Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The Confessions of A Biblical Scholar

How does a biblical scholar confess his "sins" to one another (cf. James 5:16)?

Well, this is my 10 confessions as a budding NT scholar.

I confess that there is a BIG difference between a theologian and a biblical scholar. Theologians argue about things in the air and they can never come to an agreement. Biblical scholars argue about things in the text and they can never come to an agreement.

I confess that no matter how hard I tried reading Systematic Theology textbooks by Wayne Grudem and Millard Erickson, I am still not too sure whether theology can be systematic.

I confess that I have read a good bit of N. T. Wright and appreciate much of what he has to say, I am still not too sure whether Wright is right after all.

I confess that I have read James Dunn and learn much of what he has to say on Paul, and I wonder how many people are done with Dunn on the new perspective on Paul.

I confess that Richard Hays provides tremendous help in clearing the haze when I try to make sense of the function of Paul's use of the Hebrew Bible, whether it is an echo, an allusion, a citation, or a quotation.

I confess that Richard Hays, N. T. Wright, Rollin Grams, Stephen Fowl, Ben Witherington, and Michael Gorman have been instrumental in shaping the use of narrative approach in my investigation of Paul's sufferings in 2 Corinthians.

I confess that the two most memorable pilgrimages I took in the UK as a student were the visit to Chester Beatty Library where I finally had a glance of the P46 and the visit to British Library where I finally had a glimpse of the Codex Sinaiticus.

I confess that the highlight of my doctoral studies is the visit to ancient Corinth where I saw, felt, walked the Corinth that St Paul saw - not to mention the short visit to Acrocorinth (long gone were the 1,000 prostitutes that made the hill famous).

I confess that the Almighty has a very humorous way of dealing with a city boy like me when he sent me to two RURAL settings (I mean really ulu kampung) for my theological studies - in Massachusetts and Wales (ever wonder how a city boy survived that)?

I confess that many people in the seminary are confused about my personality - some think I am a sanguine, some think I am a melancholic, and some seriously think I am confused (or perhaps they are confused), and some question how I can be both at the same time (well, let's keep the guessing game on).

18 comments:

Alex Tang said...

Hi Kar Yong,

Nice confessions with some good puns. Touches on some touchy points too. For your penance, say 10 Our Fathers. :)

pearlie said...

You might just be a major melancholic and a secondary sanguine. Melancholics has this knack of being a sanguine when situation calls for it :)

Confessions eh?
You made me check the dictionary what a confession is !!! hahaha

(1) a formal statement admitting to a crime, a reluctant acknowledgment
(2) a formal admission of one's sin privately to a priest
(3) (also confession of faith) a statement setting out essential religious doctrine.
* the religious body or Church sharing a confession of faith.
Concise Oxford English Dictionary 11e

Hmmm ... which is it now?

pearlie said...

hahaha ... I just realised the purpose for the cartoon ... good one! As Sarah has commented to me - "Kar Yong ah, very resourceful one." I believe her!

Kar Yong said...

Well, Pearlie....

The cartoon suggests that my confession is as per your definition (2). By quoting James 5:16, it is something like (1). But then publishing it in the blog as "The confessions of a biblical scholar" as the 3rd offering in the series of "how does a biblical scholar..." might suggest that it is (3)...So one stone kills three birds...

Sarah once thot that I am a sanguine, but after I completed my PhD, she has second thots...(well..she thinks a sanguine won't do PhD and organise his library..."

But who am I??? Hahaha...that's the guessing game...Perhaps I am confused too....

:-)

Kar Yong said...

Ok, Alex... Our Father...Our Father...

Kar Yong said...

Oh yes, pearlie...about my personality...hint hint...read confession 9...why did the good Lord send a happening city boy to a quiet ulu kampung (and I mean really really ulu) with inconvenient public transport to the city...?? Arghhhh...so that he is forced to study and not be distracted by the "fun" out there in the city...

pearlie said...

one stone kills three birds...
this one is a counter to your confession #1, where both theologians and biblical scholars are similar ... i.e. cannot decide which one!

she thinks a sanguine won't do PhD and organise his library
Really?

happening city boy
you are???

"fun" out there in the city
What "fun"? hmmm...

The Hedonese said...

Dr Kar Yong ar... all these biblical scholars always bicker about the text show that literal-grammatical interpretation are "Boh yong" ler! :D

heheh... funny post

Kar Yong said...

Pearlie,

This does not counter confession #1 lah...we all cannot decide/agree...but the question is what we cannot decide/agree - things in the air or things in the text (if you notice...I quote James 5:16) :-)

Don't speculate on what is the "fun"...

Hahaha

Kar Yong said...

Dave ah...

whether "boh yong" or "ou yong"...at least we fight over something concrete, ie the text...rather than fighting in the air (cf. 1 Cor 9:26b)...hehehe

Global-South said...

I confess that missiologists argue about things in other people's culture and they can never come to a contextualized agreement.

I confess that after reading missions by Bosch, i went to buy some audio systems.

I confess I had McDonald's burger while reading McGavran, and chomping fries when reading de Vries. And they could not come to a homogenized agreement.

alwyn said...

I confessed I smiled a lot after reading your post, :)

rccnlj said...

*big grin* you're teruk-ly funny as usual. Great post! Keep 'em coming.

Deep Furrows said...

I guess what happened in the Acrocorinth stayed in the Acrocorinth...

The Hedonese said...

Aiyoo... Now the latest buzz says "There is nothing outside of the text" liao... hehehe...

kerepok said...

"There is nothing outside of the text" liao

Mind to elaborate?

julie james said...

El arrepentimiento es la aurora de la virtud (Karamzine)

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