Saturday, 28 May 2011

Believing in bodily resurrection and heaven doesn't make you a Platonist or Gnostic – N.T. Wright and Marcus Bockmuehl at loggerheads?

Today I had the opportunity of attending part of the Oxbridge New Testament Graduate Seminar held in Cambridge this time around. As always, the papers presented were exceptional.

Those who presented were Bruce Clark (Cambridge); Richard Kueh (Cambridge); Diane Hakala (Cambridge); Ben Edsall (Oxford); Alex Kirk (Oxford) and Nicholas Ellis (Oxford). Apart from my Cambridge friends, it was really good to see my Oxford friends Ben, Alex and Nicholas again!

In between sessions I had a fascinating talk with Professor Marcus Bockmuehl from Oxford about his paper: “Did St. Paul go to Heaven when he Died?” which he delivered last year at the Theological dialogue with N.T. Wright held at Wheaton College.

Having listened to both professor Bockmuehl’s and Wright’s papers, and after listening attentively to Bockmuehl’s further explanations, at some stage during our interesting talk, I tried to summarise what I thought to be the issue for him: “You don’t have to become a Platonist or Gnostic to believe in bodily resurrection and going to heaven when you die” – This is more or less how I understood professor Bockmuehl’s disagreement with professor N.T. Wright. Professor Bockmuehl reiterated that to his mind, all of the early church fathers believed in a heavenly after-life, without neglect of the resurrection of the body. It seemed to me that for professor Bockmuehl, professor Wright goes beyond Paul when it comes to a text like 2 Cor. 5:1-10.

It was a great privilege to meet professor Bockmuehl. He’s given me much food for thought.

Here is a link to professor Bockmuehl’s paper:

The conference papers have now also been published by IVP under the title Jesus, Paul, and the People of God: A Theological Dialogue with N.T. Wright. To order (in Europe) click here:


Anonymous said...

A-ha! Ek het gewonder of jy al persoonlik by Tom Wright uitgekom het. "Great stuff", né!? Dan raak die Crossans, Borgs, Vermes(se) en sekere navorsers en teoloë nader aan die suidpool, ten spyte van al die aspekte van hul bydraes wat verrykend kan wees, tog, wel....eensydig en onvolledig. En oninspirerend wanneer die totale konsekwensies van hul gevolgtrekkings waarlik ontleed en oordink word.

Good luck with your studies.


Frederik Mulder said...

Acama, welcome here - all the way from the most beautiful place in the world: the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa! I studied under NT (Tom) Wright in 2008-9 in Durham. It was a great privilege. And yes, I have wrestled with the likes of Crossan. Luedemann, Wedderburn etc and is still convinced that the historicity of the empty tomb and bodily resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation for the evidence we have.