Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wright's Eschatology

A snippet from Jesus and the Victory of God (pp. 96-97) on Christian apocalypse and eschatology:
Jesus and the Victory of GodWhat then was Jesus talking about? It is time, as I shall argue in detail later on, to reject the old idea that Jesus expected the end of the space-time universe - though this does not mean, as the 'Jesus Seminar' has imagined, that Jesus did not use 'apocalyptic' language. Nor does it mean, as I find myself accused of saying by some colleagues, that we have hereby 'abandoned eschatology'. Far from it. I wish to stress that, in my view, first-century Judaism, and Jesus as firmly within it, can be understood only within a climate of intense eschatological expectation, whose character I have already tried to make clear. If this position is taken, it becomes possible to move, as Caird did, to the claim that Jesus' warnings about imminent judgment were intended to be taken as denoting (what we would call) socio-political events, seen as the climactic moment in Israel's history, and, in consequence, as constituting a summons to national repentance. In this light, Jesus appears to be a successor to Jeremiah and his like, warning Israel that persistence in her present course will bring political disaster, which in turn should be understood as the judgment of Israel's own god. But Jesus is not merely a successor, one in a continuing line of prophets. His warnings include the warning that he is the last in the line. This is, I think, what Jesus' eschatology is all about. Israel's history is drawing to its climax. [source]