Friday, 18 November 2011

No Resurrection in Hebrews? Think again! - Dr David M. Moffitt's illuminating monograph

One of the great privileges of doing research at Tyndale House, Cambridge, is that our library gets new world-class publications on a weekly basis. Today I had a quick look at the brand new monograph by Dr. David M. Moffitt with the title: Atonement and the Logic of Resurrection in the Epistle to the Hebrews, Brill, 2011.

In this volume, David tackles what is often referred to as the "riddle of the New Testament." This "riddle" is the apparent absence of significant reference to or reflection upon the resurrection of Jesus in Hebrews.  This has led some to conclude that Jesus' resurrection was not important to the author, or that it can be excluded completely!
With this in view David rightly asks: What is the status of Jesus' resurrection in Hebrews?
Answer: "I suggest that the event of Jesus' resurrection is not only important for the argument of the Epistle, but specifically that the author's argument depends upon the assumption that the resurrection marked the moment at which Jesus' human body was given indestructible life." 

I found this section in chapter 5 very illuminating:

"... can the events of the Son's incarnation, suffering, and exaltation in Hebrews be seen to be intelligible as an account of the Messiah's serving as the high priest who obtains for his people atonement and entry into the eternal inheritance? If so, how? The argument of this study suggests that the answer lies in the very element of the early Christian proclamation almost universally ignored in modern interpretations of the text: the author's affirmation of Jesus' bodily resurrection unifies and drives the high-priestly Christology and the soteriology of his homily.

It looks like a great volume!

For more about Dr. Moffitt see the link below:

Monday, 14 November 2011

What will happen to God's people after death? Wright and Evans on Paul, the Fathers and the Gnostic Gospels

Our library here in Nijmegen just received its copy of Craig A. Evans and NT Wright's book: Jesus, the Final Days. What Really Happened, published by Westminster John Knox Press.

It is definitely written for lay people (thus, no complicated theological language) and is therefore the kind of book that anyone will be able to read with ease.

As I had a quick look at the different chapters, my eye caught the section dealing with the differences between the canonical portrials of Jesus' resurrection, and what we find in the so-called Gnostic Gospels. This bit is quite interesting:

"A notable exception to ... [the] remarkably consistent picture of early Christian belief about resurrection appears in the writings that we call Gnostic (e.g., the Gospel of Thomas). These writings, which have been much vaunted in some contemporary American scholarship, are sometimes hailed as very early and as giving access to the original Christian vision that was then muddled up by the later New Testament writers, not least by the four canonical evangelists. I have argued at some length for the opposite view on these writings, namely that the Gnostic writings are late, and that they derive from and indeed deviate from the canonical writings. This is actually the majority view of New Testament scholars around the world ... In the end, these writings are best seen as reflecting a later attempt to use the language of early Christianity, in this case in talking about life after death, to express a radically different worldview"(p82-83).