Monday, February 7, 2011

Mere metaphor?

Janet Martin Soskice on the problem of assuming that biblical metaphors are always "mere" metaphors:

Jesus' phrase 'this bread is my body'. Is this metaphorical or not? The question is frequently asked as though one's answer will settle an enormous theological though, could we but acknowledge that phrases such as this one were metaphorical, we would be freed from the metaphysical difficulties which have troubled centuries of theological debate. But to think in this way is to fall back into the ornamentalist theories of metaphor against which we have been arguing from the beginning of the book. Even a conservative, catholic Christian could acknowledge that Jesus' phrase 'this is my body' is, or was, metaphorical but in doing so he would make a linguistic and not an ontological point. It would be analogous to acknowledging that the phrase 'there is a strong electrical current flowing through the wire' is, or was, metaphorical. The point at issue is not really whether we have metaphor here, but what the metaphor is doing: is it simply an ornamental redescription, so that Jesus has redescribed bread in an evocative way? or is the metaphor genuinely catachretical, not a redescribing but a naming or disclosing for the first time? It is one's metaphysics, not metaphor, which is at issue. To put it another way, the question is not simply whether we have a metaphor here or not, but what, if anything, the metaphor refers to or signifies.

Metaphor and Religious Language, (OUP, 1985).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Details on Richard Bauckham at Duke

What was once whispered in the hallways is now proclaimed from the Divinity school website. Here are the details on this year's Clark lectures:

Established in 1984, the Kenneth Willis Clark Lectureship Fund honors the life and work of Reverend Professor Kenneth Willis Clark, a Divinity School faculty member for 36 years. Each year this fund enables the Divinity School to offer a distinguished program with special emphasis on New Testament studies and textual criticism.

These are free public lectures. No pre-registration is necessary.

Individualism and Community in the Gospel of John

Guest Speaker: Richard Bauckham
Richard Bauckham was until recently Professor of New Testament Studies and Bishop Wardlaw Professor in the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and is now Professor Emeritus at St. Andrews. He retired in 2007 in order to concentrate on research and writing, and is Senior Scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, where he does some teaching for the Cambridge Federation of Theological Colleges. He is also a Visiting Professor at St. Mellitus College, London. From 1996 to 2002 he was General Editor of the Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series. He is an Anglican (but not ordained), and was a member of the Doctrine Commission of the Church of England for some years. In 2009 he was awarded the Michael Ramsey prize for his book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, and in 2010 the Franz-Delitzsch-Award for a volume of collected essays, The Jewish World around the New Testament. His other publications include God Crucified: Monotheism and Christology in the New Testament (1998) and The Theology of the Book of Revelation (1993).

Lecture 1
Thursday, February 24, 2011
4:00-5:15 p.m.
0016 Westbrook, Duke Divinity School

Lecture 2
Friday, February 25, 2011
12:20-1:20 p.m.
0016 Westbrook, Duke Divinity School

Please contact Jacquelyn Norris at (919) 660-3529 with any questions.

HT: Mark Goodacre