Posts Tagged ‘N. T. Wright’

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Derek Vreeland menționează în rezumatul său și interpretarea ce la noi a născut de curând câteva discuții.
Probabil și stimatul frate a citit cartea lui Wright și a inserat în predică „noutatea” asta, fără să-l citeze neapărat pe Wright, adăugându-și propria contribuție pentru a fi original.
Zic și eu. Nu de alta, însă mi s-a mai întâmplat sa fiu cu cineva la amvon și să-l ascult pe respectivul, gândindu-mă unde am mai auzit predica asta și amintindu-mi că era de la Pustan 100%. Schimba doar câteva nuanțe. Când Pustan vorbea despre sine, el spunea…”știu un frate care”…

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Wright argues persuasively for a rereading of key passages in Romans and Galatians, particularly in how we understand what is commonly translated “faith in Jesus Christ.” In Romans 3 Paul writes, “The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction.” [13]The question is should we translate this “faith in Jesus Christ” or the “faithfulness of Jesus Christ?” The Greek phrase does not contain a preposition. The Greek word pistis can be translated “faith” or “faithfulness.” Is Jesus the object or the subject of this Greek phrase? If Jesus is the object, then we should translate it “faith in Jesus;” he would be the object of our action. If Jesus is the subject of the phrase, then we should translate this phrase “faithfulness of Jesus,” with faithfulness describing something of the character of Jesus. Wright argues for a reading of this verse with Jesus as the subject. He writes, “The faithfulness which was required of Israel, but not provided, has now been provided by Israel’s representative, the Messiah.” [14] Part of the challenge of interpreting scripture includes wrestling to translate individual verses in a way that is faithful to the author’s intent. Where the specific verse is not clear, the best solution is to look at the verse in context.Wright backs up to Romans 2:24-29. This text sets the context for our interpretive question in Romans 3:22. The context is a question itself as we saw above: Who is a Jew? Paul answers: “No one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.” [15]
(mai mult…)

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Paul’s worldview shaped his theology, that is, what he believed about God, God’s people, and God’s future. When we explore his theology we begin to see his world view in vivid detail. These two are inseparable. In Wright’s words, worldview and theology are connected “in a chicken-and-egg sort of way, as opposed to a fish-and-chips sort of way.” Which comes first worldview or theology? This question reveals the interdependence of these two.

Derek Vreeland, Through the Eyes of N.T. Wright: A Reader’s Guide to Paul and the Faithfulness of God, Kindle Edition

With this as our framework, we should be able to read right through John and discern what he is actually doing. His Jesus is a combination of the living Word of the Old Testament, the Shekinah of Jewish hope (God’s tabernacling presence in the Temple), and “wisdom,” which in some key Jewish writings was the personal self-expression of the creator God, coming to dwell with humans and particularly with Israel (see Wis. 7; Sir. 24). But this Jesus is no mere ideal, a fictional figure cunningly combining ancient theological motifs. John’s Jesus is alive; he moves from one vivid scene to another, in far more realistic dialogue with far more realistic secondary characters than in most of the synoptic gospels. In particular, he goes again and again to Jerusalem, not least for various festivals—but in each case he appears to trump the festival itself, declaring at the Festival of Tabernacles that he is the one who provides the real living water (John 7), at Hanukkah that he is the true (royal) shepherd, and ultimately at the final Passover that he has overcome the world and its ruler, like YHWH himself overthrowing Pharaoh in Egypt, in order to liberate his people once and for all. John describes Jesus not only as the Temple in person, but as the one in whom everything that would normally happen in the Temple is fulfilled, completed, accomplished. That is why, in the incomparable final discourses of chapters 13–17, generations of readers have had a sense of entering the real Temple, the place where Jesus promises, as God promised in the ancient scriptures, to be with his people and they with him, climaxing in the prayer of chapter 17, which has often, with good reason, been called the High-Priestly Prayer. All the functions of the Temple—festival, presence, priesthood, and now sacrifice—have devolved onto Jesus. This is the heart of John’s “high Christology.”

How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels by N. T. Wright

When we find the Greek phrase zoe aionios in the gospels (and indeed in the New Testament letters), and when it is regularly translated as “eternal life” or “everlasting life,” people have naturally assumed that this concept of “eternity” is the right way to understand it. “God so loved the world,” reads the famous text in the King James Version of John 3:16, “that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” There we are, think average Christian readers. This is the biblical promise of a timeless heavenly bliss. But it isn’t. In the many places where the phrase zoe aionios appears in the gospels, and in Paul’s letters for that matter, it refers to one aspect of an ancient Jewish belief about how time was divided up. In this viewpoint, there were two “aions” (we sometimes use the word “eon” in that sense): the “present age,” ha-olam hazeh in Hebrew, and the “age to come,” ha-olam ha-ba. The “age to come,” many ancient Jews believed, would arrive one day to bring God’s justice, peace, and healing to the world as it groaned and toiled within the “present age.” You can see Paul, for instance, referring to this idea in Galatians 1:4, where he speaks of Jesus giving himself for our sins “to rescue us from the present evil age.” In other words, Jesus has inaugurated, ushered in, the “age to come.” But there is no sense that this “age to come” is “eternal” in the sense of being outside space, time, and matter. Far from it. The ancient Jews were creational monotheists. For them, God’s great future purpose was not to rescue people out of the world, but to rescue the world itself, people included, from its present state of corruption and decay.
If we reframe our thinking within this setting, the phrase zoe aionios will refer to “the life of the age,” in other words, “the life of the age to come.” When in Luke the rich young ruler asks Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (18:18, NRSV), he isn’t asking how to go to heaven when he dies. He is asking about the new world that God is going to usher in, the new era of justice, peace, and freedom God has promised his people. And he is asking, in particular, how he can be sure that when God does all this, he will be part of those who inherit the new world, who share its life. This is why, in my own new translation of the New Testament, Luke 18:18 reads, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit the life of the age to come?” Likewise, John 3:16 ends not with “have everlasting life” (KJV), but “share in the life of God’s new age.”

How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels by N. T. Wright