Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nashotah Reflections

Last night I returned home safely from a very intensive week at Nashotah House Seminary.  Condensing an entire course on Romans into 20+ hours proved to be utterly draining, yet invigorating at the same time.  Dr. Anderson led us through what is undoubtedly one of the most challenging books in the New Testament.  No wonder so many have fought so many battles on its epistolary turf.  St. Peter's early comments that many in his time had already misunderstood his colleague Paul proves even now to be prophetic.  Nevertheless, what a glorious treasure trove of theological gems hiding within the apostle's robust letter! We were assigned two commentaries, one by Joseph Fitzmyer, as esteemed Jesuit scholar, and one by Leander E. Keck.  Both are commendable scholars, yet Fitzmyer's higher critical bent could not ultimately be hid, especially in his less than transparent comments on Adam in Romans 4.  Apparently he doesn't believe him to be a real person, although he believes Paul did.  I think.  Keck was refreshing in his effort to present Paul as quite Christocentric, although his choice of "rectifying" for "justification" seemed a bit awkward.  All in all, though, they are good resources to be used with the usual caution.

I have a few papers yet to write, and my plan for the final one is a review and examination of Luther's and Melanchthon's exposition of Romans 13:1-7.  This passage has historically been a foundational scripture for the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, and I am curious as to how they handle it, especially in light of modern exegesis as a comparison.  I am especially interested in examining Melanchthon, as his commentary was recently republished by CPH, and highly commended.

When I complete this course I will have but two to go to finish the degree.  I will take one this summer, and one next January.  In between I hope to begin work on my thesis.  Well, that's the plan for now.

I didn't think I would necessarily think too far beyond this academically, but I am beginning to seriously muse about doctoral work now.  I am looking, however, at the possibility of pursuing this work in England rather than the states.  Again, that's just 'musing' for now.  I still have a lot to complete before I can seriously entertain those options.....

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