Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Missed Trick

Since its en vogue for Christians to comment on books that they've not yet read, there is something about Scot McKnight's latest offering, The King Jesus Gospel, the strikes me as odd. On his blog, McKnight has stated the methodology behind the book. Basically, the sources he uses to define the gospel are the four canonical gospels, the preaching in Acts, and chapter 15 of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians. The latter is the most important for McKnight's project, providing the hermeneutical lens through which we see other gospel texts.

My question is, where's Galatians? This is probably an earlier source than any of the others, and it is a letter that deals specifically with a community who are getting the gospel wrong. In short, it makes little sense to leave it out of the list of primary sources. Of course on the face of it, Galatians seems to be on the side of those who tell the "soterian gospel", so perhaps that is why McKnight's methodology has no room for it. But I think there was an opportunity to pull off some methodological jujitsu and use the force of Galatians against those who wield it. For example, Richard Hays and N.T. Wright have demonstrated ways to read Galatians that subvert the individualistic readings that have prevailed. 

In short, I think a trick was missed, at least in terms of the book's stated methodology. And because of that...

Farewell, Scot McKnight.

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