Jim West blogged this interesting article by Gerd Luedemann who if I remember correctly was the professor involved in that lawsuit over theological posts in universities. Gerd wrote a little missive over at Bible and Interpretation about how historical critical study has saved us from ourselves. It is full of little gems like:
But today both Luther and the New Testament authors have become strangers to us. The simple reason for this is that all of their exegeses and formulations presuppose an obsolete and mythological worldview that injects an ineradicable virus of outdated belief systems into the texts.
Gerd gives some examples of how New Testament authors interpret passages from the Old Testament in ways that we never would. This isn’t exactly news to anyone, but I suppose Gerd can be given a modicum of credit for asking the question that many of us have asked ourselves: How do we reconcile the New Testament use of the Old given the way we do exegesis? Gerd’s answer is to say we can’t and tell the apostles they are wrong. I don’t see anything wrong with delineating some behavior as appropriate for apostles that is not appropriate for us. That includes oddly interpreting Old Testament passages. Gerd basically assumes the superiority of historical critical interpretation then says “Aha! Just as I thought. The results of this method are better” seemingly without realizing that he is using the same criteria to judge superiority as he is to produce the result. Frankly, I don’t see any reason to think historical critical exegesis is superior to the work of the Holy Spirit.
Gerd finishes with this delightful nugget of wisdom:
Since the term “enlightenment” refers to the individual or collective employment of the human intellect, then it must be clear that the christological interpretation of scripture practiced by the churches for two millennia is as anachronistic as the Ptolemaic model of the universe, and that early Christians distorted many Old Testament texts to make them point to Christ. Yet more troubling is the fact that while their over-zealousness may be excused on the grounds of ignorance, many today similarly misuse the scriptures to perpetuate an ancient hoax.
Having eaten from the tree of historical knowledge, we are no longer able to take seriously an interpretation of the Old Testament that leads to Christ. All glory, laud, and honor to the founders of historical criticism for liberating us from the christological madhouse.
Ex-anythings are so droll. The meaning of scripture is not found in its dissection. The historical-critical method is useful, but ultimately as Bonhoeffer points out it leaves you with nothing but rubble. The Scriptures are revelatory solely and completely by the power of the Holy Spirit. Gerd Luedemann may be able to see the context and setting of a passage be it New Testament or Old, but he can’t see Christ without the Holy Spirit. Luedemann has seen his own blindness and called it superior, truly if that is not the foolish wisdom of the world, I don’t know what is.
P.S. I know I have been a bit sarcastic and poked fun at Prof. Luedemann a bit, but let me say I do respect him as a scholar and recognize and affirm that his knowledge far exceeds my own. That said, I really do not like his presuppositions.
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Posted in Life on October 27, 2009|
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I took the GRE yesterday morning on about 4 hours of sleep. It wasn’t too terrible but 4 hours of testing takes a lot out of you. I didn’t do too bad either. My unofficial scores given at the end of the test are 660 Verbal 680 Quantitative. I won’t get my writing score back for a couple weeks. Hopefully these scores are good enough to help me get into the PhD program I am about to apply to. I have selected Baylor as my first choice school. Baylor is considered to be a second-tier school, but I could honestly care less. Moderate Baptist Academics is a collision of three kinds of awesome. I really would like to study Luke-Acts, and Baylor’s NT department contains one Mikael Parsons who does a lot of work in Luke and Acts. Baylor also has a Sociology of Religion program that Ashleigh is interested in, so we both feel like Baylor would be a great place for us. Soon our applications will be finished and it will be in the hands of the admissions people. Hopefully they like what they see! Pray I find a home in a PhD program somewhere, either here or somewhere else.
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Posted in Philosophy, Reading on October 20, 2009|
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I once heard a lecturer describe a marine organism on the borderline between plant and animal. It spends most of its time attached to rocks, but during one phase of its life it develops a very simple brain, detaches from the rock, and moves to an area with more nutrients. Then it re-attaches and consumes its own brain. The lecturer likened it to a professor who had gotten tenure.
– Nancy Murphy, Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies? (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 58 – footnote 24
That ladies and gents is why you should read footnotes. By the way, this book is a fascinating argument for the non-existence of the soul. It’s worth the read if for no other reason than to understand physicalism.
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I saw this at a news stand in the airport today.
Seeing things like this makes me want to get all imprecatory, but I have a feeling that if you dashed Osteen’s head against the rocks nothing would come out.
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Posted in Biblioblogging, Humor on October 6, 2009|
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Famed Biblioblogger Jim West has taken the extremely controversial step of copyrighting the phrase “total depravity” (and variants on this phrase) in an apparent bid to protect what has become the central focus of his blog. Confronted with the prospect of copycats after a recent posting by Doug Chaplain, West made the move to be the exclusive legal user of the phrase when it became apparent that he was in danger of losing his position as the #1 Biblioblogger on the Internet to the mild mannered and friendly Joel Watts of TheChurchofJesusChrist.
Reached for comment Mr. Watts declared, “Jim definitely should be afraid, but I doubt any legal maneuver can prevent me from rising to the top.” Anonymous insiders who claim to know Jim West well say he has admitted as much to them and credits his ability to cling to the top on Watts’ inability to find a suitable spell checker. Some bloggers have privately rallied to Jim West’s cause. One such blogger, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “We can’t have the #1 blogger in the world be from West Virginia, that’s just embarrassing!”
Dr. West was at first reluctant to speak to reporters on the issue, but later released this cryptic comment, “Dilettante news totally depraved biblioblogging numero uno socialism Zwingli.” Unable to make sense of this we contacted NT Wrong, currently residing in a secret bunker under the Arctic Ocean, who told us that it simply meant, “West rules, the rest drool.” Wrong then went on to give his full support to West nominating him to be Treasurer of the Minimalist Society of Southwestern Greenland. West has reportedly turned down the honor as he claims he is too busy in his new role as Arch Liaison of the Society of Biblical Literature to the Blogging Community.
Jim West is no stranger to controversy having organized the agreement between the SBL and the blogging community which tragically resulted in one biblioblogger taking up residence in an asylum. He also assumed the role of president at the organization responsible for assigning ranks to bibliobloggers sparking allegations of favoritism and behind the scenes dealing.
Legal documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act outline Dr. West’s argument for copyrighting the term. Mr. West argues that even though he did not coin the phrase “totally depraved,” he asserts his right to copyright its use in relation to biblioblogging on the basis that it has become in a sense his brand. One experienced judge when asked his thoughts on the case responded, “What is biblioblogging?” Only time will tell if Jim West’s request will be granted, but it is undeniable that Jim West has left on indelible mark on the biblioblogging community.
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Posted in Ponderings on October 1, 2009|
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Suppose that technology sufficiently advanced to allow for the creation of artificial intelligence, and self-aware human-like robots were created. Would it be ethical for Christians to create an imitation of the image in the first place, and if so, what would be required ethically in the treatment of such creatures? Could one satisfactorily argue that the appearance and behavior of such automatons, if sufficiently similar to actual humans, preclude the destruction and ill treatment of such creatures on the basis of the impact such ill treatment would have on actual humans in the prosecution of such treatment against the automatons. That is, couldn’t it be reasonably argued that violence against a sufficiently good simulation of humanity detrimentally affect real humans perpetrating such violence, and entrenching negative social behaviors that would not be tolerated or ethical against humans?
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