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MODERN THEOLOGY AND BIBLICAL CRITICISM IN CONTEXT Joel D. Heck Concordia University Texas.

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Presentation on theme: "MODERN THEOLOGY AND BIBLICAL CRITICISM IN CONTEXT Joel D. Heck Concordia University Texas."— Presentation transcript:

1 MODERN THEOLOGY AND BIBLICAL CRITICISM IN CONTEXT Joel D. Heck Concordia University Texas

2 Entrance to Westcott House, Cambridge

3

4 The Invitation Alec Vidler, Windsor Sermons (1958) The Sign at Cana Theology dominant in theological colleges Lewis as the outsider A sheep speaking to shepherds: And now I start my bleating.

5 Another Reason, a Deeper Reason David Thompsons Alister McGraths Lewiss position: an evangelical perspective

6 The Address 1) Some biblical critics lack literary judgment (they read between the lines of ancient texts, not understanding extra-biblical literary genres, e.g., reading Johns Gospel as a romance); 2) Some wrongly claim that the real teaching of Christ came rapidly to be misunderstood and has only been recovered by modern scholars (Vidler is an example); 3) Some wrongly claim that miracles dont occur; 4) Attempts to recover the origin of a text often err (as has happened with some of Platos and Shakespeares works).

7 Four Points/Four Perspectives 1) A scholar of English literature 2) A student of history and a lay reader of the New Testament 3) The author of Miracles 4) The writer speaking from personal experience, but once again as a scholar of literature

8 The Audience & the Setting The Rt Revd Kenneth Carey, Principal Don Cupitt, later Dean of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, BBCs The Sea of Faith Dr. Lionel R. Wickham Dr. Kenneth J. Woollcombe, later Bishop of Oxford, delegate to the World Council of Churches The Revd Canon John Davies, Chaplain Dr. John Habgood, Vice-Principal, later Archbishop of York, contributed a chapter to Soundings: Essays Concerning Christian Understanding (1962) Other seminary students

9 Location of the Lecture

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11 The Room were the Lecture was given

12 Just to prove I was there …

13 The Reaction of Friends Principal Kenneth Carey Trevor Shannon Peter Nott: The vast majority of us heard him gladly. Walter Hooper, after reading the essay Austin Farrer, after reading the essay (and most of us who have read the essay)

14 The Negative Reaction at Westcott House Led by Kenneth Woollcombe Seconded by Don Cupitt and Lionel Wickham Hugh Magee

15 The Arguments of Don Cupitt Translation Regius Professor of Divinity, Leonard Hodgson Rudolf Bultmann The Jesus Seminar and Dominic Crossan Thomas L. Thompson

16 A Matter of Competence? Dr. Lionell Wickhamno training in Biblical studies So also Kenneth Woollcombe And Don Cupitt No other names mentioned

17 Or a Matter of Theology? Lewiss his opening paragraph refers to the type of thought which, so far as I could gather, is now dominant in many theological colleges. Who were the New Testament theologians in Cambridge at the time? What was being taught in New Testament in 1959?

18 The Cambridge New Testament Divinity Faculty The Revd. Prof. C. F. D. Moule, a Fellow of Clare College Geoffrey M. Styler, Corpus Christi College H. W. Montefiore ( ), Fellow and Dean at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge ( ), later Vicar of Great St. Mary, still later Bishop of Birmingham, contributed a chapter to Soundings: Essays Concerning Christian Understanding (1962), edited by Alec Vidler J. S. Bezzant (Dean of St. Johns), contributed a chapter to Objections to Christian Belief (1963), edited by Alec Vidler, Bezzant, MacKinnon, and Williams R. P. Casey, Sidney Sussex College ( ) J. N. Sanders (Dean, Peterhouse), contributed a chapter to Soundings: Essays Concerning Christian Understanding (1962) J. A. T. Robinson (Dean of Clare College), author of Honest to God (1963)

19 John A. T. Robinson (1919–1983) Honest to God (1963) On March 17, 1963, just prior to the release of that book, Bishop Robinson, then Anglican Bishop of Woolwich, had an article published in The Observer entitled Our Image of God Must Go. Lewis: Must Our Image of God Go? (The Observer, one week later) reportage Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (2006)

20 Positives Well received by many Laughter in the room Principal Carey Wickham on the fourth bleat (but he does not say the same about the first three)

21 Conclusion A negative reaction to Lewiss combative style? A question of Lewiss theological credentials? But Lewis admitted to a lack of theological training, a note he sounded in other writings A challenge to Lewiss literary competence? Or a matter of theological differences? Lewis was not challenged on theological or literary points. Why not? I submit that it was theological differences, represented especially by Alec Vidler and John Robinson, which could not be refuted by opponents in his audience, so they questioned his credentials.


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