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Writing about Jesus/Jesus in New Testament Theology

By Robert C. Morgan

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The School of Theology Presents: The 2007 New Testament Colloquium -- "How Should We Write about Jesus?" & "Jesus in New Testament Theology" Robert C. Morgan is Emeritus Professor at Linacre College, University of Oxford. For the past 20 years he has served as vicar of St. Andrew’s Parish Church in Sandford-on-Thames in the UK. Lecture 1: "How Should We Write about Jesus?" In the first lecture, Morgan reviewed the search for the historical Jesus at the turn of the previous century and offered an orthodox correction of Albert Schweitzer's critique and program. Morgan proposed that our own faith images draw more widely than that painted by historical Jesus research alone. He offered a three-dimensional arrangement of the historical material, comprised of Christian traditions, pre-Gospel tradition, and the historical reality of Jesus. Morgan’s model of the Christ of the whole Bible is concerned with all three layers. Thus, in answering the question posed in the title of his lecture, Morgan suggests we write 1) as believers in tune with the New Testament writers, 2) as persons of our own time, and 3) within the framework of the Christ of the whole Bible. Lecture 2: "Jesus in New Testament Theology" In the second lecture, Morgan expanded on the model described in the first lecture and explored the ways in which Jesus ought to be part of a New Testament theology. He began by noting that human historical categories cannot contain what Christians want to say about Jesus. We need the language of faith. The biblical Christ in New Testament theology is rooted in history, but not defined by historical terms. Morgan thus made the following suggestions for those attempting a New Testament theology: 1) keep all of the Gospel material on board, 2) consider authoritative even those parts that are not historical, and 3) note the significance of the Gospel material in early Christian preaching.

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