The point of declaring ‘Jesus is Lord’ [according to Paul] was not…that one might feel happy about having made a crucial dogmatic confession. The point was to sign up under the banner of this kyrios, implicitly at least against all other claimants of that title, for the kingdom-work in which Paul and his colleagues saw themselves engaged. As I have said elsewhere, incarnational belief is the key in which the music is set, but the tune is the great, swelling theme of the inaugurated kingdom of the one God ~ N.T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, 733)
William Cowper (18th century poet) wrote this poem on Christian hope. Anthony Thiselton cites this poem as an appropriate rendition of Paul’s theology of hope as expressed in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (Blackwell Bible Commentary: 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 35).
These shall last when night has quench’d the pole,
And heav’n is all departed as a scroll:
And when, as justice has long since decreed,
This earth shall blaze, and a new world succeed,
Then these thy glorious works, and they who share
That hope which can alone exclude despair,
Shall live exempt from weakness and decay,
The brightest wonders of an endless day.
I just got the official word that my paper, “Toward a Theory of Character for Interpreting the Gospel of John,” will be part of a session sponsored by the Johannine Literature group at this year’s annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. I am excited about this for several reasons: (1) This is an area that I obviously care a lot about (see here and here), (2) I get to present alongside my friend and doctoral advisor, Frank Moloney, and (3) I have submitted proposals to this section two or three times previously and have been rejected each time. The group of presenters at this session includes a number of people who have been doing significant work in this area for some time now. Here’s the lineup:
Characterization in the Gospel of John
- Presider: Ruben Zimmerman
- Christopher Skinner, Toward a Theory of Character for Interpreting the Gospel of John (20 min)
- Cornelis Bennema, The Scope and Limitations of Using a Uniform Approach to Character in the Gospel of John (20 min)
- Alicia D. Myers, Topographies of Person: Mapping Ancient Characterization in the Gospel of John (20 min)
- Steven A. Hunt, Character Studies in the Fourth Gospel: Methods, Trends, Results (20 min)
- Francis J. Moloney, The Final Appearance: Characters in John 20 (and 21) (20 min)
- James L. Resseguie, Character and Point of View: The Beloved Disciple as Test Case (20 min)
This should be a really good session. If you are interested in narrative criticism, characterization, or the Gospel of John, you will likely find something useful there.