Monday, December 12, 2005


The recent "tug of war" between Myers and Bird over Bultmann and Wright is as interesting as it is peculiar. I'm definitely with Bird on this one though. Behold, one greater than Bultmann is [definitely] here! And it's not because I don't think Bultmann was brilliant, but it's because I think Wright will have a longer and more fruitful legacy! Wright's eye for method, history, music, theology, philosophy, music, and all this flowing into discipleship is simply breath-taking. Anyone can stumble across the issues in a discipline, but to single-handedly take on the whole discipline, with several other disciplines as well, is a task for a giant. As Marcus Borg has noted:
N. T. Wright occupies an unusual place within contemporary Jesus scholarship. In conservative Christian circles, he is somewhat of a hero. His lectures attract large numbers of people, and he is widely read by evangelical scholars, clergy and laity. Yet he is also in prolonged and vigorous conversation with moderate and liberal Jesus scholars and is recognised as one of the “players” to be reckoned with. I know of no one else who so prominently and ably engages both groups.
Wright takes on both the academy and the church. And he keeps all of us on our toes and in our bibles! This is no small feat.


Ben Myers said...

"I'm definitely with Bird on this one." Et tu, Brute?

One small point: your description of Wright as a "giant" appears to be mythological, so I think some demythologising may be necessary.... ;-)

Michael F. Bird said...

Bravo, Sean. Well, said. I haven't heard of anyone throwing away Christianity after reading Wright, but I have heard of some who did after reading Bultmann!

James Crossley said...

Given as I've been critical of Bultmann on Ben's blog I'll have to be miserable and criticise Wright too. I can't comment on music, theology, philosophy and all that but I really don't see how history can be included. There have been masses of debates on the nature of history and these are not employed by Wright. There is no social history or economic history just history of ideas and, from a humanities perspective, some extremely odd accounts of how Christianity emerged. My guess is that the whole Bultmann v Wrightdebate is a theology debate in which case I can't really say much. But I'm just not convinced either of them have made advances in history (unless history is read in theological terms).