The Historical Character of Christianity

The uniqueness and the scandal of the Christian religion rests on the mediation of revelation through historical events. Christianity is not just a code for living or a philosophy of religion. It is rooted in real events of history. To some people this is scandalous because it means the truth of Christianity is inexplicably bound up with the truth of certain historical facts. And if those facts should be disproved, Christianity would be false. This, however, is what makes Christianity unique because, unlike other world religions, modern man has a means of actually verifying Christianity’s truth by historical evidence.

George E. Ladd, I Believe in the Resurrection (Downers Grove: Eerdmans, 1975), quoted in Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?: A Debate Between William Lane Craig and John Dominic Crossan (Baker, 1998), p. 24 [im not sure which book this page number is from…]


Michael Gorman on the narrative character of Paul’s letters

Referring to a letter as ‘narrative’ in character may at first seem odd. But a close inspection of Paul’s letters reveals that he is always telling stories, no matter how brief they may be – stories about God in Christ, about himself, about his relationship with the recipients and their reception of the gospel, about the life within the community, and so on. In his letters there is a three-way intersection of God’s story, Paul’s story, and the recipients’ story. Indeed, the intent of a Pauline letter seems to be both to rehearse the past and to guide the future of this ‘triangular relationship,’ this three-way intersection of personal narratives.

This confluence of narratives is, to be sure, really one narrative – the story of God’s saving power experienced in one particular community with the assistance of one particular apostle and his coworkers. A letter from Paul says, ‘This story is not over.’ As we examine the various Pauline letters, therefore, we need always to be attentive to both the past and the (hoped-for) future of this triangular narrative relationship. There is always a story behind the letter, as well as one taking shape within it. 

 Michael J. Gorman, Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2004): 75-6

G.B. Caird on Interpreting the Kingdom of God

In the Old Testament, God is eternally king; in a more limited sense, he is king over Israel in so far as, within the covenant bond, Israel acknowledges his royal authority; and in a third sense, his reign belongs to the eschatological future. How often have we been told that it is only in this third sense that the New Testament speaks of the kingdom? Even then there are further restrictions to be made. Is the kingdom present or future? Is it a reign or a realm? Is it a state of mind or a state of affairs? The very fact that these questions can be asked at all should be sufficient indication that it is all these things and more besides. The kingdom of God in the teaching of Jesus is a many-sided concept, and only the context can tell us which aspect of it was uppermost in his mind at any one time. In particular, the classification of the kingdom as an eschatological concept does not sever its connection with history and politics or diminish the unique role which Israel was expected to play in the realization of God’s world-wide sovereignty.

George B. Caird, ‘Eschatology and Politics: Some Misconceptions,’ in Johnston R. McKay and James F. Miller (eds.), Biblical Studies: Essays in Honour of William Barclay (St James Place, London: Collins, 1976): 81

Ben Meyer on Bernard Lonergan’s Transcendental Method

Nothing characterizes transcendenal method so much as its irreducibility to ‘method’ as Gadamer uses the term, namely, to signify technical efforts devised to secure a closed circuit of control. Transcendental method refers primarily to the spontaneous self-assembling structure of human intentionality; secondarily, to the detailed objectification of this structure. In the primary sense, then, this ‘method,’ so far from being in tension with ‘truth,’ is a condition of the possibility of truth. At the same time, it is well called ‘method,’ for it is not only itself methodical in the sense of producing progressive and cumulative results, it is also the core of all successful particular methods. Even those who might bridle at the term ‘transcendental method’ practice it whenever their work proceeds intelligently and effectively. To that extent, it is clear that transcendental method introduces nothing new, i.e., no new, hitherto inoperative kind of act. It is, rather, a heightening of consciousness, a new attentiveness to and understanding of acts that have always been in operation. But the effects of this heightening of consciousness are not to be overlooked. They include new sureness and precision in dealing, for example, with hermeneutical issues. The challenge, then, is to appropriate in fully conscious fashion the sequence of wonder, inquiry, insight, judgement, decision already at work in ourselves.

Ben F. Meyer, ‘Conversion and the Hermeneutics of Consent’, Ex Auditu 1 (1985): pp.44-45