Monday, January 20, 2020

In summary

At the most basic level, whether we ask these kinds of questions of our congregations or of our individual selves, the New Testament christological hymns have the potential to challenge contemporary Christians to consider whether our view of Jesus is expansive enough. The remarkable portrait of reality painted by the New Testament christological hymns is that of an imaginal world—a real world but one that cannot yet be perceived in the visible space around us—in which Jesus is Lord of all, the unique agent of God’s work of redemption inclusive of Jews and Gentiles, inclusive of all people. If the church was born in the matrix of worship, and worship was centered on the crucified, risen, and exalted Jesus to the glory of God, then Christian vitality depends on growing and maturing in relationship with these origins. The New Testament christological hymns bring us with laser focus to the birth and infancy of the early church as it wrestled with its culture, its traditions, and its message of good news for all people. Our deep reflection and appropriation of the meaning of the New Testament christological hymns today could be a catalyst to a renewal and rebirth that is needed in the present moment as much as it ever has been.—Matthew Gordley, New Testament Christological Hymns, pp. 234–35

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And so ends this book. I hope you enjoyed it, even though it was a bit dragged out. My take on the book, if you are interested, is that it's not what I thought it would be. And that's a good thing. I was looking for it to be a bit more forceful, presenting questionable evidence to claim great things about christological hymns in the NT. It doesn't. It has more modest, attainable goals. It claims that there is enough evidence that there are hymn-like sections in the NT that might be preexisting hymns, or they might have been composed for the book itself. They might give us insight into early Christian worship.

So, it is a better book than I anticipated it being, although not as thrilling. Maybe that's why it took me longer to get through it?

New book, starting tomorrow. We've been in the NT for a while, so let's head to the OT for a bit, but first we'll sidetrack for a couple of days into the wild and woolly world of the ANE with Robert Miller's latest book, Baal, St. George, and Khidr, a fun little book, but very difficult to extract stuff from; you really need to check it out of your local library (OK, probably have to ILL it) and read.
</idle musing>

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