Monday, April 20, 2015

Luke Timothy Johnson's The Revelatory Body

Slated for a September release date marks another book from the prolific pen of Luke Timothy Johnson, R.W. Woodruff Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at Emory University, Candler School of Theology. The volume, The Revelatory Body, addresses the oft-neglected theme in theology, namely, the physical body.

Here is the description:

Argues that theology can respond faithfully to the living God only by paying due attention to human bodily experience Scripture points to the human body and lived experience as the privileged arena of God's self-disclosure in the world, says Luke Timothy Johnson. Attention to both ordinary and extraordinary manifestations of the Holy Spirit in and through the body is essential for theology to recover its nature as an inductive art rather than a deductive science and to serve as an expression and articulation of authentic faith in the living God. Willingness to risk engaging actual human situations — rather than abstract conceptualizations about those situations — is required of the theologian, Johnson argues. In The Revelatory Body he celebrates human experiences of activity, pleasure, pain, weariness, and aging, showing how theology might be enlivened through careful attention to the ways in which these bodily experiences disclose the movements of the Holy Spirit.

Fortunately, thanks to a Lenten lecture series recently delivered at The Cathedral of St. Philip's in Atlanta, Johnson offers a sneak preview of his forthcoming work. The five-part series can be accessed here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Quick Plug: Christopher Skinner's Reading John

Once in awhile a book comes along that is not only a good read, but simultaneously proves itself to be eminently useful. Such a book is to be found in Christopher Skinner's Reading John in the Cascade Companion Series.

Although I have yet to finish the little volume yet (152 pages), I have read enough to stand by the above statement . Skinner has achieved a rarity in this book; he writes a primer of the Fourth Gospel aimed directly for students. This is no small feat, as I have read many works supposedly geared for students, which end up overestimating the target audience with dense prose, scholarly jargon, and technical discussions that rarely break down for the audience for whom the work is directed. Skinner avoids these missteps, presenting a well-rounded introduction to John, while only using technical jargon where it is unavoidable.

I cannot say enough about this little gem of a book, and I will be saying more in subsequent posts. For my part, I cannot wait to teach John's Gospel again, and Skinner's Reading John will undoubtedly be my teaching textbook of choice.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ernst Käsemann: An Easter Reflection

Ernst Käsemann
Reading Ernst Käsemann's powerful and moving article, "Guests of the Crucified;" Word & World 33.1; (2013); 62-73, I was struck by these powerful words from the great German NT scholar regarding the significance of Jesus' suffering, and why as "Guests of the Crucified," our own must follow if we are truly to identify with him and his mission.

Even after Easter, our Lord deals with us by pointing us to the cross. He will never do otherwise. For even on the Last Day his enemies will recognize him by his wounds; these are what distinguish him from all gods and all secular rulers.We learn who Jesus truly is only from Golgotha. Here, like nowhere else, we learn what it means to be truly God and truly human. Christ must enter into death—more, into the hell of hatred, scorn, and ridicule—in order to help us. Who can affirm this without losing, at their very core, all illusions about themselves and this world? Whoever has stood beneath the stake of the Crucified knows that
salvation does not arise from our own reason and strength. At the same time, we become aware of a God who sheds his glory and dons the dress of a slave in order to become like those who have forsaken him, who rebel and entrench themselves against him, those idolatrously bent on power and pleasure. Golgotha is the place where the depths of forlornness meet the depths of self-denying compassion. That is why all of us, each in our own way, can find here both ourselves and our Lord. Those who here join in the hatred and ridicule will continue to place law and order and status quo above humanity. Those who look on indifferently will make their own self-interest the measure of all things. Those who here see the truth about themselves and who learn to cry with Jesus, “My God, my God,” will continue to keep Golgotha before their eyes, letting it determine their relation to those near and far, to the forces and powers, to the rules of society and the political necessities of our time. Golgotha was and remains a place of both blessing and curse, a place where, even among Christian churches, the spirits divide—even though not all have taken notice. For the true church and the false church, otherwise scarcely distinguishable, divide when it comes to saying yes to Jesus’ cross, to taking the Crucified Lord as their own. (66)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Gordon Fee Videos on First Corinthians

Apparently, Youth With a Mission (YWAM) continues to churn out vintage Gordon Fee videos. To see my previous post on this, click here. The videos posted here appear to be even older than the previous set on the Kingdom of God. Here, Fee lectures on the work he is most famous for, 1 Corinthians.

Thus far, only three videos have been posted. When more appear, I will be sure to update my own post. For now, enjoy!

Update (June 20, 2015): Two more videos have now appeared with Fee teaching 1 Corinthians.

Here is part 4:

Here is part 5: