Friday, April 04, 2008

One book only

I got tagged by Bryan a couple days ago to do what Drew prefers to call an “autobiographical widget™”.
Books are scarce in the world. They are illegal in some provinces. They are not easily replaced if not impossible to replace if lost in many if not most circumstances. If you can replace a book or buy one it is usually through the black market at astronomical costs that you cannot afford. Yet you have been able to maintain one of the best collections in the world. If your entire library was about to burn up (think of the firefighters in Fahrenheit 451 invading your home) and you could only have one* book to take with you other than the bible, what would that be and why?

Simple Rules
Answer the question. Offer one quote that resonates with you. Tag five people whose response is of genuine interest to you and inform him or her that they have been tagged. Cheers!

*And it cannot be an entire series of something, that’s cheating.
Okay, it has taken me a couple days to think about this because I have several books I really like. But if pressed to the wall and forced to make a decision I would probably take Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. (Well, I'd really press hard to bargain for two and hope I could get John Stott's The Cross of Christ as well because much of what Stott writes just really sits well with me). But I have been "discovering" Bauckham's work and I like much of what I have been finding. I have yet to get more of his stuff. Right now I have his WBC commentary on 2 Peter/Jude, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, and The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple. All of these have been really good so far. I want to get the new one he edited The Gospel of John in Christian Theology, and an older one on the Theology of Revelation, which is probably a must for the study of the Revelation.

Why Jesus and the Eyewitnesses? I like Gospel studies and I like works on the central figure of our faith: Jesus. The whole idea of anonymous communities composing the Gospels hasn't really sat well with me and I had concerns about it. Well, in reading Bauckham we see the house of cards fall, we see the end of an era and really, the end of a particular school of discipline within NT Studies - that of discussion the features, attributes, and the like of anonymous communities or even the supposed Johannine community.

Here is a quote that sits well with me:
There are difficulties, of course, in the fact that these four accounts of Jesus differ, but there is no doubt that the Jesus of the church's faith through the centuries has been a Jesus found in these Gospels. That means that Christian faith has trusted these texts. Christian faith has trusted that in these texts we encounter the real Jesus, and it is hard to see how Christian faith and theology can work with a radically distrusting attitude to the Gospels (p2).... What is in question is whether the reconstruction of a Jesus other than the Jesus of the Gospels, the attempt, in other words, to do all over again what the Evangelists did, though with different methods, critical historical methods, can ever provide the kind of access to the reality of Jesus that Christian faith and theology have always trusted we have in the Gospels. By comparison with the Gospels, any Jesus reconstructed by the quest cannot fail to be reductionist from the perspective of Christian faith and theology (p4) [Italics mine].
This is a slam dunk quote in my opinion. In fact when I read it, I could hear various folks scattering across the floor ducking their heads as their house of cards came collapsing down on top of them. I hope they make it out okay.

I am late on this so no tags.


At 10:07 PM, Blogger bk said...

One should not be presenting an idea as if it were Biblical if they cannot cite one verse that would justify teaching that idea. Sadly however most never take the time to subject the ideas that they are taught to Biblical scrutiny. Instead they put their confidence in something said by this-or-that man (in direct violation of Ps. 118:8) and then they proceed to reinterpret the words of scripture to fit the presupposition of that non-Bible source. And that was done here with the statement "John, the beloved disciple".

The truth is there is not a single verse in scripture that would justify teaching the idea that John was "the disciple whom Jesus loved" and yet most simply assume that this man-made tradition cannot be wrong and then interpret scripture to fit this idea. But if one will heed Ps. 118:8 then the NON-Bible sources on which this man-made tradition is based will give way to the facts stated in scripture which prove that NO MATTER WHO this anonymous author was he most certainly was not John.

