Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Living Jesus

So as the semester is approaching on Monday, I have decided to get a bit of a headstart on reading. I know once classes start, it's gonna be a whirlwind, so I'm at least introducing myself to some of my books.

I've started working on a couple books for my Christology class. I was excited for the class to begin with, but after beginning the readings, I'm even more excited. The first book we have been assigned is Living Jesus by Luke Timothy Johnson, and it is right up my alley. The basis premise is that in our quest to learn Jesus, we have, for the last 100 years anyway, begun with the wrong question. Before we get into historical method and source/redaction/form criticism, we need to ask a far more basic question; "Is Jesus alive or dead?"

Johnson argues that if Jesus is alive, as so many of us confess, then we ought not treat him as a historical (dead) figure when trying to learn about him. Rather, we take what we know of who Jesus is through the eyewitness accounts of his disciples and friends, continued over the past 2000 years through the work of the Holy Spirit in his church, also combined with our own experience of Christ in the context of the church, and now we're closer to being able to learn Jesus.

The whole historical Jesus quest always struck me as odd, and Johnson has put some solid feet on that which was only an inkling in my relatively uneducated mind. I'm also beginning to read Jurgen Moltmann's The Way of Jesus Christ, and in his prologue, he explains that he named the book what he did just because Jesus is so dynamic, and cannot be nailed down as "known" in some static sort of way. Jesus is always known in a dynamic relationship, not as a static, distant historical figure. So I'm getting the same sort of approach from two different angles, and I feel theologically energized by it.

Dear God, what have I become? I just used the term "theologically energized." Oh yeah, I became a seminary student again. My fellow nerds and I will retire to the nerdery with our Greek lexicons.

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At 7:27 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew: I hope that Addie enjoys the gift from both your mother and me and that she has a super birthday. Made into a television series a number of years ago - The Ascent of Man hosted by J. Bronowski is a wonderful series made for television. I have the book here at home that is based upon the series if you want to read it. Jacob Bronowski was a mathematician, poet, inventor, playwright, humanist and the author of ten books. He died in 1974, but his humanity, voice and eloquence was a materpiece of applied intelligence. I do not know if the series is still available. Uncle Bryce


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