This post will be on something different for a change. So my current reality is that every day of the week, for several weeks now, I have either been travelling or working on How Jesus Became God. Neither activity is conducive to writing posts for the blog. When I write on the book – as I did yesterday – it usually means going at it intensely all day long, until I’m brain dead, which luckily tends to coincide with the end of a chapter. Yesterday I did chapter 8, which deals with the Christological controversies of the second and third centuries, as some Christians insisted that Jesus was human but not divine (e..g, the Ebionites and the Roman Adoptionists), others maintained that he was divine but not human (the opponents of 1 John and Ignatius, and then Marcion), others claimed he was two entities, a human Jesus who was temporarily inhabited by a divine being from the heavenly realm (the Gnostics), and others who claimed he was just one entity who was both divine and human.
That final choice won the debates, but all that did was start up a whole other round of debates. Some church leaders insisted that the man Jesus was God, and that God was God, and that therefore Jesus the Son was also God the Father – one God who was both son and father (kind of like I myself am both a son and a father – depending on whom I am relating to). That view was wildly popular for a time – it apparently was the majority view around the beginning of the third century – but it got trounced by theologians like Hippolytus and especially Tertullian. But then Origen came along with his theory of how it all worked – which also made sense to some people at the time, but later also came to be declared a heresy.
Anyway, that’s what my chapter was on. And when I got done writing it, I was brain dead. No way I could write a post.
On other days I’ve been traveling to give lectures. Last week I was in Colorado visiting my best buddy from seminary who is the chaplain at Colorado College; they had invited me to give a lecture there, and I used it as an excuse to hang out with my friend (and his wife, who was also a friend in seminary); I ended up spending a lot of time talking with students and so on, not to mention a lot of time in the air and at airports. Those days too were not conducive to writing posts.
And so, since I haven’t been able to write fresh posts every day (or, well, any day) I’ve been posting bits and pieces from my book How Jesus Became God. You may have noticed. I hope it hasn’t gotten too monotonous. Today is another travel/lecture day, but I’ve had some free time to explain myself(I got in a couple of hours before my official obligations), which is what I’m doing now. I’m at Centre College in Danville KY, to give a lecture this evening. Then I’m traveling back to NC tomorrow, and then off to Boston to see the grandkids (and, oh yeah, their parents…) for a few days. Then it’s back for a week to finish the book, before heading off to Israel for ten days.
So next week will be more How Jesus Became God posts. I don’t know how I’ll manage to post anything from Israel, but if I have wi-fi and energy enough, I will, to talk about the trip. These trips are completely exhausting. It’s a great deal for me. It’s an alumni trip for UNC, and in exchange for giving a few lectures, I get a free trip. Fantastic! But these alumni tours are exhausting, since the tour companies realize that most people will come to this part of the world only once in their lives, and so they understandably CRAM everything they can into the ten days or so, doing an unbelievable amount of stops here there and everywhere, especially in a place like Israel. So I *hope* to carve out some time to blog, but I can make no promises….
Anyway, apologies for this post with no real content, other than to explain myself. My plan tomorrow is to say something about these colleges I’m giving lectures at and to explore how different they are as institutions of higher education from the one where I have my day job (which is a major state research university instead of a small liberal arts college).
And please, if you have topics you would really like me to address, please let me know. I can’t guarantee that I’ll get to anything immediately, but if I have some questions / issues/ concerns in the hopper, it makes my life so much easier.