From “The Art of Reading Scripture”.
The church’s reading of Scripture has usually presupposed its narrative unity, that is, that the whole of the
Bible – or the Bible read as a whole – tells a coherent story. Any part of Scripture contributes to or illuminates in some way this one story, which is the story of God’s purpose for the world. If Scripture does indeed tell the
story of God’s purpose for the world, then we should certainly expect to find unity and coherence in it. But the
idea of reading Scripture as a unified narrative seems problematic from at least two very different perspectives: (1) that of biblical scholars for whom the great diversity of the biblical texts makes the claim of unity inconsistent with the nature of the Bible and (2) that of postmodern critics for whom a unified narrative would establish
Christianity as the oppressive metanarrative that historically it has very often been. This essay begins with
a section that responds mainly to the first perspective. The argument about the Bible is then interrupted by a critical consideration of the second perspective (the postmodern critique of metanarratives) in order to resume,
in the third section, a discussion of the biblical story with some conceptual tools provided by the postmodern approach.
Handout with outline of lecture on God Crucified: Early Jewish Monotheism and New Testament Christology
Chapter 3 of “Jesus and the God of Israel”.
In my book God Crucified: Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament (The Didsbury Lectures for 1996; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999) I set out in broad outline a particular thesis about the rela ionship of early Jewish monotheism and early Christian Christology, which also entails a relatively fresh proposal about the character of the earliest Christology. My purpose in the present paper is to summarize the thesis of the first two chapters of
God Crucified, and then to focus in considerably more detail than I have done hitherto on the Pauline epistles, to show how the thesis is verified and exemplified in Pauline theology.
The purpose of this concluding chapter is not to sum up all of the important results of all the preceding chapters, though I shall mention or discuss some of them. Rather my intention is to offer some broader reflections on this field of study, its importance for the study of the canonical Gospels and the quest of the historical Jesus, the particular problems it poses and the opportunities it provides for further study. I limit the field to Gospel traditions in Christian literature because this enables me to generalize to some extent, whereas the pagan and Jewish sources, which are also the subject of chapters in this volume, present quite distinct problems and possibilities. I certainly do not mean to devalue their importance.