Christ and Spirit in the New Testament: In Honour of Charles Francis Digby Mottle edited by B. Lindars and S. S. Smalley (Cambridge University Press /8.30)
After a brief curriculum vitae and a complete bibliography of C. F. D. Moule come 27 essays from a galaxy of exegetes. These include C. K. Barrett, M. Black, J. Dupont, W. G. Kuemmel, R. Schnackenburg, and E. Schweizer. The seven essays in foreign languages are furnished with an English summary.
Teaching the Faith by Leonard Johnston (Sliced & Ward £1.95) Real biblical scholarship has the extraordinary by-product of making a man relaxed in his faith and secure where others are frenetic and aggressive. It is wonderful to have a biblical scholar of Leonard Johnston's excellence turning his mind to the practical requirements of teachers, working in the classroom.
He has not devised a book about teaching methods or hints on preparing classes, but turns his attention to matters where most teachers find themselves peculiarly uneasy. He has succeeded at once in helping teachers to feel confident and at the same time he has given us an extraordinary insight into what the teaching of the Church real ly is. •
As he says: "Much of what has often been taught with , cheerful assurance is not really an essential part of doctrine at all". What is required from most of us is a little hook — a "little faith" — (Matt. 25,21) God wants all men to know him not only clever people with plenty of time to think things out."
All teachers everywhere should have this book immediately available. It tackles without shirking the modern difficulties around the questions of redemption, sin and sinfulness, the Church, prayer and the sacraments, and many more. There is a valuable appendix on the Bible itself which gives us, in six pages, material for a lifetime's meditation.
This is a hook by a teacher of teachers. His flair for vivid metaphor and simile in this summary of the Faith and the modern presentation of traditional Catholic belief deserves a wider audience.
J. P. Fay The coverage of the New Testament is uneven. Of the 22 articles concerning specific writings, half deal with the Gospel of John, or Acts, or Corinthians. But the Gospel of Luke, Hebrews, and the Pastoral Epistles are not represented. The Catholic Epistles are dealt with directly only in the study by Black of "Maranatha" in Jude.
The four general essays on the Christology of individual writings are useful. E. Troeme considers that Mark commends the suffering Christ in order to awaken the Church to its demanding responsibility of preaching the gospel. The stream of tradition drawn on by Matthew and Luke (Q) examines both the authority of Jesus and his demands, blending kerygmatic and didactic material (G. N. Stanton).
John sees no contradition between divine sonship denoting Jesus' moral affinity and his metaphysical union with God (J. A. T. Robinson). Smalley detects in Acts a "Petrine" insight into the suffering Messiah, which is more developed in First Peter.
Another four essays examine the teaching of other works about the Spirit. E. Earle Ellis argues that in First Corinthians Paul stresses the unity of the Spirit with the exalted Christ in order Moth to emphasise that true spiritual wisdom is steeped in the Cross, and to exclude angelic beings as mediators of charismatic endowments.
Colossians focuses on Christ rather than on the work of the Spirit, which seems to have evoked a nebulous enthusiasm (Schweizer). F. F. Bruce traces the manifold operation of the Spirit in the Apocalypse; and R. McLaren Wilson examines it in the gnostic literature.
Two women ask what went wrong in the Corinthian Church (M. E. Thrall: overemphasis on communion with Christ the glorious second Adam); and in the Colossian Church (M. D. Hooker: no peculiar home-grown heresy, but the widespread pagan fear of evil spirits and the attraction of Jewish observances combining to edge out the allsufficiency of Christ).
The last two essays contribute to the vindication of the — in the technical sense — mythical interpretation of Jesus offered by the New Testament. Professor John Mbiti of Kampala probably speaks for many firstcentury Christians as well as for contemporary Africans, when he says: "The mythical and the mystical is often more valid, more solid, more tenable, than that which is otherwise too explicit and exposed."
Jesus cannot be trimmed too thin if he is to be experienced as the Redeemer. "African Christians perhaps experience 'our Saviour' more readily in the capacity of his myth and mystique, than they would if they had a more historical grasp of Jesus and a spiritualised conception of salvation."
D. T. Rowlingson reminds us that the Resurrection is not an unexpected apotheosis, but the divine stamp of approval on the life-style of Jesus. He notes that only those who already had some sympathetic penetration into Jesus' character could appreciate his post-Resurrection appearances, which "involved a loving and loyal response to one who had proved himself worthy of such a response."
The Resurrection was the transformation of the worthy and willing sacrificial offering so that it could enter the presence of the Father. Professor Moule would approve of this moral continuity between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith.
B. M. Nolan