Monday, January 23, 2006

Brief Reflections on Jesus Creed

Sometime ago I finished reading over Scot McKnight's The Jesus Creed and I thought I would reflect on it briefly.

First, I enjoyed the book as a joyful and uplifting departure from the rigours of academic study (after reading Bultmann's History of the Synoptic Tradition for an hour, Jesus Creed was quite refreshing).

Second, it is good to see a scholar trying to bridge the gap between academic study and devotional writing. There are some influential "Jesus" devotionals out there. Phil Yancey's book The Jesus I never Knew is a good read, though at times some of us in the academy may think of his historical judgements as somewhat naive. There will always be a danger for academics to retreat to their ivory tower and write massive tomes on subjects that are so specific, very few people in the pews would understand or even care. For all his failings, Bultmann's books (and in his lectures I'm told) would always carry the question: "So what? What does this mean for us?"

Third, there are some excellent vignettes in the book, esp. those of John Goldingay and Dietrich von Hildebrand.

Fourth, the book at times is conjectural on what it would be like for Joseph or Mary to be in their situation, etc. Some might think that his pushes the boundaries somewhat, but the speculation is reasonable and restrained.

Fifth, the chapter on "Jesus Creed as a Table" is a chapter I wish all communion/eucharist leaders would read.

Sixth, I would perhaps have liked a bit more of the Jesus of John's Gospel in there (although cameos appear); perhaps a christological devotional book on the Fourth Gospel can be a further writing project for Scot!

Seventh, the book is useful as a devotional for individuals, families, and groups and would probably do well also as a spiritual formation course text book.

Eighth, otherwise, the book compels, challenges and inspires us to make the Jesus Creed our creed, that is to live out the Jesus Creed by loving God and loving others!


Ben Myers said...

I'm still recovering from shock -- I just heard Mike Bird say something nice about Bultmann!


Chris Tilling said...

It looks like our recent posting on Bultmann has done the job, Ben!

Celucien joseph said...

I haven't read the book yet, but plan on doing so.

Thanks for the review.

Scot McKnight said...

You're the first one yet who has connected Jesus Creed with Bultmann's Jesus. Many thanks for these kind remarks.

On John, I do have him in there more than it may appear, but I wasn't striving for balancing the Synoptics with the Johannine. Fair remarks on Joseph and Mary, but I think my hunches are sound. The entire mamzer study is more complete, though I admit the Joseph tsadiq thesis is a little harder to prove. But, it is clear it was because Joseph was "righteous" that he chose to act as he did.