For all of those who may read this blog who live in area near Eugene, OR, you may be interested to know that Amy-Jill Levine will be lecturing in Eugene on October 23-25. This will be a Chi-Rho Lecture series on Jesus as he relates to Judaism and Christianity. For more information go here.
For those in the “New Testament Issues” class discussing the NPP I thought I’d repost this link from my own blog. It is a discussion by Daniel Wallace on N.T. Wright’s reading of “the righteousness of God” in Romans. Go here.
The second part of my review of Joel Green’s Body, Soul, and Human Life gives a quick summary of the books main arguments. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Having established his basic framework for understanding humanity, Green then turns his attention to three areas of convergence between neuroscience and biblical hermeneutics that support and explain his position. First, Green considers human free will. Looking to the sciences, he argues that human behavior is constrained by physical, psychological, and environmental factors, among others, making it impossible for us to have ‘free will’ in the popular sense. He finds a similar picture in the biblical portrayal of sin as a power that traps and shapes human persons such that they are unable to act ‘freely’. Green points to a similar convergence in how we should understand salvation. In possibly the most novel contribution of the book, Green looks at the nature of conversion, salvation, and sanctification, arguing that all three must be viewed, both scientifically and biblically, as embodied realities. Green takes us on a quick tour of the neurophysiology of change in the human brain before showing how the conversion narratives of Luke/Acts emphasize the embodied nature of Christian salvation. The third convergence addresses how we understand the resurrection. Here Green argues that neither the Old nor New Testaments should be understood as teaching that there is an intermediate, disembodied state that occurs between death and resurrection. Instead, both affirm that humans are physical beings who cease to exist at death and are raised to new life in the future with no conscious awareness of any intervening time. Continuous personal identity (i.e. what establishes that it really is me who is raised in the future) is grounded in narrative and relationship, rather than the continuous existence of an immaterial soul.
I’m writing a review of Joel Green’s book Body, Soul, and Human Life for JETS and I thought you might find it interesting. So, I’m going to post it here in a several pieces. I’d be interested in hearing any comments/questions you have about the review or the book.
What do neuroscience and biblical hermeneutics have to do with one another? As Joel Green’s new book demonstrates, they both provide vital perspectives on what it means to be human. Indeed, Green argues that no adequate theological anthropology can be done without paying attention to both of these disciplines. To this end, Green focuses in this book on “neuro-hermeneutics”—that is, understanding the human person by identifying the surprising areas of agreement between neuroscience and biblical hermeneutics.
Throughout Green argues that traditional (i.e. dualist) anthropologies need substantial revision. The growing consensus that the Bible portrays the human person as a holistic, physical being and the growing scientific evidence that all aspects of human existence—including the psychological, social, and spiritual—are grounded in human physicality both require, according to Green, that we understand human persons as entirely physical beings. Rather than trying to ground human uniqueness in the possession of an immortal and immaterial soul, Green contends that human uniqueness lies exclusively in their covenantal relationship with God (imago Dei).
What do you think? Have you spent much time reflecting on the dualism/physicalism question? Green is correct that nearly all biblical scholars view the Bible as emphasizing the holistic nature of human life, and modern science certainly presses us to appreciate that every aspect of human existence is connected to and influenced by our physicality. Does this mean that we need to reject dualism as a viable way of understanding the human person?
I think I’ve made it clear that I’m not the biggest Bart Ehrman fan on the planet. Nonetheless, if you want to understand how many non-Christian scholars read and understand the Bible, you can’t find a much better starting point. NPR yesterday had a nice 40 min. interview with Ehrman focusing on his most recent book, Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know about Them). The title pretty much says it all. Nonetheless, the interview gives you an interesting look at who Ehrman is, how he thinks, and how he (and many others) view the Bible. Unlike most people who criticize the Bible for its many contradictions, though, Ehrman has at least read it, and read it thoroughly. If you have a spare half hour, it is well worth a listen.
If you are following the debate that has taken place regarding the ‘New Perspective’ on Paul (how long before new is no longer new?), you are aware that a while back John Piper wrote The Future of Justification: A Response to N.T. Wright that made a bit of a stir. Well, N.T. Wright is coming out with a book that responds to many of his critics, but to Piper’s book in particular. If you would like to see more, Michael Bird has a nice summary on his blog.
-Submitted by Howie Smith
I stumbled upon this quiz today through one of the blogs I subscribe to. The author of the quiz is Scot McKnight, whom I have developed a respect for as someone who engages in discussion that is typically profound and productive.
Like many of these magazine quizzes (admit it, you’ve taken a quiz from Cosmo before), there is a lot of room for error. You may disagree with the end label you are given. However, I found that the process of taking the quiz made me ask a lot of questions. Coming up with an answer typically made me ask myself some hard questions. I discovered some of my own tendencies. I’m interested to hear other’s thoughts.
Once this is posted, I will put my score and comments in the comments section. Please do the same and it will be very interesting to discuss our hermeneutical differences and similarities.