November 2007

I’m hanging out here in San Diego, so my posting will be nil for a while.

Now that I’m about to begin the lay preaching training process with the local Methodist circuit, I’ve started picking up the quarterly preaching calendar for the circuit.  I saw that CK Barrett, or Kingsley as he is called at the churches, was preaching two or three times this quarter.  So a group of us visited St. Andrew’s Methodist in a village just outside of Durham to hear him preach this Sunday.  Nijay gives a summary of the event over at his blog, so I’ll just add a couple of extra details I found interesting. 

Though his vision slowed his scripture reading down, his preaching was clearer and more interesting than any that I’ve given to date!  He tied his darkness to light message from Acts 26 to that of Plato’s cave imagery in light of Halloween.  Kingsley applied the shadow-reality dialectic as a Christian viewpoint to the world, with the reality coming from the gospel and God’s work.  The question he had for Plato was how did the guy ever get out of the cave?  It was a great turn when he offered that it was the one who was born in a cave and left it and the one who was placed in the grave after the cross who left it.  Jesus is the one who shows us the way of reality by leaving the cave and bringing us with himself.  My summary doesn’t do it justice, but it was a good balance of academic tid bits (why this was not a defence at a trial, Paul’s education, etc.) with the more pastoral encouragement to live according to the light of the gospel. 

It was such a treat to meet him in person and to hear him preach, especially since he celebrated his 90th birthday last spring.   Methodism has been well represented at Durham–Barrett, Morna Hooker, and Jimmy Dunn.  Not to mention students like Ben Witherington who passed through here several years back.  St. John’s college here hosts the Wesley Study Centre, which is one of three UK residential training centres for Methodist ministers.


After the burgeoning success of the Biblical Studies Carnival, the patristics world of bloggers has started up the Patristics Carnival as well.  They are now up to Patristics Carnival V this month and it’s hosted at God Fearin’ Forum

Blogging in all areas is varied in its nature and content, and this is no different in the area of patristics bloggers.  However, I have noticed that there tends to be a little more breadth on the devotional side of patristic blogging that you don’t find in the Biblical Studies crowd.  It’s definitely out there but not considered as ‘academic’.  Since the patristics crowd is smaller, I suppose they cast the net a little wider.  Now don’t get me wrong.  This is just an observation about those that are considered for inclusion and not that all or even most patristic blogging is of that nature.  I’m excited that it’s growing and becoming even more organised, at least as organised as you can be in the über-democratic blogging world.

(How funny is this: I did the spell check from wordpress and the following words came up as misspellings: blogger(s) and blogging.  You might think those two words would be in a blogging website’s dictionary.)

Sorry that nothing’s here.  I had the post typed, hit publish, and nothing showed up. grrr.  Sorry that I don’t have time to type it now.

Last Monday gave a paper on Σωμα-Paul’s Body Talk.  He traced the all (?) the uses in Paul and argued that in all but the 1 Cor 15 uses, they specifically refer to a physical body in some way.  He was arguing specifically against Bultmann and those who follow him in saying that σωμα represents the whole person and not just a physical body–‘a person does not have a σωμα, a person is σωμα.’  Adams pointed out that he is in very close agreement with R. Gundry’s work in this area.  He briefly noted Käsemann, too, and from what little memory I have about Käsemann’s disagreement about σωμα with Bultmann, Adams seems pretty close to him too.  Here are Adams’ eight propositions on σωμα:

  1. 1 Cor 15.44 apart, when Paul uses the term σωμα, as an anthropological term, he means the physical, human body.
  2. A human being is not σωμα, s/he has a σωμα.
  3. The σωμα is the instrument of the self, the means by which the self communicates with others and interacts with the world (cf. Käsemann)
  4. Paul does not conceptualise or reflect on the ‘self’.  In σωμα sayings, the ‘self”/’selves’ tends to be conveyed by personal pronouns.
  5. The body is not ‘the embodied me’ (contra Dunn), but the embodiment (tangible expression) of the self.
  6. Sometimes Paul’s usage implies a dualistic anthropology (most obvious in 2 Cor 5.1-10); sometimes it does not.
  7. Paul’s ‘integrated dualism’ does not involve a suspicion of the body as body.
  8. The σωμα φυχικον is the mode of embodiment appropriate to the present world.  The σωμα πνευματατικον is the form of bodily existence appropriate to the coming world.

I thought on the argument was fairly convincing, but there were a few holes that emerged that took some of the punch away.  The first was John Barclay’s question that Adams didn’t seem to have an answer for: If in 1 Cor 6 the belly and body are both referring to the physical (the same thing), then why does it not matter what you do with your belly but it does with your body?  Bultmann (apparently) noted this and that in vs 14, we might expect that God would raise our ‘bodies’ in that context, but he uses ‘us’.  Accordingly, is it not right to see σωμα as me?  Also, a few of us were discussing afterwards the problem with looking up each instance and reading the majority meaning into each use.  This assumes it can’t be used in different ways in different contexts, but context is as important for understanding word meaning as the lexical background (cf. James Barr’s important work on Semantics).   

I can’t say anything bad about him because I’m connected to him in a couple of ways.  He was John Barclay’s second, I think, PhD student.  And when I submitted my Romans paper to the Paul Seminar at BNTS, Eddie passed it along to Angus Paddison, another one of John’s former PhD students, so I could present it in the hermeneutics section.

I just came across this website that gives basic biographical info about academics in the theology area.  There are a fair number of people listed, but most seem to be from the UK.  Churches Theological Research Trust