Monday, April 30, 2007

James Dunn Critiques Simon Gathercole's Recent Book on Jesus

In Mark Goodacre's blog entry for November 26, 2006, he reported concerning a Synoptic Gospels session that he had organized for the SBL conference in Washington, D.C. Mark reported,
In spite of the interesting discussions, the thing that will remain with me for the longest will be, I think, Jimmy Dunn's strongly worded critique of his former student's book, which he accused of "wooden literalism", of "tritheism, ditheism or modalism"; and he said that Simon was in need of a "refresher course in hermeneutics". I am afraid that I could not resist adding after he had finished, "I am tempted to say: don't hold back; tell us what you really think." Simon defended his book bravely, and had not had either Deirdre's or Rikk's responses in advance, so he did particularly well on those.
Now, thanks to SBL's Review of Biblical Literature on-line, James D. G. Dunn reviews Simon Gathercole's recent book on Jesus, The Pre-existent Son: Recovering the Christologies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Here is a brief excerpt that refers to the SBL session.

I should perhaps add that the robustness of my response follows the character of our regular exchanges for many years now, which continued at the SBL Annual Meeting in Washington (November 2006), when I was on the panel reviewing his Pre-existence book. It is because I admire Dr. Gathercole’s scholarship and his ability to mount a weighty exegetical argument (from which I continue to learn), and because I believe it to be by such robust dialogue that discussion can progress most fruitfully (so I fully expect him to respond in the same manner), that I have offered this review.

Also, read Frank Matera's review of Gathercole's book.

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