The Paper Chase

These are the times that try men's souls...

Just a quick note to the friends who read that I haven't given up blogging...I'm just busy earning a living which right now means grading lots of essays, online and in hard copy. It's like being a wine taster, except I have to suggest ways to fix what's wrong and, of course, I'm not drinking. However, I hope to be done before we leave town just before Christmas. I've taken papers with me before, and this year I'm determined not to do that.

What else? Only random notes: I'm beginning to read Wright again after taking a break. One of the great questions in the gospels, and there are many, is what to make of Jesus' proclamations of judgement. I read a passage like Luke 7:36-50, the famous passage when Jesus is annointed by what is probably a prostitute. If you have time, please read that passage, regardless of your belief. You will see what drew me to Christianity and what continues to draw me. Of course, how do we locate that story within Luke's overall composition, within the possible, and different, annointing parallels? Above all, how historical am I to take the words and event? Or better, how in line with Jesus' historical character (for this is the real question; not is this event exact, but did things like this happen, things like this get said?) Those are fair questions and I will soon have something to say about them. But as it stands, the story provides a picture of deity (for surely Jesus is divine in some sense in Luke) unequalled in world literature. Or perhaps equalled only by other stories about Jesus!

And yet Jesus, like other Jewish prophets before him, has lots of judgement-warnings. Who are those for, and what do we make of them? Ultimately, will God send people to hell forever to be tormented? Wright is about to take the judgement sayings on in his book, and I'm curious what he has to say. As always, Wright is not the final word (sorry for the pun on another of his titles). And he emaphasizes one aspect of history while sometimes setting aside others which may have existed alongside. Carson notes this with the New Perspective. Still, he's a breath of fresh air in many ways, a brilliant mind who is trying to walk the middle ground between blind belief in the biblical texts as God's own words and utter skepticism and dismissal. Or so it seems. I haven't read his book on the bible.

Merry Christmas to all. I hope I have time to post something longer before I blow town. It will be nice to be back in so cal.

I really must finish the Estella story. I now know the end.



Sandalstraps said…

Nice teaser post.

I think you've identified the right question to bring to the historicity of indivdual Gospel stories. Is something like this likely to have happened with the characters involved?

In the case of the story you mention from Luke, I would have to say "yes." Simply put, it stands in such great contrast to the "purity" vision of religion that it would not have been included as a way to make Jesus look good, or anything like that. If anything, in its context (rather than our own, which has been so shaped by the values and teachings of Jesus) it would have served as a stumbling block rather than as an attraction, unless it were accompanied by the mysterious and quasi-magical character it is said to have happened to.

Without, in other words, the presense of the person of Jesus, it is just another religious sex scandal, as a would-be prophet/priest is caught being carassed by a creature of night.
Funkiller said…

Good to know that though you are busy, you are well. I look forward someday to read the rest of the Estella story. Enjoy your trip to SoCal, if you come across good Mexican food while you are there, think of me. I can't seem to find any yet.


Sandalstraps said…
Merry Christmas, Troy.
Troy said…
Sincere thanks to both of you; you are good men and true friends.


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