How to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference


30 Sep 2022

What happens when Adam and Eve disobey God and eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? What are the consequences of their sin? How does it change things? The common assumption is that the “fall” is a catastrophic ontological event that corrupts not only humanity but the whole of creation—with the corollary that redemption entails the “healing” not only of humanity but of the whole of creation. I rather think that this controlling theological construct is overblown. My basic point would be that the biblical perspective is presented as story, not as theology, and not as theology dressed up as story—in effect, allegory. This is as true for the mythopoetic narrative in Genesis 2-3 as for Paul’s essentially historical reflection on creation or the created thing being in subjection to futility, groaning, and in pain in Romans 8:19-22.

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Shortly after the death of Jesus, two from the band of his disciples are met by the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus (Lk. 24:13-35). He asks them what they are talking about, and, a little surprised by the ignorance of the fellow, they update him on what has just transpired in Jerusalem. It would… (13 Sep 2022 | 18 comments)
One of the reasons why we routinely miss the point of Peter’s explanation of what happened on the day of Pentecost is, I think, that the canonical arrangement of books encourages us to read Acts as the beginning of something new rather than as a direct continuation of what went before. The New… (2 Sep 2022 | 3 comments)
Jamie Davies makes J. Louis Martyn the pivot point of his retrospective summary of the history of modern investigations into the thought of the “apocalyptic Paul.” Martyn is the terminus ad quem of the longer history of research going back to Johannes Weiss and the terminus a quo(17 Aug 2022 | 2 comments)
In the second chapter of The Apocalyptic Paul: Retrospect and Prospect, Jamie Davies introduces what is effectively a “school” of modern interpreters who have built on J. Louis Martyn’s account of Paul’s apocalyptic thought: Martinus de Boer, Leander Keck, Alexandra Brown, Beverly Gaventa… (9 Aug 2022 | 0 comments)
Jamie Davies’ book The Apocalyptic Paul: Retrospect and Prospect comes in two parts: a look back down the long road that has led to attempts to assimilate the “apocalyptic Paul” into systematic theologies, and a look forward to see where that road might take us next. I’m not sure how far I… (2 Aug 2022 | 0 comments)
I asked in the previous post about blaming Bathsheba, “If it was a rape, why isn’t it presented as a rape?” James McGrath asks to the contrary, if we call Amnon’s assault of Tamar “rape,” why do we not apply the same category to David’s sexual encounter with Bathsheba? “Where in the story is… (21 Jul 2022 | 3 comments)
James McGrath made this comment in response to my treatment of Bathsheba’s bathing in my previous two posts (see the links below): I found myself unable to keep reading after you blamed Bathsheba for washing herself after the end of her menstruation as the Law mandates, in a place that… (19 Jul 2022 | 3 comments)