Wednesday, November 25, 2015

VIDEO: Paul and "gift"

If you were at AAR/SBL this year in Atlanta, and your interest is in NT, or even more narrowly, Pauline studies, you would have likely heard about John Barclay's just published book, Paul and the Gift. On top of that, maybe you had the chance to attend the session devoted to reviews of Barclay's book, with a very serious panel consisting of Joel Marcus, Margaret Mitchell, and Miroslav Volf. I had kind of a packed schedule, so I only caught the back end of Dr. Marcus's review (honestly, all I remember is him saying that Paul and the gift is a gift that keeps on giving and some comments about 4 Ezra) and stayed for most of Dr. Mitchell's review before I had to scoot out for a meeting and run back when Barclay was giving some final comments. Again, I had to leave early again, so needless to say, I didn't get to hear a lot of the interactions regarding Barclay's book.

Also, I had meant to finish reading Barclay's book before this session but my schedule got ahead of me, so it was helpful to hear from Marcus and Mitchell on some of the perceived shortcomings of Barclay's book–though as far as I could tell, it was very well received despite the critical comments about it. In my opinion thus far, the book is very well organized and clearly argued; it seems to me that Barclay's book dances along that fine line between the appropriation of method(s)/analytical tool(s) (in Barclay's case, the 6 "perfections" of gift/grace) and careful sifting through the primary sources. Honestly, it's rare to find a book of this length and quality that doesn't seem unnecessarily long or difficult to read given the technical fine points of book x. It's so clear and well organized to the degree that I think even a non-specialist could derive huge benefits from reading his book.

Anyway, if you are interested, I also saw that there is a short clip of Barclay explaining his project. Check it out:



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Notice: Bultmann

I want to mention a recently published book titled, Rudolf Bultmann: A Companion to His Theology (Cascade) by David W. Congdon. On his most recent blog post (go here) he mentions a promo by which you can receive 40% through Nov. 15. 
Bultmann and his Theology of the New Testament still receives plenty of attention even in NT scholarship, seen for example in the recent publication of Beyond Bultmann. Last year in SD, SBL held a session devoted to this book (room was packed), and all the participants did a great job presenting their own interactions with Bultmann. My own supervisor also wrote an essay for the volume, though he was not in the SBL session. I'm still intrigued by his hermeneutical methods and his NTT, and I think Congdon's book will be a welcome addition to helping Bultmann dilettantes like myself wade through his vast oeuvre beyond just his Theology. Go buy a copy if you're interested!

QOTD: John Barclay

Teaching/dissertating has been taking up most of my time, hence very little blogging as of late. I recently borrowed John Barclay's Paul and the Gifta book that has been a highly anticipated work.  As far as I am aware, Barclay doesn't publish a ton of monograph length material, but when he does, people read and listen. I'm less than a 100 pages in, but so far, I think this book is no exception. The book is not germane to my research, but I've very much enjoyed reading it when I can make time. It is a refreshing investigation into a term/concept in Pauline theology that continues to receive much attention, though as Barclay shows, with much terminological and conceptual slippage among those that talk about it. 

Back to the title of my blog post, I will leave you with a short quotation:

"When two different authors speak of divine benevolence or grace, but disagree on its meaning and its implications, this may be not because one emphasizes grace more than the other, or grasps its 'true' meaning while the other does not, but simply because they are perfecting different facets of grace. As we shall see, Pelagius held firmly to the superabundance of divine grace, which was prior to all human activity; but (for theological reasons) he could not accept Augustine's perfection of the incongruity of grace. Augustine did not believe in grace more than Pelagius; he simply believed in it differently." (p. 77)

If you are attending SBL/AAR this year, you probably know that there is a review of his book. I'm planning to catch the session, which I expect will be very well attended. Unfortunately, I also have a meeting with a publisher that overlaps, so I'm hoping someone out there will have some kind of review of the entire session... If you read this and you are attending, please take some notes! :)