Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Scandal of the day: Snodgrass critiques Wright

In discussing the various analyses of the parables of future eschatology, Snodgrass argues that 'certain options are [to be] excluded'. The second of his excluded options is the proposal that 'the coming of the Son of Man in glory' is to be equated with 'the destruction of Jerusalem as N.T. Wright suggests' (479). His reasons:

'Jerusalem had been destroyed in 586 B.C. and would be again in 135 A.D. What makes the destruction in 70 A.D. so crucial that it would be describes as the coming of the Son of Man, and why was the destruction so unimportant to the early church that it is never mentioned?' He continues: 'The early church saw the vindication and victory in the resurrection, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and in the expected parousia' (479).


At 3/05/2008 10:46 PM, Blogger Brian said...

i might quite agree. what where your thought on what I shared about Lk 15?

At 3/05/2008 11:19 PM, Anonymous Steven Harris said...

"why was the destruction so unimportant to the early church that it is never mentioned?"

It's a fair point, but I'm not sure it's correct.

There's a fascinating article by R Gleason in an old Tyndale bulletin arguing that the fiery warnings in Hebrews are in fact a warning to the church about the forthcoming fiery destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 and that if the Hebrew Christians went back to Judaism and the Temple system they would be consumed by its imminent fiery destruction.

If Gleason is right, then AD70 features far more prominently in the NT than Snodgrass supposes.

Gleason article here.

I also seem to recall reading somewhere (I forget where) an argument that suggested the images in Revelation depicting the fall of Babylon and the vindication of the church etc was written with AD70 in mind.

At 3/06/2008 12:08 AM, Blogger Edward T. Babinski said...

N.T. Wright is wrong (and so are preterists, and R. Gleason, and folks who believe Rev. was written in 70 A.D. and that "Babylon" was referring in Rev. to "Jerusalem").

There's an entire book just published by theologian Edward Adams that explains just how wrong Wright is on this topic (and by association, preterists as well). Adams examines the intertestamental evidence and how prophecy became apocalyptic during the intertestamental period. Adams puts the nail in the coffin of N.T. Wrightism and preterism combined.

Stars Will Fall from Heaven: Cosmic Catastrophe in the New Testament and Its World (Library of New Testament Studies)
by Edward Adams
300 pages
T. & T. Clark Publishers (September 2007)

AMAZON.COM allows you to "SEARCH INSIDE" so if you are canny about using search words you can read the entire book online, three pages at a time, then plug in a search word that starts you out at the page you were just on plus gives you two more to view for free.

You can even photocopy individual pages by hitting the "print screen" button on your keyboard and then going into WORD and hitting "paste."

Yup, amazon has opened horizons of copyright infringement. Don't know when the law suit is going to come about, but there probably will be one.


The aim of this book is to establish and explore New Testament belief in the end of the world through an investigation of texts which - on the face of it - contain 'end of the world' language. It engages with recent discussion on how Jewish and early Christian 'end of the world' was meant to be understood, and interacts especially with N.T. Wright's proposals.

The first part of the book is given over to background and focuses on the Old Testament, Jewish apocalyptic and related literature and Graeco-Roman sources. The latter have seldom been brought into play in previous discussion. The author shows that the Stoic material is especially relevant. (The world ending in fire as in the epistle of Peter.)

The second part of the book concentrates on the New Testament evidence and explores in detail all the key texts. The pertinent texts are analyzed in terms of the kind of the 'end of the world' language they use - language of cosmic cessation, of catastrophe and conflagration. The main aim of the exegesis is to establish the extent to which the language is meant objectively.

At 3/06/2008 7:25 AM, Blogger Steven Carr said...

I wonder why the author of 2 Peter never refutes the scoffers claim that nothing has changed by referring to the massive changes identified by Wright.

If only the guy had read his Wright, he would have been able to refute the scoffers much more convincingly than by hinting that it would be a long time before anything of any significance happened.

At 3/06/2008 12:48 PM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Hi Brian, I responded to you on the previous post. And I'be interested to hear your thoughts.

Steven, thanks for the link, I'll be sure to check it out. They are some interesting thoughts.

Hi Edward, actually TandT promised me a review copy of that book - but it never arrived :-( But I am, aware of its case. Michael Barber is looking at it in a little more depth on his blog, Singing in the reign. Whether Adams is right or not is a question that will be discussed in academia for a while. I wouldn't write Wright off too quickly, on this (I thought up that "write Wright" all by myself!)

Hi Steven,
You make a great point against preterists. However, Wright is not a preterist. He doesn't think the gospels speak of a second coming, but the rest of the NT does, so he argues in his recent book Surprised by Hope. Of course, whether he is Wright is right about that, is another question (I thought up that "Wright is right" all by mself, too!)

At 3/06/2008 2:38 PM, Blogger Jason Pratt said...

I think Snodgrass' critique is that the destruction is so unimportant that it isn't mentioned in clear fait-accompli terms in texts putatively written post 70. Forthcoming terms yes; as an especially accurate description of what actually happened, no.

It should be noted that JATRobinson in Redating the New Testament (which is pretty much still the modern starting place for considering a pre-70s composition for any book in the canon) did not consider "Babylon" in RevJohn to be talking about Jerusalem. On the contrary, he came down in favor of the hope being that Rome would fall (due to its mistreatment of Peter and Paul) and Jerusalem would be saved.

I've occasionally wondered if "Babylon" was supposed to be Jerusalem after all; but the actual imagery in RevJohn precludes that, I think.


At 3/06/2008 2:41 PM, Blogger Alex said...

It's hard to know for sure what Jesus meant when he said the "Son of Man coming phrase". Although I guess Wright's theory is as good as any. I do think it's really, really interesting, at the very least, that the early church, as far as we know not being patristics scholars, never made the connection between this phrase and any kind of destruction of Jerusalem. Or did they and it was just couched in other language?

The larger issue within which this question is situated is, I think, the general one of the differences between the early church/Paul and the gospels. From phrases like the one above to moral values, to maybe even politics. I'd be interested to hear about some books or research projects into bridging the gap or at least confessing the gap between Jesus and Paul

At 3/07/2008 2:26 PM, Blogger Daniel Kirk said...

My thought on the Snodgrass quote is that it's question-begging: he says that "parousia" is one of those great moments that defined early x-y, but isn't that "royal presence" one facet of NTW's explanation of the association b/t Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem?

At 3/10/2008 8:20 AM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Thanks, Daniel, good point.

Jason, I really appreciate your input on this blog, in case I haven't mentioned it. Rev. is an area I know so little about.

Hi Alex,
"I'd be interested to hear about some books or research projects into bridging the gap or at least confessing the gap between Jesus and Paul"
Me too. I have one or two books I will be reviewing for the blog that deal with this subject. Wenham's book tends to be citd a lot, though I have not read it.

At 3/11/2008 1:46 PM, Blogger Jason Pratt said...

Well, I appreciate your blog period. Um, so there! {g}{bow!}


At 4/11/2008 9:57 PM, Anonymous Antonio Jerez said...

Snodgrass is absolutely right, and Wright is wrong as usual (I doubt if there is a worse historical Jesus scholar in a guild were the standards are not very high anyway).
Interesting that Edward Babinski mentons Edward Adams also. Yes, Adams definitely puts Wright in place. A great book on the subject.


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