Speculations as to the identity of the beloved disciple seem to know no end -- Thomas, James, John, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, James the Less, Judas (no kidding!) -- as a simple Google search will show. However all of these ideas rely on this-or-that non-Bible source, as does the man-made John tradition, so Ps. 118:8 should be a clear word of caution to those who would promote these ideas or blindly follow other men in believing them. And the fact that teachers like Bauckham are willing to promote this man-made tradition simply because they believe hearsay attributed to Irenaeus on this issue (along with those who promote the John idea because of it) cannot be wrong have let their allegiance to the traditions of men blind them to the evidence found in the plain text of scripture. Besides this those who present the John idea AS IF IT WERE BIBLICAL when they cannot cite a single verse that would justify teaching the idea that John was the unnamed "other disciple whom Jesus loved" fail to see that presenting idea as if it were Biblical when that idea is founded on non-Bible sources is not an honest presentation, regardless of the issue in question.

Those who want the truth on Biblical issues should look first and foremost to the Bible.

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Calm down! Its obvious you have Bauckham on your google reader so anyone who say sanything about him you can post your biases on people's blogs.

I was asked which ONE book I would take escaping a fire - in all likelyhood, it would be Bauckham. Gosh. It is obvious you have differences with a VERY large majority of solid erudite biblical scholars on this topic.

It is interesting that you think that Mary Magdalene wrote the Fourth Gospel. But I think I'll side with the vast majority of biblical scholarship. (Yes, I am not willing to enter into this debate with you).


At 1:04 PM, Blogger bk said...

Your silly namecalling aside, just like all the promoters of the unbiblical man-made Joihn tradtion you were not able to cite a single verse that would justify promoting this idea. Instead those who want to drink the kool-aid of tradition will rush to change the subject to get the focus off of scripture -- even to the point of lying about those who dare to raise the idea that the plain text of scripture trumps all their non-Bible sources.

You should read what the Bible says about false witnesses before you falsely accuse me of promoting an unbiblical idea -- as your one-book idol does. To lie and falsely ascribe to me the bogus idea that the unnamed "other disciple" was Mary Madglene simply shows that you don't bother to investigate the facts or else you don't care about the truth.

The really interesting thing is that those who do believe the Mary Magdalene idea can cite just as many verses to support their idea as can those who promte the John idea. But since the number in both these cases is ZERO -- this simply means that the John idea is just as unbiblical as the Mary Magdalene idea. But you clearly feel no obligation to "prove all things" or "search the scriptures to see if these things are so" and your willingness to turn a blind eye to the evidence of scripture does not indicate a love of the truth -- so clearly no amount of Biblical evidence will disuade you from your chosen belief. Have at it -- I'll shake the dust off my feet in your direction and leave you to your John myth and whatever other non-Bible sources you choose to follow.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Brian said...

boy does this discussion make me look really stupid...

At 2:13 PM, Blogger mike said...

Wow, Brian, you got a real live one here! Not only can he (inclusively used) pull a verse from a Psalm out a context, but he also ignorant of history.

Not to mention the fact that you didn't even do any "silly namecalling" (which should be two words).

This "bk" violates his own interpretation of Ps 118.8 by inferring has any reference to historical sources and tradition - which it doesn't.

There is also the problem that if one were to actually follow the method called for by this person, then there would be about 1000 words in the New Testament that we probably cannot define whatsoever since they only occur once - often times in ambiguous contexts where the meaning cannot be determined without non-biblical sources! That said, to ignore history and non-biblical sources is complete and utter folly.

By the way, good choice on the book, Brian!

At 6:50 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Thanks Mike for the help - I just mostly felt stupid accusing BK of naming Mary Magdalene because I had another comment on the last time I noted Bauckham who put up a link to a site claiming lots of biblical support for MM being the author. It was exactly the same tone and feel as "BK" who apparently is himself anonymous.

Psalm 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.

How does this have to do with anything really, let alone determining the completely anonymous author of the Fourth Gospel?

None of the other Gospels indicate their author either - we have the titles to them mostly due to tradition - aside from that there's not a lot of evidence of exactly who these four Evangelists are.

So, "BK" who do you think wrote the Fourth Gospel? I'll give a hint: it wasn't God, necessarily.


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