The Last Word

Well, I’m almost finished with it – though I must admit that reading The Last Word, by N.T. Wright, was a lesson in humility.  I wasn’t quite prepared for the depth to which I would be out of my league! 🙂

Still, after reading and then rereading and then rereading again some parts, I think I got sort of the gist of things – and I enjoyed it.  That said, I’m sure there’s much that I’ve not gotten.  But at least it got me thinking, and I think I’m definitely motivated now to try my hand at more religious literature (until now, I don’t think I’ve read a single book addressing religion – with the exception of Studies in the Scriptures).

Furthermore, I’m proud to say that I finally understand (after looking them up multiple times) the words: hermeneutics, eschatology, exegis, and nihilism.  The real trick will be to see how long I remember them! 🙂

There are a few questions I have that I thought I’d post here – allowing, at the very least, Pete to comment on them as well as anybody else who actually visits this blog.

1) What exactly is the difference between ‘theology’ and ‘biblical studies’ (TLW, pg.4 ¶1)? (to me they sound the same)

2) What exactly is the “explicitly materialist ‘prosperity gospel’ which results from right-wing misreading of Scripture (TLW, pg.106 bottom)?

3) How is “attempted ‘biblical’ support for the modern state of Israel a right-wing misreading (p.108 top)?

4) Where does the Bible “envisage women as apostles and deacons, and as leading in worship” (p.109 middle)?

Those, of course, are the easy questions.  The difficult ones were such that I didn’t even know what I was reading or what to ask.  But it was overall a good experience.

Thanks for the recommendation, Pete. 🙂

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One Response to “The Last Word”

  1. repercussio Says:

    Hey–cool. I didn’t realize you were reading Wright. Now we can pepper our conversations with “hermeneutics” and the like.

    On your 4 questions–these are *my* takes on them. No guarantee that they are right:

    1)As he states, it’s a modern distinction, and I take it to be similar to the difference between Law and Torah. Biblical Studies is concerned with the texts themselves, whereas theology is the systematic beliefs and interpretations of the texts.

    2) I take the “prospoerity gospel” to refer to those who think that the old testament, in particular, promises wealth to those who follow its precepts. When I *briefly* dabbled in multi-level marketing after high school (basically an Amway spinoff), I heard this a fair amount from people there.

    3) He’s painting with a very broad brush here, because “conservative,” in this instance, would be more political than theological; conservative politicians tend to support Israel far more than liberals. On this issue, I’m of two minds: on the one hand, as a student of history, Israel has always been an amazing case study in cultural enlightenment, and their cultural survival and influence could only be rivaled by *[on second thought, it’s unrivaled], which leads me to believe in some serious divine intervention on their behalf; on the other hand, I think some Christians can take present support too far and too policitcally. Even among the Bible Students (such as the Ken Rawson perspective), there is disagreement about his message and approach. I’m still batting this one around.

    4)The most direct and concise statement of his views is here.

    Hope this helps. Again, just my take. Peter

    * edited for content at the poster’s request (8/24/06) – WL

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