Saturday, March 01, 2008
Bockmuehl on Edward C. Hoskyns and the Object of NT Study
I'm currently into chapter 5 of Seeing the Word where Bockmuehl looks at Hoskyns as an example of "Evangelical Catholicism" (something I think Bockmuehl would identify with). Bockmuehl notes the hostility towards Hoskyns by Cambridge faculty after his death which tried to erase his memory from the landscape. Bockmuehl commends Hoskyns for his "compelling integration of catholic ecclesiology and evangelical conviction about Scripture" (p. 140) although Hoskyns vocally disliked both fundamentalists and liberals alike. In fact, Hoskyns was wrested from liberalism after an encounter with Barth's Romerbrief. Hoskyns wanted to combine historical criticism with theological formulation. C.K. Barrett recalls Hoskyns saying: "You look down your critical miscroscope at the New testament text with a view to describing the religious life of the first-century Christians, and you find that God is looking back at you through the microscope and declaring you to be a sinner" (p. 147). Hoskyns's Riddle of the New Testament and The Fourth Gospel are illustrations of this approach. Bockmuehl finds here a great model for the task of the modern Neutestamentler: "Hoskyns's question of New Testament scholarship's engagement with the actual content and life of that book remains a challenge full of intellectual vitality and promise. Far from being accessible through either a master of secondary literature or a sociological redescription of Christian origins, Scripture's theological res, its subject matter and ecclesial setting, inextricably defines the New Testament's historic footprint and identity - and is implied readings. It is this object of study that does stare back at us through the microscope and that calls the implied interpreter of faith in the gospel of the living God" (p. 160).