Tuesday, October 10, 2006

F.F. Bruce on ETS

"On another visit to America I participated in the twenty-fifth anniversary conference of the Evangelical Theological Society, held in Wheaton College, Illinois, in the last week of December 1973. For its silver jubilee the Society invited two foreign guests - Dr. Howard Marshall of Aberdeen and myself. Our contributions with published in the proceedings of the conference, New Dimensions in New Testament Study, edited by R.N. Longenecker and M.C. Tenney (1974) ... The Evangelical Theological Society strikes me as being a more conservative body than the Tyndale Fellowship in this country, but there is a maturity of scholarship in the twenty-odd papers in this volume which augurs well for the progress of the society during the next quarter of a century."

F.F. Bruce, In Retrospect, p. 241.

Is this a compliment or a polite jibe at ETS?

6 comments:

Michael Westmoreland-White said...

It was both. Bruce was complimenting the maturity of the papers. But Bruce was giving a somewhat typical British snipe of annoyance at how American evangelicalism is straightjacketed in its conservatism. I suspect that were he to see the ETS of today, his judgment would be harsher, although the Institute of Biblical Studies would probably have impressed him as an evangelical scholarly body.

Peter M. Head said...

Just a statement of fact.

Nick Nowalk said...

I don't see a jab here, unless you're already predisposed to be annoyed by conservative scholarship.

James Crossley said...

An attempt at exegesis:

"The Evangelical Theological Society strikes me as being a more conservative body than the Tyndale Fellowship in this country, BUT there is a maturity of scholarship in the twenty-odd papers in this volume..."

Doesn't the BUT (I added the capitals, I know) imply a contrast here. Sort of, 'It's not such a good thing but they have produced a mature volume...'??

exegetical fallacy said...
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exegetical fallacy said...

Good point, Nick. Also, 'Conservative' is such a slippery word. What is conservative to some is not to others. I know many British Evangelicals who are appalled that you could be a member of ETS and believe that God doesn't know the future. I've also heard some (non Evangelical) Brits attack ETS for discouraging the ordination of women, hence displaying an unhelpful conservativism. But again, this is embarassingly inaccurate since many (most?) ETS members are egalitarian. So of course, it helps to swim to both ends of the pond (Tyndale and ETS) in order to give an accurate account of the similarlities and differences - hence, I commend Bruce (and Marshall) doing so.
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