Skip to main content

Love is NOT all you need

Richard Hays in The Moral Vision of the New Testament, (p202)  gives three reasons why "love" is inadequate as a unifying theme for NT ethics (and by implication why it is inadequate for ethics today).

1.  Mark, Acts, Hebrews, and Revelation "resist any attempt to sythesze their moral visions by employing love as a focal image . . . Despite the powerful theological uses to which the motif of love is put by Paul and John, that motif cannot serve as the common denominator for New Testament Ethics."  Instead Hays suggests "community, cross and new creation."

2.  "What the New testament means by love is embodied in the concretely in the cross."  and so to treat love apart from the cross is to result in "conceptual abstraction, away from the specific image of the cross."

3.  "The term ["love"] has become debased in popular discourse; it has lost its power of discrimination, having become a cover for all manner of vapid self indulgence."  "We can recover the power of love only by insisting that love's meaning is to be discovered in the New Testament's story of Jesus - therefore, in the cross."

So who do you believe, Hays or the Beatles?

Comments

  1. Hmmm...I guess I'm not sure I understand how love cannot be seen as adequate to unify NT ethics.

    For instance, "community" without love is little more than a mob; the cross, unless motivated by love, was pointless; a new creation not characterized by love will degenerate as the old one.

    As far as ethics proper go, I guess I'd have to read the book to see how Hays thinks the cross and "new creation" impacts ethics.

    Clarification?

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

That one time Jesus got the Bible wrong

It's so typical isn't it? You are preaching all day long, training your disciples, sparring with the Pharisees, encouraging the poor and down trodden, healing the sick and casting out demons, all day, day after day, and even when you go up a mountain to get a rest the crowds hunt you down and follow you up, and then the one time you get a bit muddled up with some of the details of a biblical text . . . that is the one they write down in the first gospel - verbatim. At least Matthew and Luke had the good sense to do some editing. But Mark, he always had his eye on giving the public the "historical Jesus" whoever that is supposed to be . . . warts and all. Thanks a lot Mark!

Some think I made the mistake on purpose, just to show the Pharisees up.

For some there is no mistake worth mentioning, only a slightly ambiguous turn of phrase.

Others think I am doing something tricky with Abiathar's name, getting him to figuratively stand in for the priesthood.

It really has…

Thor Ragnarok and Parihaka: Postcolonial Apocalypse

Thor: Ragnarok is a riot of colour, sound, violence, humour, sci-fi and fantasy. As a piece of entertainment it is the best Marvel has produced so far. As in many of Taika Waititi's films the plot often seems secondary to the humour and a number of quirky moments seemed only to serve for a quick giggle. I left the theatre overwhelmed by the sensory experience, but ultimately unimpressed by any deeper meaning.

It wasn't until the second morning after my trip to the movies that I woke to the realisation that the movie could function as a profound postcolonial metaphor (I do some of my best thinking while alseep, also it can take me a while for the penny to drop). Unfortunately a quick google showed me that I was neither the first, nor the second to have this thought.

[Spoiler Alert!]

It's easy to miss with all the other stuff going on but Thor undergoes a postcolonial awakening during the film as he slowly realises that his beloved Asgard and its dominion of the nine realms …

Dale Martin does Mark

Dale Martin is an important and frequently controversial NT scholar. Those of us who can't make it to Yale to hear him teach can access some of his lectures, in fact his entire introduction to the NT course, through the magic of the internet.

Here he is holding forth on Mark . . .