GLOBAL INTERPRETATIONS OF CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES March 21 2011
Today • Introduction. • Ben Pflederer (Ecclesiastes) • Mark Well (Haggai)
NEXT WEEK Mar. 28 • DISCUSSION OF PARTS 1-2 a & bOF THE PAPERS How does each compare with the corresponding GBC chapters? • Pretty Please! By Thursday NOON On time to me and your respondent! • SONG OF SONGS Lakendra Scott • Respondent: Erin Higgins • GALATIANS Adesewa Adelekun • Respondent: Anna Leigh Keith • JOB Erin Higgins • Respondent: Wendy Aluoch
-PART I A of Paper- YOUR LIFE CONTEXT AND THE TEXT • a) Introduction: Identifying the Life-Context in which the Biblical Book Is Interpreted. • How does your life-context compare with (differ from) the life context of the GBC commentary on the same book? • b) Analyzing the Life Context, its Problems and the Theological Issues it Raises Regarding the Relationship between the People of God and World. The Contextual and Theological Questions that focus • = your analysis of this life situation • 1) Nature of the problem • 2) Root problem • 3) the kind of teaching needed from the Scriptural text • How does your analysis of your life-context compare with (differ from) the life context of the GBC commentary on the same book?
-PART I A of Paper- 2) Further ANALYZING THE PROBLEM that Christian Believers need to address Dialectic text/context • Learning from the Biblical Book about Your context • a) from the perspective of the given biblical book, is my original identification of the primaryaspect of the believers’ life where this problem is correct? Or does it need adjustment? • b) from the perspective of the given biblical book: How are the contextual questions/problems found in this life-context sharpened or even changed? Is the identification of the ROOT problem appropriate? • Learning from Your context about the Biblical Book • c) from the perspective of this life-context,how is the reading of the biblical text focused on specific aspects of the text? What are the features/aspects of the biblical text that become particularly important?
-PART I A of Paper- 2) ANALYZING THE PROBLEM Christian Believers need to address (2) • d) Is this an issue: Concerning inculturation approach? Concerning social and justice problems (liberation approach)? Concerning the relationship between Christians and other groups in society, including other religions (inter(con)textual approach)? Concerning the sanctification/sacralization of the world (sacramental/liturgical/religious experience approach). • e) Consequently, what is (are) the main theme(s) of the biblical text upon which the interpretation needs to be focused? • f) What is the primary root-problem A lack of (wrong) A) KNOWLEDGE? B) ABILITY? C) WILL? D) FAITH/VISION or IDEOLOGY?
-PART I B of Paper- Tentatively Formulating the Teaching • What is the teaching from this biblical book that WOULD address this problem? • a) The main teaching of this Scriptural text needed to address this problem • b) View of the Theme • c) Role of Scripture
PART II OF PAPER • Part II A 5% Analysis of the Text I:an Overall Presentation of the Biblical Book; locate the most significant passages or features to address the above problem • Part II B 40% Analysis of the Text II: • 1) an analysis of each significant passage; highlighting its most meaningful features (using one or more scholarly interpretations or commentaries on this text) • 2) comments (based on scholarly studies) on the way each significant passage addresses or fails to address the issues concerning the relationship between people of God and the world outlined above. • How are these refining the tentative formulation of the teaching?
ECCLESIASTESBen Plederer • Respondent: Iris Ankrom • Respondent: Matt Calderwood • Lakendra Scott • Adesewa Adelekun • Arlonzo Williams • Anna Leigh Keith
Ben Pflederer: Ecclessiastes • Key Theme: Purpose of life or lack thereof • Including one’s relationship to God. • Two variants to keep in mind • Purpose of life: where is it centered? • In autonomous mode of existence • In relational mode of existence • In hetoronomous mode of existence
Ecclesiastes, CDC Crenshaw • responds to a collapsed moral order by denying that human existence has any meaning. “Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, all is vanity,” there is a time for everything. • A thematic statement about life’s futility begins and ends the reflections, and poems that follow and precede create a chiastic structure. By (the unknown) Qoheleth “a teacher of wisdom” reaching out to ordinary people • a Hellenistic period (c250 bce) characterized by multitiered government, economic entrepreneurial ventures, and rapidly changing fortune. (Solomonic authorship is fictional to legitimize unorthodox views) • death cancels everything; wisdom cannot achieve its goal; the deity is unknowable; the world is amoral; and pleasure commends itself. • His apparent coolness toward a distant deity vexed some readers –hence the epilogue’s orthodox advice: fear God and keep the Ten Commandments. • Early church fathers valued the book for its depiction of existence without Christ
We Necessarily Have 3 modes of Existence Our individual life: Autonomy Our life in relation with others in social networks & community: Relationality Our religious, mystical, “in love,” proprioceptive experience(s) (ranging from infant-mother to mystical experience) Heteronomy Autonomy-Relationality-Heteronomy: 3 modes of existence
Autonomy-Relationality-Heteronomy: • Coakley, Sarah. “Kenosis and subversion,” pp. 82-111 in Daphne Hampson, ed. Swallowing a Fishbone? Feminist Theologians Debate Christianity. London: SPCK, 1996. • Grenholm, Cristina, Motherhood and Love: Finding Space for Thought Beyond the Gendered Stereotypes of Theology. Grand Rapids, Mi: Eerdsman, 2011 • Hampson, Daphne. “On Autonomy and Heteronomy” pp. 1-16 in Daphne Hampson, ed. Swallowing a Fishbone? Feminist Theologians Debate Christianity. London: SPCK, 1996.
