Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Messianic Secret

In 1901, William Wrede publish a book that we call in English The Messianic Secret. He called attention to passages, particularly in Mark, in which Jesus tried to conceal his deeds and identity, or in other ways tried to escape the public eye. Wrede's book was very controversial in its own time, and the passages to which he called attention continue to be the subject of debate even today. These passages, or some combination of them, are generally thought to represent a more or less unified theme in Mark called the "messianic secret."
I have a new book on the messianic secret coming out in October of this year. Actually, to say that the book is about the messianic secret is a bit misleading, because part of what I'm arguing is that the term "messianic secret" is not culturally appropriate for first-century Mediterranean people. The texts associated with this motif are really about honor and shame. It's been a fascinating topic to research and about which to write. If you want to check out the book, click on this link.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Theology and Down Syndrome

I really benefitted from reading Amos Yong’s Theology and Down Syndrome: Reimagining Disability in Late Modernity (Baylor University Press, 2007, 425 pp.). Amos Yong is a very fine scholar who draws upon a wide range of theological traditions in this text. Much of the book is about disability theory and disability theology in a broad sense, rather than about DS specifically, though intellectual disability is the subject of a fair amount of the analysis. I did not find the discussion of disability in various world religions germane to the overall discussion, though other readers might find it more edifying. In Part 3 of the book Yong works through several theological loci—creation, providence, anthropology, ecclesiology, and soteriology. These discussions are rich and insightful. I found his work on soteriology fascinating. This is no light read. It is a fairly technical volume, though accessible to the non-specialist. I highly recommend this book for anyone who feels that the church should attend more fully to issues of disability.