Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Saturday, 20 March 2010
This means that the text has a PERFORMATIVE function. It refers to or reports on a reality (and actions), pulling the reader into its world. Nobody who reads the text can remain neutral after reading. You either accept or reject it.
This example in John illustrates at least one aspect of what has come to be regarded as "Speech Act Theory" (SAT). The latter has, at least for some, become a viable alternative for on the one hand Deconstruction, and on the other Scripture as talisman (as in some African contexts - where the physical paper is attributed with magical powers). Much more can and should be said about SAT, but what I reported here was quite interesting for me in prof. Jan van der Watt's paper (Who's the Boss: text or reader?), presented at Radboud University on 17 March 2010.
Friday, 19 March 2010
Two incompatible paradigms. Prof. Van der Watt, if I understood his 17 March 2010 lecture at Radboud University, Nijmegen correctly, proposes an alternative. Within the field of INTERTEXTUALITY, it is possible to give room for both the text and the reader. Not an either-or, but both-and. I will report on this in more detail next time.
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Today I attended a symposium at Radboud University, Nijmegen, where interesting but also radically divergent papers were delivered. One was by prof.dr. Ger Groot, "hoogleraar Filosofie en Literatuur, Faculteit der Filosofie" with the title: Holy Shit! De banalisering van het heilige. In short (though highly oversimplified!) he argued for the radical separation of faith and science. Some of his insights sounded a bit like Richard Dawkins though I must admit that he was more nuanced. But his basic premise was clear: faith and science cannot be friends.. Quite interestingly, on my way back to the Erasmus building (where my office is) my eye caught a sculpture which almost looked like different beehives - each representing a different field of study. There was one for science, one for faith etc etc... This made me think of prof. Groot's separating faith and science from each other. Can Christians challenge prof. Groot? If so, how?
Prof.dr.dr. Jan van der Watt also gave an engaging paper which I hope to report on next time.
On a more personal level, someone stole my bycicle at the Nijmegen train station (even though it was locked). Europe is not as civilised as some might think...
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Anyone hoping to cast a dark shadow over Jesus' resurrection will have to take note of dr William Lane Craig, being one of the foremost New Testament Scholars of our time. He holds PhD's from the University of Munich in Germany, and Birmingham in England. He debated Gerd Ludemann (whom I featured earlier) some time ago. The debate was edited and published as a significant book. I put a link to a FREE Google excerpt at the bottom of the post. But first a YouTube video summarizing the evidence for Jesus' resurrection, presented by dr Craig:
The book by William Lane Craig and Gerd Ludeman:
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Highly controvertial professor Gerd Lüdemann declares: "Despite profound experiences with your God ... your hopes [Jesus] for the future died. They clashed with brutal reality .. And had not your followers .. proclaimed belief in your resurrection, all your words and deeds would have been blown away like leaves by the wind ...But you did not return, because your resurrection did not take place, but was only a pious wish. That is certain, because your body rotted in the tomb – that is, if it was put in a tomb at all and was not devoured by vultures and jackals ...No authentic religion can be built on projections, wishes and visions, not even if it appears in such a powerful form as that of the Christian church, which has even exalted you to be the Lord of the worlds and coming judge. But you are not the Lord of the worlds, as your followers declared you to be on the basis of your resurrection, nor did you want to be ... You deceived yourself, and your message has been falsified by your supporters for their own advantage, contrary to the historical truth. Your teaching was a mistake, since the messianic kingdom did not materialize” (Lüdemann, Gerd, 1999, The Great Deception and what Jesus Really Said and Did, New York: Prometheus Books, pp2-4).
Most if not all New Testament Scholars disagree with Lüdemann's interpretations. But my question today is: HOW do we know Lüdemann is wrong? Will be nice to get some comments on this...
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Today I went to Den Haag to get my "verblijfsvergunning" from the Justice Ministry. Thankfully everything went smoothly. On my way back I stopped over at the University of Utrecht to visit their famous Protestant Theology Department. There I made friends with Jan van Wygerden, a PhD student who is doing research on catholicity in the patristic era. We had a fascinating (and encouraging!) discussion. Thank you for that Jan.
Following our discussion I reflected back on some research I did last year in Durham. There are voices within Patristic and New Testament circles arguing that what came to be regarded as the orthodoxy of the late second century and beyond (i.e. belief in bodily resurrection, the virgin birth of Christ etc) was, among other things argued for based on apostolic succession, and the authority of the church.
Much of this goes back to research done on the writings of Irenaeus in his well known work Against Heresies. I hope to discuss more about this some other time. For the moment though, I want to make one point by drawing on Tertullian's On the Resurrection of the Flesh (Resurrection). If we accept that apostolic succession and the authority of the church became apologetic tools to try and defend orthodoxy, other appeals were also necessary to argue for the legitimacy of what orthodoxy claimed. This Tertullian did masterfully in his Resurrection. Instead of focussing on apostolic succession or the authority of the church, he went on to face all those texts which Marcion and some Gnostic groups employed to argue for their interpretations head on. One good example is Romans 8:3 where the latter argued for a docetic Christology (which holds that Christ did not really took on flesh). In his defence of the orthodox position, Tertullian analysed the whole pericope and pointed out, among other things that a docetic Christology is impossible if one keeps in mind what Paul declares in 8:11: "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."
Especially today, we as Christians should be able to use Scripture (and not apostolic succession and the authority of the church) in our witness and defence of WHY we believe.