Generous Orthodoxy  

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

News from the "apocalyptic" front

To my amazement, my postings about a school of apocalyptic theology emerging in the 1970s from Union Seminary in New York have been picked up by some exponents. I am not inclined to or trained for academic theology, but I owe everything to my teachers and colleagues, and am deeply grateful that my small contributions have been noted.  Here is a link (nonacademic readers beware: this is very demanding reading! but you can get the general idea).

I have written to the author, who is a PhD candidate at Princeton Seminary, expressing appreciation and reservations. I think that it is a mistake to cherry-pick my original list so finely. As my colleague Joe Mangina points out, my original list was intended to point out a "family resemblance" among a group of contemporary biblical theologians, many of whom learned from one another at Union Seminary in New York in the 1960s and 70s. My list was also intended to bring New Testament apocalyptic theology into the foreground, and to some extent I think the list has helped. I never meant to systematize the groupings, and I think it is a mistake to try to do so other than to identify the "family resemblance."

If required to distill apocalyptic theology to its essence, this is what I would say:

1) The divine agency is the central emphasis and the sine qua non.
2) The presence of an occupying enemy Power must be insisted upon.
3) The Cross-Resurrection event is a novum not to be located on a continuum (see Isaiah 40-55). 

There is a brand-new book out, Apocalyptic and the Future of Theology (Wipf and Stock) which includes an essay by yours truly. More about that anon.

My original blogpost about apocalyptic theology is here: