Monday, November 22, 2004

Audio lectures

In the last few days I have been discovering the joys of downloading theology lectures and listening to them. Listening to people talk is so much less work than reading articles!

My favourite talk is James Dunn and Tom Wright “An Evening conversation on Jesus and Paul” - available here (both of their talks last ~30 minutes and are ~7MB). Dunn and Wright are probably the two best Pauline scholars of the last millennia and a half so it's quite fascinating to hear them chat about exactly what they agree and do not agree upon and why. This is not so much a lecture as a chat in front of an audience, and the discussion should be comprehensible and insightful even to non-scholars.

Particularly intriguing to me is their dispute over “faith of/in Christ”. Dunn opts for “faith in Christ” (our own faith, in Christ) while Wright opts for “faith of Christ” (Christ's own faith, in God). Both give reasonable arguments against the other's position.... supporting my opinion that they are both wrong.

In my opinion, the correct reading is that we need to have the faith of Christ. ie. faith like Christ's. This agrees with Dunn's argument that “pistis Chrisou” (faith of/in Christ) appears to something we have. And it agrees with Wright's point that the target of “pistis Christou” appears to be God, not Christ. We have the faith, God is the target of our faith, and our faith is like Christ's. We have the faith of Christ in God, the faith of Abraham in God, and it is that faith that justifies us. It just seems so blatantly obvious to me that this is what Paul means...

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