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Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I have always valued the writing of David Russell who was an aknowledged authority in this field, not only because he was a Scot and a Baptist, but because he combines good scholarship with readability.

This is curious, and interesting. I think one of the keys to understanding it is how New York-cent(e)red the whole thing is. It is, in some part, a sort of working-backwards-from-Union genealogy that would look more than 50% different if you used some other place as the node or focus, even sticking to the English-speaking world. This also, by the way, helps explain why Ken Leech (who has spent a lot of time in Manhattan for some years I believe) and Bill Stringfellow for that matter, are there at all - as well as their Anglicanism.

Thanks for the post and comments, Sean. I'm actually agreeing with Douglas, I think--talk of 'apocalyptic' often runs together two things that ought better to be uncoupled: whether Paul exhibits a certain type of early Jewish eschatology (transcendent, otherworldly, or whatever), and whether a certain type of soteriology (unconditional, or whatever). One could place a certain emphasis on 'justification' language in a context of eschatological divine judgment (Gathercole), an 'apocalyptic' (sense a) reading. Moreover, I think one could do this without any compromise to an 'apocalyptic' Paul (sense b); that is, I strongly doubt that many would assent to a 'conditional' understanding of 'justification by faith' (though I may be wrong). Those who retain a place for this language presumably do so because it is biblical (unless one can follow Douglas in attributing it to Paul's opponents!), not in order to promote a 'conditional' soteriology. To relate this last point directly back to the 'apocalyptic family tree', what do we understand an 'apocalyptic' Paul to contrast with? What is the alternative (stated in way acceptable to its adherents)?

In the interests of comprehensive coverage it seems to me that Nathan Kerr should be there at the bottom, and Bonhoeffer at the top (see Ziegler's essay in Modern Theology). Oh, and if anyone can explain to me what Kenneth Leech is doing there I would be grateful

Thanks Douglas and Barry
Just as a reminder, the list is Rutledge's not mine. I think her aim was to identify those who are in your category (b) Douglas, or at least her version of it, which talks about a gospel of 'divine agency' as the centre of (her understanding of) Protestant thought. Can you have (a) without at least recognizing that (b) is partly true in relation to Paul's gospel - not even Schweitzer fits there surely.

But yes, let's have a sign up sheet: what would it say?

Option 1: Paul's apocalyptic gospel contains an unconditional soteriology

Option 2: Paul's conditional gospel contains apocalyptic motifs and structural components

Option 3: Paul's apocalyptic gospel contains a 'particular' unconditional soteriology and you should read DoG for further details.

Barry, its ages since I read your book, but I must get it out again. How is the job-hunting going? (no need to answer here).

Re: Douglas's comment about 'muddling up those committed to background approaches in terms of apocalyptic, and...those committed to a particular unconditional reading of Paul's gospel', this might call in question the utility of the term 'apocalyptic' here. And just who, exactly, is on the 'conditional' tree?

Agh. I should have added Ann Jervis. It occurs to me at this point though that (a) this tree is muddling up those committed to background approaches in terms of apocalyptic, and (b) those committed to a particular unconditional reading of Paul's gospel. (This is pretty common.) So perhaps we should just post a sign-up sheet on the internet?! All those wanting to self-identify as apocalyptic readers of Paul should just say so. That could be interesting.

There are some major sins of commission and omission here--on omission, Lee Keck, and Susan Eastman, and possibly also Richard Hays (!).

Schweitzer seems an unaccountable omission at the top of the list, at least to this non-specialist...

Hi Andy
I agree with the above, but would definitely include Barclay. His forthcoming work on Paul and Grace will, I think, prove ample evidence of his apocalyptic credentials.

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