In honour of Kingsley Barrett’s 90th birthday last Friday, the NT seminar held a special reception and invited Morna Hooker, a former quasi-PhD student of his to give a paper. In the 20th century Barrett was the major influence on upholding Durham as an internationally recognised theological department, espcially in the area of biblical studies. He taught here from 1945 until 1982! and also was the Lightfoot Professor of Divinity for a while. Former students (some from the early 50’s) and friends came, such as Maurice Casey, Morna Hooker, Jimmy Dunn, and Tom Wright.

Hooker’s paper was on 2 Corinthians 5.21. She first compared it to Galatians 3.13, and the curse/blessing dialectic there. The main point of that verse is the asymmetrical nature of the two–although Christ ‘became’ a curse, the believers did not ‘become’ a blessing. They ‘received’ the blessing. Back at 2 Corinthians 5, she focused on the relationship between the three gospel summary statements (14-15, 18-19, & 21) and how they played a role in Paul’s argument for his ministry. Her analysis showed that the summaries were ways of showing that Paul’s activity was directly in line with the universal plan of God. Through his incarnation, death, and resurrection Christ is saving the world, and Paul’s ministry follows in that same type of pattern. Thus, it is shown to be of God. Accordingly, her analysis of the final summary statement follows the same pattern. She understands our becoming the δικαιοσυνη θεου, as the activity of God (a la Käsemann) in restoring relationships. It is not just us sharing in the new justified status of Christ, but the activity of God working through believers. There were several questions, but a general sense of agreement from the floor. But it was fun to see the exchange between Hooker, Wright, Dunn, Barclay, Moberly, and others.

At the reception, they announced the introduction of the C.K. Barrett Fund, which is aimed at funding NT studies at Durham, and solicited donations. Along with his focus on the NT department, Barrett is also a devout Methodist. So the fund will also require that the recipient contribute to the life of the Methodist Church. It hit me that although the department mostly has Anglicans, the Methodists have played a significant role here with Barrett, Hooker, and Dunn, and well now me of course. If you are interested in giving towards the fund, see here (CK Barrett Fund, reference 770573).

Here is a picture I took of John and Morna. John studied with Morna during his time at Cambridge while doing his PhD in the late 70s/early 80s.
John Barclay and Morna Hooker