Jesus and the Victory of God Book Notes – “Timeless Ethics or Covenant Identity?”

“Jesus, then, was offering the long-awaited renewal and restoration, but on new terms and with new goals. He was telling the story of Israel, giving it a drastic new twist, and inviting his hearers to make it their own, to heed his warnings and follow his invitation. But what would this involve? George Caird, in a private letter written in 1982, declared: ‘It must be possible to see what course Israel should follow if she were to heed the warning.’ Jesus’ moral teaching, so-called, cannot be reduced to the level of timeless ethics. At that level, it apparently made some stringent demands, but much of it was not particularly new. Nor can it be seen simply as instruction for the ongoing life of ‘the church’, in the sense of a new community to be founded after Jesus’ death; no Galilean villager would have known what to make of such an idea. Nor was it simply, at the opposite extreme, an Interimsethik (Schweitzer’s term), a sort of martial law relevant only for the short time between the start of Jesus’ public ministry and the end of the world. If we take seriously the public persona of Jesus as a prophet, the material we think of as ‘moral teaching’, which has been categorized as such by a church that has made Jesus into the teacher of timeless dogma and ethics, must instead be thought of as his agenda for Israel. This is what the covenant people ought to look like at this momentous point in their long story.” via the Logos Bible Android app.

© 2012, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.

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