Three modes of existence; each can be the center that gives PURPOSE TO LIFE • Autonomy-Centered = Individual-Centered Life = “I” am in control … And if not I do not have any purpose to my existence • Relational Life and HeteronomousLife are shaped and defined by individuals • Relationality-Centered = Community/Society CenteredLife = “the community” is in control … And if not we do not have any purpose to our existence • Individual Life and Heteronomous Life are shaped and defined by Community/Society • Heteronomy-Centered = Religious Experience Centered Life = acknowledging that neither “I” nor “we” are in control (vunerable)… purpose of life is a mystery; apophatic; abandoning oneself to a mysterious “God” • Individual Life and Relational Life are shaped and defined by Religious Experience (including Absence of & Negative Religious Experience)
God, Christian Views of: A Historical Overview CDC (Capetz) • In Christian belief, “God” is the (common) name for the sole reality deserving of human worship. • Many names in the Bible and languages used by church • one real deity =monotheism following Judaism • Vs polytheistic religion • God = the ultimate power that created the world, sustains and rules over it • God’s special concern is humankind, created in God’s own image • God is the judge of human failings as well as the redeemer realigning persons to the divine purposes for them. • all of God’s creatures exist ultimately for the sake of glorifying their maker.
God, Christian Views of: A Historical Overview CDC (Capetz) • appropriation of Greek philosophy • Against Christian dualists (Gnostics – Good God vs Evil God) and pagans reaffirmation of monotheism as rationally superior and God as a transcendent metaphysical reality • In tension with biblical anthropomorphism • Impassivity vs compassion • Timeless vs intervening in an evolving history • Absolute simplicity vs complexity of a complex person (Trinity) • Before the Enlightenment, nevertheless God is known through revelation first of all (in Scriptures) and only secondarily through reason.
God, Christian Views of: A Historical Overview CDC (Capetz) • With modern natural science , loss of the philosophical assumption that all rational persons naturally believe in the existence of one God • So agnosticism and atheism • Theodicy issue (Leibniz, 1710) = God + justice: • how can God be just if God is omnipotent and totally good and yet allows humankind, whom God has created in God’s image, to suffer? • Answer Thomas Aquinas (Tillich, etc.): God is beyond the spatiotemporal world and cannot be judged by spacio-temporal categories • Job, Paul (Rom 11:33-35) = acknowledging the “mystery” of God (beyond reason!): abandons conventional notions of omnipotence
God, Christian Views of: A Historical Overview CDC (Capetz) • So theologians explore alternative ways of making Christian religious convictions intelligible to the wider culture. • belief in God is important for sustaining moral agency and existential meaning even if it bears little relation to scientific explanations of the non-human world. = limited to the autonomous mode of existence relation to God (heteronomy) • historical-critical study of biblical and other religious traditions underscores the essential role of human creativity in generating ideas about God throughout history. New awareness that traditional beliefs about God are subject to critique and revision in the light of new questions arising in different cultural and religious contexts. = emphasizing the relational/cultural mode of existence as related to God (heteronomy) • Process theology emphasizes God’s goodness, luring the world toward God without coercion. • Completely giving up on Greek categories defining God as the omnipotent, omniscient, and good = projection of the absolute
HAGGAI Mark Wells • Respondent: Annie Wong • Respondent: Basye Holland • Wendy Aluoch • Taylor Schomp • Chance Dillon • Anna McReynold • Erin Higgins
Haggai Mark Wells (CDC) Beth Glazier-McDonald • a Minor Prophet, blames drought and deprivation on the people’s failure to rebuild the Temple after their return from exile, urges the reconstruction of God’s house, the seat of YHWH’s life-giving presence (1:4–11), and anticipates both renewed prosperity (2:6–9) and the restoration of Davidic (messianic) kingship (2:23). • During the reign of the Persian king Darius I in 520 bce, when Zerubbabel was governor and Joshua was high priest (Ezra 5:1–2). • Like other prophets, Haggai addresses the connection between sin and judgment: a responsive turning to God elicits God’s turning to the community with blessing (2:16–19) rather than curse. • For Haggai, the restoration of the Temple echo beyond Israel (2:19) to affect world events, (2:21–22). Judah will be independent once again, ruled by Zerubbabel, the “signet,” the medium through which God’s authority will be exercised. • Early church fathers emphasized typological connections with Zerubbabel, e.g. pointing to Christ and his signet, reflecting Christ’s authority and power as king.
Haggai Mark Wells and Marriage (CDC) • Marriage in Eastern Orthodoxy. = sacrament of holy matrimony: reflect Christ’s union of love with his church = a “temple” • Marriage in Western Church : Church ceremony only since the 11th century; follow cultural patterns • free consent, sexual fidelity, and indissolubility throughout. • Sacrament In Catholic Church = making manifest the presence of God • Not In The Protestant Churches Best expressed in terms of “covenant”
Marriage • Autonomy : one to one relationship • Relational: one-to-one relationship FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS IN THE COMMUNITY • Heteronomy: marriage as sacrament; one-to-one relationship = temple of God and for the sake of others.
Marriage = a 1 to 1 relationship part of community relationship