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  • Joseph Codsi
    ... From: Zeba Crook [mailto:zcrook@connect.carleton.ca] Sent: Saturday, October 23, 2004 2:38 PM To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [XTalk] ABOUT
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 25 8:27 AM
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Zeba Crook [mailto:zcrook@...]
      Sent: Saturday, October 23, 2004 2:38 PM
      To: crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [XTalk] ABOUT SCHUBERT OGDEN

      Dear Joseph,

      <<I'm not sure what you mean here, but I think I disagree. I see the
      work of theology to occur within the church and the work of history to
      occur within the academy. Some of us on this work work in both
      institutions and some of us work in only one. What a depressing life I
      would lead if I believed that my research was "useless and sterile"
      because I do not venture into theological conclusions, or draw a
      theology from the implications of my work. m I simply leave that up to
      people more qualified (and interested) to do so than me. But why cannot

      a full and accurate an understanding of the past (as is humanly possible

      within any given generation) be the noble goal in an of itself?



      Dear Zeb,

      My intention was to draw the attention onto SCHUBERT OGDEN, simply
      because I consider his article a must, in the same way as Bill Arnal
      considers Smith’s book a REQUIRED reading. Here is what he says (October
      25, 12:49 AM):

      <<[...] In any case, I would think that Smith's book, and his "Fences
      and Neighbors" article, are REQUIRED reading for anyone who wants to
      talk intelligently and rigorously about antique Judaism, its
      relationship to Christianity, and comparison of religious phenomena. Go
      out and get it. Now.>>

      I apologize for the cryptic nature of my first post, and I thank you for
      your intervention.

      SCHUBERT OGDEN is a theologian, not a Bible or gospel scholar. But he is
      a theologian who does not live in his ivory tower. He does not ignore,
      in particular, what goes on in the field of gospel scholarship.

      In his article FAITH AND FREEDOM he describes the evolution of his views
      over the 20-year period that goes from 1960 to 1980. In what pertains to
      Bible and gospel scholarship, he draws the following conclusions:


      ><< We now know not only that none of the Old Testament writings is
      >"prophetic" witness to Christ in the sense in which the early church
      >assumed them to be, but also that none of the writings of the New
      >Testament is "apostolic" witness to Christ as the early church itself
      >understood apostolicity. >>
      ><< Given what historians and exegetes now generally take for granted
      >about the composition of the New Testament, the distinction between
      >"Scripture" and "tradition" breaks down... >>

      The 2 statements are revolutionary. They can be compared to Luther’s 95
      propositions that he is said to have posted at the Nuremberg church’s
      door. The fact that Ogden’s words were not perceived as such by the
      listers requires some explaining. But I will not get into that here.

      I have submitted to Gisela Kittle of Germany the two statements. She is
      a theologian as well as a Bible and gospel scholar. Here is how she
      answered the second statement:

      << Wenn man formal die Schrift als Gottes Wort und die Tradition als
      Menschen Wort erklärt, sieht das in der Tat so aus. Doch diese
      Unterscheidung ist falsch. >> This means that if one takes Scripture to
      be the word of God and Tradition the word of men, then what Ogden is
      saying is correct. Neither the AT nor the NT is “word of God”. They are
      both a human discourse. The fact that they have been considered so far
      as word of God must be declared today as incorrect.

      There is more to Gisela Kittel’s answer than what I have mentioned here.
      But I will keep things simple in this introductory explanation of
      Ogden’s statements.

      As gospel scholars, we discuss the gospels as human not divine logos.
      This is why we can submit them to critical analyses. The liberties we
      are now taking are the result of a demythification of what used to be
      considered as sacred scripture. Without this demystification, gospel
      scholarship would be impossible.

      I will now take one additional step and declare that


      I am solely responsible for this third statement. Let me explain what I
      mean and how I mean it.

      The French newspaper LE MONDE publishes a weekly edition here in Beirut.
      In a magazine about BOOKS published last Friday, a title caught my
      attention. It said in big letters:

      <<LA SCIENCE, UN MONDE D’ERREURS RECTIFIEES>> (Science, a world of
      rectified errors).

      It turned out this was the thesis of Dominique Lecourt, a philosopher
      who specializes in the philosophy of science. If science consists in
      rectifying past errors, and if Ogden’s statements rectify a past error,
      then he is doing what science does.

      It took here a theologian to formulate the scientific conclusions of the
      exegetical research of his time. We can discuss and improve his
      formulation, but it is important to learn from this case that in the
      same way as science needs philosophy to better understand itself, so
      also gospel scholarship need theology to assess its progress and guide
      its research.

      I will end this post with a suggestion. You wrote: “I see the
      work of theology to occur within the church and the work of history to
      occur within the academy.” This is precisely what is unscientific. You
      are separating what philosophy has united.

      Joseph Codsi
      P.O. Box 116-2088
      Beirut, Lebanon
      Telephone (961) 1 423-145
      How did the historical Jesus become, in the gospels' narrative, the Son
      of God made man? Who is responsible for this transformation?
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