Friday, January 30, 2009
Storkey’s fascinating and well written book on the gender debate Origins of Difference ends with a useful summary of how the Bible deals with issues of gender. Her main point is that the Bible does not offer a simple one-dimensional response, in the terms of the debate it is not ‘essentialist’. Instead the Bible can be seen to present four dimension to the issue, Storkey calls them paradigms however since they are not opposing options it seems more appropriate to speak of dimensions.
The first dimension is that of difference, this is seen in the different creation accounts of Adam, from the dust, and Eve, from
The second is that the Bible also incorporates the idea of sameness or similarity. Both are made in the image of God, Adam recognises the women as “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh”. They are both given the cultural mandate with its authority and responsibility for God’s creation; both receive the curse and look towards the promise of redemption. Paul even goes so far as to say that there is neither “male” nor “female” in Christ suggesting at least that the difference should not be divisive or decisive.
Thirdly the Bible points to the complementarity of women and men, they fit together designed as co-helpers. Just as women came from man so now man comes from women (1 Corinthians ).
Lastly the Bible shows that men and women were made for union. No other creature was suitable for Adam and the gospel of reconciliation draws all together in the unity of the body of Christ as his church.
Storkey also points to the occasions where Jesus challenged traditional gender roles and prejudices in the way he acted towards women, such as his interaction with the Samaritan woman (John 4), the woman who suffered from bleeding (Luke 8:43-48), and the episode with Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-41). Her conclusions seem to be that (1) men and women, being different, will tend towards some differences in roles, but that these can change over time, there is no fixed ahistorical framework, (2) These differing and changing roles should be judged according to the norms set out in the Bible for loving relationships such as the fruits of the spirit (e.g. Galatians 5:16-26, Colossians 3, Romans 12:9-21). In this way Storkey finds a way out of the sterile debates about “created or constructed”, our creaturely sex/gender nature is both given with creational order and called to faithful cultural response.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Because New Critique is both a translation and a revision of Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, commentators face tricky questions when they interpret Dooyeweerd’s magnum opus. This is especially so of English passages that seem prima facie to translate the Dutch version. Sometimes there are significant differences in meaning between equivalent passages in the two works. One does not always know whether this is due to the quality of the translation or due to a change in Dooyeweerd’s conception. Although I shall note a number of these differences, to give them a complete interpretation would take me too far afield. Where the English version translates an equivalent passage in the Dutch version, I occasionally use square brackets to indicate nuances in Dutch not caught in the English version. I also silently modify translated passages in other ways, usually to render them in more idiomatic English. What Dooyeweerd scholars really need is a thorough, critical edition of NC, one that sorts out the differences between WW and NC and makes informed judgments about the nature and source of those differences. In the meantime, a careful reader of Dooyeweerd should use both WW and NC, and not assume that everything in NC is a faithful rendering of his own conception.
Perhaps I should add a critical edition of the New Critique onto my list of future reformational book, however it could be that we are still decades away from such a publication I hope not.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
These criticisms seem to me me a little unfair. Firstly even if the slide to war has acquired a sense of inevitability the first requirement of JWT is that all peaceful means have been exhausted so there is a chance to pull back and consider other avenues, the government can also be criticised for opportunities missed or deliberately spoiled. This requirement also highlights the properly limited character of JWT because it points to the need for a Just Peace Theory, which is to say that JWT should be understood as only one specific outworking of a broader theory of the states task of pursuing justice. Its ineffectiveness in preventing war is not a failure of JWT so much as a more general failure of governments to seek justice in all its actions, in particular in the international realm.
The use of JWT in trying to give a moral veneer to an unjust war is certainly to be regretted, but appeals to freedom and democracy for ideological purposes are equally to be deplored, and these need not be discredited on account of such abuse. The only other options for a critique of warmongering is an absolutistic pacificism, such a position certainly cannot be co-opted in the justification of war! However by its very absolute character pacificism is unable to engage with the specifics of a particular situation, JWT in contrast encourages a critical evaluation of the situation which can latch onto the concrete realities of states entering into peace endangering scenarios.
JWT, it should be remembered, has a role to play in evaluating the prosecution of war and military hostilities just as much as in the decision to go to war. This is illustrated in this article from the Economist on Israels actions in Gaza. In a more thorough fashion see James Skillen's assessment of the war in Iraq from a while back.
Friday, January 02, 2009
What I love about early Genesis is the rich musical textures they create, their wide ranging dynamics making the climaxes more impressive and each band member contributing something distinctive from their instruments. Anyway, here goes for my first YouTube insert. And if you enjoy this, take a look at Gabriel's surreal theatrics in their live performances here.