the persecuted people of the saints of the Most High, in much the same way that the four beasts in the first part of the vision stand for malevolent and destructive...

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22 May 2018

I think that the best way to understand New Testament eschatology is to organise the material according to three future horizons: i) a disastrous war against Rome, which would result in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple; ii) the overthrow of classical Greek-Roman paganism and the confession of Jesus as...

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16 May 2018

The relocation of the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has given airtime to a right-wing, fundamentalist-Zionist (I refuse to use the word “evangelical” in this context) eschatological narrative that regards this provocative endorsement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as a big step towards a...

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8 May 2018

If Jesus believed that the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, with massive loss of life, would be an act of deliberate divine punishment, why didn’t he say so explicitly? Why is it that so many of the sayings about judgment that I listed from Luke’s Gospel come in the form of parables or rather...

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4 May 2018

It is sometimes argued by people who think that Jesus had no interest in violence that when he applied Isaiah 61:1-2 to himself in the synagogue in Nazareth, he deliberately stopped short of proclaiming judgment against Israel:

And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He...

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