Thursday, February 28, 2013

Returning to Paul's Vision in 2 Cor 12



Mystic or Sarcastic? Visions and Revelations in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.  Part 1


Many moons ago I suggested that the account of Paul's vision in 2 Corinthians 12 might not be 100% sincere but may in fact have been sarcasm or irony. At the end of last year I revisited this idea with a paper for ANZABS (Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Biblical Studies) and have become more convinced that this reading deserves consideration. The argument is far from complete at present. I suggest research needs to be done into the use of irony in Greek rhetoric and into accounts of visions in contemporary literature, and my own exegetical work is only cursory, however my hunch is that this further work would serve to confirm my thesis.



The question arose for me whilst researching 1 Corinthians a couple of years ago when I came across an article by Jorunn Økland, a Norwegian theologian at the university of Oslo. She compared  Paul’s understanding of the self in 1 Cor 15 with that of 2 Cor 12 and commented. “2 Corinthians 12 presents us with the nice taxonomies and sorted worldviews of 1 Corinthians 15 starting to dissolve and collapse when confronted with Paul's own boundary breaking experience. For how can Paul - and modern interpreters - mediate and negotiate his experience within the parameters of the taxonomy that the experience exceeds?" *

If this Paul had this incredible experience 14 years ago, how is it that he did not incorporate it into his anthropology and cosmology of 1 Corinthians? My studies in  1 Corinthians had convinced me of Paul’s commitment to somatic Christianity, rooted in physical reality, relationships and ethics of bodily life – this passage seemed to undermine that with its description of a potentially out-of-body experience. Surely when Paul was writing 1 Corinthians this extraordinary experience should left its mark on his theology? What could be a reason for this inconsistency? One possible reason would be that Paul did not have such a vision as 2 Cor 12 describes, but he is in fact using irony to mock his opponents. I will develop my argument for this in subsequent posts but for now I simply want to point out how unlike any of Paul's other recounted spiritual experiences is the vision of 2 Cor 12.

* Økland, Jorunn, “Genealogies of the Self: Materiality, Personal Identity, and the Body in Paul's Letters to the Corinthians” in Metamorphoses: Resurrection, Body and Transformative Practices in Early Christianity, Seim & Økland (eds), (New York, Walter de Gruyter, 2009) 83-108, p101

Strange Book the Bible

An impression gradually emerged that when all is said and done, many of the arguments and reconstructions are interesting, but in order to understand what the Jesus of history was all about we ultimately have to step back and try to grapple with the gist of the accounts, to find the impressions Jesus left on his followers and try to recover why they got those impressions. If we waste our time like some (but not all) text critics have done, pulling each phrase out of context and stitching them all back together like some kidnapper’s ransom note, we’ll never reach the more interesting and, arguably, more attainable goal of seeing the bigger picture. - See more at: http://undeception.com/jesus-criteria-and-the-demise-of-authenticity-review/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Undeception+%28Undeception%29&utm_content=Google+Reader#sthash.4Gm2kpj4.dpuf
An impression gradually emerged that when all is said and done, many of the arguments and reconstructions are interesting, but in order to understand what the Jesus of history was all about we ultimately have to step back and try to grapple with the gist of the accounts, to find the impressions Jesus left on his followers and try to recover why they got those impressions. If we waste our time like some (but not all) text critics have done, pulling each phrase out of context and stitching them all back together like some kidnapper’s ransom note, we’ll never reach the more interesting and, arguably, more attainable goal of seeing the bigger picture. - See more at: http://undeception.com/jesus-criteria-and-the-demise-of-authenticity-review/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Undeception+%28Undeception%29&utm_content=Google+Reader#sthash.4Gm2kpj4.dpuf
An impression gradually emerged that when all is said and done, many of the arguments and reconstructions are interesting, but in order to understand what the Jesus of history was all about we ultimately have to step back and try to grapple with the gist of the accounts, to find the impressions Jesus left on his followers and try to recover why they got those impressions. If we waste our time like some (but not all) text critics have done, pulling each phrase out of context and stitching them all back together like some kidnapper’s ransom note, we’ll never reach the more interesting and, arguably, more attainable goal of seeing the bigger picture. - See more at: http://undeception.com/jesus-criteria-and-the-demise-of-authenticity-review/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Undeception+%28Undeception%29&utm_content=Google+Reader#sthash.4Gm2kpj4.dpuf

Some thought provoking posts on Bible reading and ambiguity, problems and fuzziness from:

Ben Myers 

In authoring scripture, Origen argues, God has deliberately planted all sorts of interpretive obstacles: problems, difficulties, mistakes, morally objectionable stories, and so forth. These manifold obstacles lead us to press beneath the surface of the text and to search more deeply for its spiritual meaning. Such spiritual exegesis isn't just a scholarly technique. It requires ascetic purification, the spiritual transformation of the reader. So the problems in scripture – the same problems which Marcion takes as proof of divine wickedness – are planted there by God to lead us into the depths of spiritual life, just as a wise teacher might plant mistakes in a class discussion in order to lead the class, gently and unobtrusively, towards the truth. 
 
