Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Larry Hurtado on Martin Hengel

Larry Hurtado, ‘Martin Hengel’s Impact on English-Speaking Scholarship,’ ExpT 120.2 (2008): 70-76.

“First, Hengel has set a high standard of thoroughness of research that continues to instruct and inspire. Second, his frank acknowledgement of his Christian stance and theological concerns is commendable, both in its honesty and in his demonstration (contrary to the anxieties of some) such a commitment can actually inspire dedicated and critical historical analysis that wins the praise of scholars of various faith-stances. Third, over and against both anti-critical conservatism of a creedalistic or fundamentalistic nature, and over and against the now-fashionable disdain of the validity of critical historical investigation in some so-called ‘post-modernist’ circles, and also over and against the tendency by some other NT scholars to play off critical historical study and hermeneutical concerns, Hengel’s body of work stands as a monumental refutation and inspiration.” (p. 75).

The areas where I have found Hengel to be helpful and even inspirational are: 1. He is a first class exponent of primary sources. 2. He combines historical acumen with theological sensitivity. 3. The breadth of his research and learning is immense. 4. He has shown that views often touted as conservative (e.g. history in Acts, Jesus as a messianic claimant, critical of form criticism) are not based on theological prejudices but on sound historical evidence.


Peter M. Head said...

There is obviously a problem in "his rank acknowledgement of his Christian stance", since "rank" is a term of disparagement like "stinking". This meaning doesn't fit the context (unless Hurtado is being deeply ironic, which all things considered is unlikely). A couple of emendations could be considered:
"bank" instead of "rank" (with reference to his royalties - but this really needs "bank's" - requiring a double error).
"prank" instead of "rank" (taking this as an indication of Hengel's post-modern playfulness).
"mank" instead of "rank" (this may only work for James Crossley since Hengel hasn't demonstrated any particular association with Manchester).
None of these really fit, so I propose "tank" with the meaning: "firmly robust and unmoveable".

Wieland Willker said...

M. Hengel has recently been invited, together with P. Stuhlmacher, by the pope to help him with his 2nd part of his Jesus book.

SamuelS99 said...

To say that Hengel was a great scholar would at once be self-evident and a gross understatement. His book on crucifixion remains for me the standard of how historical inquiry can insightfully and meaninfully inform biblical exegesis.