Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tom Wright on Easter

Here's one I missed over Easter, but it's linked on the N. T. Wright Page, from The Guardian's weekly Face to Faith column:

Face to faith
In these troubled times, Easter's message of resurrection is a powerful one, says Tom Wright

A couple of features of interest for academic NT geeks:
We reflect on, and mourn, the ruin of the world and the folly of humankind. We look in the mirror and see our own shame and sin. And then we contemplate Jesus's suffering and death at the heart of the whole thing: the place where the arrogance of empire, the frenzy of religion and the betrayal of friends all rush together and do their worst.
Notice how central the motif of empire is becoming in Wright's thinking, and not just in discussion of Paul (cf. the fresh perspective on Paul and Empire). Also notice:
That's why the Easter stories tumble out in bits and pieces, with breathless chasings to and fro and garbled reports - and then, stories like nothing else before or since. As the great New Testament scholar EP Sanders put it, the writers were trying to describe an experience that does not fit a known category. They knew all about ghosts and visions, and they knew it wasn't anything like that.
I like the characterization of Sanders, whom I once described in print as "the greatest living New Testament scholar", though I don't think he would be so keen on the sentence that follows here, about ghosts and visions, which is pure Wright.

1 comment:

Steven Carr said...

'They knew all about ghosts and visions, and they knew it wasn't anything like that'

If the apostles could distinguish between reality and visions, then why does Acts depict so many people acting upon the contents of a vision?

Are the stories like nothing before or since?

Presumably the appearing and disappearing of Jesus has nothing whatever in common with Philip disappearing and appearing in Acts.

And the story of Jesus ascending to Heaven has nothing in common with Elijah ascending to Heaven.