#QOTD: Martin Hengel on Acts

downloadThe title “Acts of the Apostles” has always led the reader of his work astray. It should really be called “From Jesus to Paul”, with the sub-title “From Jerusalem to Rome”, and describes very strictly the straight line followed by the gospel from unbelieving Israel to the Gentiles. The apostles—including Peter—essentially have the function only of preparing for the appearance and activity of Paul, of providing a bridge between Jesus and Paul. Once they have done their duty, the can disappear. To serve Paul’s greater glory they have to leave the stage one after the other: he alone remains behind. The reason for such a “one-dimensional” account does not lie simply in the theme of divine guidance—this could also have been worked out in a multiform way—but in the central and positive interest in the person and missionary work of Paul. He is the real goal of this work.
Between Jesus and Paul: Studies in the Earliest History of Christianity: 2.

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#QOTD: Joachim Jeremias

There can be no doubt that in his frequent use of the passive as a circumlocution for the divine activity, Jesus followed the style of apocalyptic. We may not, however, put the connection between the two in any stronger terms. For Jesus accords to the “the divine passive” and incomparably greater place than is given in apocalyptic. He uses it not only in apocalyptic sayings in the strict sense (e.g. about the last judgment and the eschatological division), but also—enlarging its scope—to describe God’s gracious action in the present: even now God forgives, even now he unveils the mystery of his reign, even now he fulfills his promise, even now he hears prayers, even now he gives the spirit, even now he sends messengers and protects them, whereas he delivers up the one who has been sent. All these “divine passives” announce the presence of the time of salvation, albeit in a veiled way, for the consummation of the world has dawned only in a veiled form. The extension of the “divine passive” beyond purely future apocalyptic sayings, which has been carried out so widely, is connected with the central part of Jesus’ preaching and is one of the clearest characteristics of his way of speaking.
New Testament Theology, Vol. 1: The Proclamation of Jesus, 14

#QOTD: Mike Bird (@mbird12) on Jesus and the Gospel

For Jesus, the deeds that he does —healings, exorcisms, preaching to the poor—are all signs that God is becoming king and that Israel’s hopes for restoration are really, visibly, and tangibly happening. In other words, victory is on the horizon. The constellation of hopes associated with Israel’s restoration, of which Isaiah contributed much much to, included items like the advent of a messianic king, a new exodus, the return of the dispersed tribes to Israel, the pilgrimage of the Gentiles to Jerusalem, the defeat of national enemies, the rebuilding of the temple, Yahweh’s visitation to Zion, and the return to covenant righteousness, and all of these can be coordinated with the program and preaching of Jesus of Nazareth. This was his gospel, his declaration.
The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus. 15

#QOTD: C. H. Dodd on the Kerygma

In various part of the New Testament, notably in the epistles of Paul, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Gospel and Epistles of John, we have a theological edifice constructed upon this plan. The style of building differs considerably. The theology of Paul, of John, and of the author to the Hebrews, though based upon a common tradition of the centre, is far from uniform. As church architecture, based upon a universal general plan, may show the various characteristics of Romanesque, Gothic or Baroque, so each of these theologians builds after his own style. It is a great merit of modern critical study of the New Testament that it has made us appreciate the individuality of the great theologians of the apostolic age, and the rich diversity of their teaching. The question now before us is this: Granted that each of these early thinkers followed the general tradition embodied in the apostolic kerygma, and faithfully conserved its main outline, have they anything in common beyond the bare outline? To put it otherwise, given the ground-plan, and the majestic buildings erected to its pattern, can we find a substructure—a part of the actual edifice—which is common to them all, or are the several buildings individually different from the foundation up?

According to the Scriptures: The Sub-Structure of New Testament Theology, 12-13.