I’ve come a long way…

…since I started my theological training.

I came to the United Faculty of  Theology in Melbourne as a reasonably conservative, evangelically inclined Christian. I loved learning from the Uniting Church, Jesuit and Anglo-catholic Anglican professors, but I remember saying to a friend of mine one day that I was quite concerned because something that Bultmann had said had made sense to me. I was equally concerned to find myself agreeing with Cardinal Ratzinger.

I was reminded of this today because I have been re-reading Robinson and Koester’s Trajectories Through Early Christianity, (1971) Philadelphia, Fortress Press and in the introductory chapter, Robinson talks about bringing Bultmann’s work to the US. I am no longer at all alarmed when I find myself agreeing with Bultmann and his school, and I was most impressed by Koester’s analysis of the parables in GosThom in “One Jesus and Four Primitive Gospels” in Trajectories. It is still a very rare occasion, however, when I find myself agreeing with Benedict XVI although I find the work of many other Catholics really helpful and illuminating. 🙂

Even though I didn’t consciously believe that God dictated the Bible word for word when I started my theological training, I certainly had no appreciation of why people might be suggesting that what I was reading was not in its original form (although I did understand about the translation issues). It would have been good if the lecturers had spent some time on the background material before they threw form criticism at us, given that they all complained about how uniformed we were when we hit the place. It’s not as though it’s all that difficult – my campus bible study group quite enjoyed comparing the Thomasine parallels to the Matthew 13 parables in 2008, and don’t seem to have lost their faith as a result – although they do seem to be heavily into social justice. 🙂

As an aside: I really, really don’t like the way that you can scroll through the “reference type” drop-down menu box in Endnote by turning the scroll wheel on your mouse. I notice that I have managed to list “One Jesus” as a patent, rather than a book section, because I forgot to click outside the box before I turned it!

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