Jonathan Martin

The interesting thing for me is that I didn’t learn to embrace the ambiguity and complexity from television or contemporary storytelling in any form—I honestly believe I got it from reading the Bible since I was very young. Scripture is as undomesticated as the Spirit who breathed it, and thus is full of tensions that will not and should not be prematurely or easily resolved, if resolved at all.  When the story of your faith is mediated through texts that tell of Jacob, Moses, David, and Peter, and yet bears witness to the reality of God, you will either gloss over the texts or learn to live with a certain amount of tension.

Steve Douglas

An impression gradually emerged that when all is said and done, many of the arguments and reconstructions are interesting, but in order to understand what the Jesus of history was all about we ultimately have to step back and try to grapple with the gist of the accounts, to find the impressions Jesus left on his followers and try to recover why they got those impressions. If we waste our time like some (but not all) text critics have done, pulling each phrase out of context and stitching them all back together like some kidnapper’s ransom note, we’ll never reach the more interesting and, arguably, more attainable goal of seeing the bigger picture. 
Check out the full posts!
sion gradually emerged that when all is said and done, many of the arguments and reconstructions are interesting, but in order to understand what the Jesus of history was all about we ultimately have to step back and try to grapple with the gist of the accounts, to find the impressions Jesus left on his followers and try to recover why they got those impressions. If we waste our time like some (but not all) text critics have done, pulling each phrase out of context and stitching them all back together like some kidnapper’s ransom note, we’ll never reach the more interesting and, arguably, more attainable goal of seeing the bigger picture. - See more at: http://undeception.com/jesus-criteria-and-the-demise-of-authenticity-review/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Undeception+%28Undeception%29&utm_content=Google+Reader#sthash.4Gm2kpj4.dpuf
An impression gradually emerged that when all is said and done, many of the arguments and reconstructions are interesting, but in order to understand what the Jesus of history was all about we ultimately have to step back and try to grapple with the gist of the accounts, to find the impressions Jesus left on his followers and try to recover why they got those impressions. If we waste our time like some (but not all) text critics have done, pulling each phrase out of context and stitching them all back together like some kidnapper’s ransom note, we’ll never reach the more interesting and, arguably, more attainable goal of seeing the bigger picture. - See more at: http://undeception.com/jesus-criteria-and-the-demise-of-authenticity-review/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Undeception+%28Undeception%29&utm_content=Google+Reader#sthash.4Gm2kpj4.dpuf
An impression gradually emerged that when all is said and done, many of the arguments and reconstructions are interesting, but in order to understand what the Jesus of history was all about we ultimately have to step back and try to grapple with the gist of the accounts, to find the impressions Jesus left on his followers and try to recover why they got those impressions. If we waste our time like some (but not all) text critics have done, pulling each phrase out of context and stitching them all back together like some kidnapper’s ransom note, we’ll never reach the more interesting and, arguably, more attainable goal of seeing the bigger picture. - See more at: http://undeception.com/jesus-criteria-and-the-demise-of-authenticity-review/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Undeception+%28Undeception%29&utm_content=Google+Reader#sthash.4Gm2kpj4.dpuf

Dealing with spam comments

Over the last few months I have had a veritable torrent of spam comments, 10s a day and as my blogging time is rather limited these days that meant I often had a big heap in my inbox. For a while google was doing a good job moving them to spam automatically but this month it stopped and all the spam just came landed in a soggy heap on my blog. I don't like to moderate comments as it means I hold up conversations if I am not checking the blog regularly and those silly type the word and prove you are not a computer boxes are a pain in the arse so I didn't want to inflict those on you. However by disallowing anonymous comments I seem to have stopped the spam dead in its tracks without inflicting unnecessary annoyance to genuine commentors. You are welcome . . . just call me sheriff JR.

The only downside is that those genuine comments (often in defense of Charles Stanley's preaching) that are anonymous are no longer permitted. Which is a shame, because I love baiting people with no name. ;-)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Same Sex Marriage

Some of the faculty from Carey Baptist College get stuck into this thorny issue.

Carey Conversation on Same Sex Marriage from Carey Baptist College on Vimeo.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ministry Beards

Don't know who made this, but it is very good and nearly comprehensive, although my own facial folical configuration is missing, answers on a postcard or in the comments please. Click to embiggen.