Dreaming of Rome

No, not in the sense of swimming the Tiber; just because the Centre of Theology and Philosophy is holding its conference in Rome, with a provocative list of speakers, and a dearth of input (so far as I can tell) from the side of biblical scholars. I respect the roster of stars, and I sympathize with many (not all) of their theological interests, but I’m flummoxed by the idea that a program such as they represent could gain significant traction without a very firm base among biblical theologians. Of course, I expect some would respond, “But these theologians are all very biblical” — which just underlines the texture of the problem.
If I had a thousand+ dollars to throw around, and if whatever job I have next year allowed me the scheduling latitude, I’d fire off a paper proposal — but that’s strictly an idle thought, for the time being.

4 thoughts on “Dreaming of Rome

  1. no, no, i should think whatever job you have next would be most happy with a done deal for you presenting a paper there, would be tickled pink as a matter of fact don’t you want to come teach for us, o presenter in rome? and should that not be the case, well, you will cross that bridge, too, if it comes. looked at in another way, times like this might be just the thing for things like these. don’t put your life on hold, ax, for want of certainty. won’t never be!

    (i’m sure you’ve advised countless others just the same, but we do tend to forget when it’s us. which is why we all have each other, of course.)

  2. Feel free to prove me wrong, but perhaps a big part of the problem here is that biblical theologians on the whole have taken a very narrow view of their task and are not perceived as having anything relevant to say to the modern world because they generally DON’T say anything about the modern world.

    Of course we are both aware of exceptions, but there you go: they are exceptions, not the rule.

  3. True enough, Paul, but I’m concerned that the RadOx flavor of theology risks withering on the vine if it’s not nourished from the roots up, and I wish that those who are acknowledged pillars (what they actually were makes no difference to me) haven’t shown as much concern with cultivating the roots of their theology as they have the philosophical branches and leaves.

  4. You’ll get no argument from me on that. I nearly always prefer to study scriptural texts to reading “theology”, but it sure would be an improvement if those two groups thought they needed each other.

    Three years back there was a conference I attended where the featured speakers were Tom Wright and Richard Gaffin (long time systematic theology prof at Westminster seminary). While Wright was much more fun to listen to, prof. Gaffin stated one thing very well in his presentation, namely that the basis of systematic theology ALWAYS has to be a deep understanding of the biblical texts. The back and forth between them was almost always over particular texts.

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