Baker Academic

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Book: I (Still) Believe

Zondervan Academic will soon release an interesting project edited by two friends of mine: John Byron and Joel Lohr. The title of the book says it all:

I (Still) Believe: Leading Bible Scholars Share Their Stories of Faith and Scholarship

The table of contents is really quite impressive. Each of these senior figures tell something of their stories of continued Christian faith:

Richard Bauckham
Walter Brueggemann
Ellen F. Davis
James D. G. Dunn
Gordon D. Fee
Beverly Roberts Gaventa
John Goldingay
Donald A. Hagner
Morna D. Hooker
Edith M. Humphrey
Andrew T. Lincoln
Scot McKnight
J. Ramsey Michaels
Patrick D. Miller
R. W. L. (Walter) Moberly 

Katharine Doob Sakenfeld 

Phyllis Trible
Bruce K. Waltke

I, for one, am always interested to learn from my senior colleagues and to hear their stories. I'm curious to hear how the field has changed and how they have evolved personally. This book, I'm guessing, will also be important for those of us who are self-critical and self-reflective of the ideologies at work behind the scenes in biblical studies.

You can read more about this project here: 



  1. Dunn seems to have been particularly influential?

  2. James D. G. Dunn—Notable biblical and historical Jesus scholar, still a Christian, but he seems to have plenty of questions concerning the authority of Scripture. For instance he argues that The Gospel of John's narrative is not reliable, nor the claims it makes for Jesus' quasi-divine status. (In his earlier work, Evidence for Jesus, Dunn didn't imagine that Jesus spoke even one word reported in John.) Dunn admits there is little to support the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke, and little evidence that Jesus supported a mission to the gentiles, and no evidence that Jesus saw himself as any kind of messiah (the term does not even appear in Q), nor is there much left of the "Son of Man," except for a few uncertain eschatological allusions. Dunn argues that Jesus did not claim any title for himself. Jesus may have believed that he was going to die, but he did not believe he was dying to redeem the sins of the world. "If Jesus hoped for resurrection it was presumably to share in the general and final resurrection of the dead." There is astonishingly little support for what Jesus' last words were. There is a certain squirming as Dunn admits that Jesus believed in an imminent eschatological climax that, of course, did not happen. "Putting it bluntly, Jesus was proved wrong by the course of events." Then he goes on for four pages trying to argue that we shouldn't be too concerned about this. Dunn's account of the resurrection notes all of the weaknesses of the tradition: The link of Jesus' resurrection to a falsely imminent general resurrection, confusion as to what sort of Jesus the witnesses were seeing, a persistent theme of failure of the witnesses to recognize Jesus (in Matthew 28:17 the disciples are seeing him in Galilee yet "some doubted," not just Thomas), confusion as to where they were seeing Jesus (in Jerusalem and Galilee? on earth or in heaven?). Which is not to say that Dunn does not affirm the resurrection -- he does, but since he admits so many weaknesses and doubts concerning the written accounts he seems to prefer a visionary explanation.

  3. In order to address also the vast conservative/apologetics approach to Biblical studies I'd encourage a Volume II: "Why I am (still) a scholar" :)

  4. I'm hearing two very different voices comming out of Dunn. One very critical of Christianity. The other claiming to support it.