Sunday, July 27, 2008
Francis Watson on Pistis Christou
One of the best little quotes on the "px" debate that I've read (and believe me, I've read alot on this and had trouble making up my mind) comes from Francis Watson:
"As we have seen, the christological qualification of Paul's faith terminology is intended to refer neither to 'the faithfulness of Christ' nor to 'faith in Christ' but, more open-endedly, to the faith that pertains to God's saving action in Christ - originating in it, participating in it, and orientated towards it" (Francis Watson, Paul, Judaism, and the Gentile: Beyond the New Perspective, p. 255).
I submit that this warrants a return to the translation of the 'faith of Christ' in Bible translations in order to keep the gentive deliberately ambiguous (much like the 'righteousness of God'). I think this is where I'll nail my colours to the mast for now! This is a position that I think resonates also with the works of Mark Seifrid and Preston Sprinkle. Now I find the theological mileage that one gets out of the subjective gentive view absolutely scintilatting. In addition, some of Doug Campbell's and Ardel Caneday's arguments are quite thought-provoking on the matter and I'd probably give a tacit approval to a subjective genitival reading in Philippians 3 thanks to Markus Bockmuehl, Peter O'Brien, and Paul Foster (although Barry Matlock and Richard Bell make me highly cautious about it). But all in all, I think I have to lean more towards a modification of the objective gentive along the lines that Watson suggests above.
Those interested in this further will have to wait until spring/summer 2009 for Paternoster and Hendrickson to release our book The Faith of Jesus Christ where these issues are explored more fully.