Thursday, 6 September 2007

How Does A Biblical Scholar...? The Struggle to Give A Public Lecture

I have been invited to give a 20-minute lecture on "Was Jesus Political?" from a New Testament perspective for the OHSMI Inaugural Dialogue to be held on September 15, 2007. I think the biggest struggle for me is how should I organise the lecture? At what level I should be giving the lecture - should it be more intellectual or devotional? How can I strike a balance?

I guess it all depends on the crowd that would be coming. If OHSMI dialogue is "designed for good scholarship towards effective discipleship," then I am tempted to do something more scholarly and intellectual. Perhaps there might be a group of people that might appreciate this approach. But again, being a public dialogue, the audience might be mixed and I am also concerned that perhaps some of the crowd may not fully appreciate or understand some of the issued addressed and where I am coming from - and the picture of Jesus that I will paint may differ significantly from one that they are used to - the Saviour of the world - and this may cause uneasiness among some of them.

I guess at the back of my mind, the question I have is this: Can Jesus, in the words of Scot McKnight, "be understood if he is described exclusively, or even primarily, in the category of a spiritual master, or as one who was primarily concerned with the inner religious life and its disciplines for the individual"? Is there a place in our faith for a "political" Jesus instead of merely a "spiritual" Jesus?

The struggle of a budding NT scholar in giving a public lecture.....Hope I survive!


Paul said...

Just 20 minutes? Interesting to see what you will present with a 20 minute time limit

Kar Yong said...


20 min is not too bad, cos in SBL meetings, we are given about 20-25 mins to read our paper.

So for 20 min, I would still have to write about 2,500 words!!

Alex Tang said...

hi kar yong and paul,

For a 20 minutes talk you have to write 2,500 words! I am preparing for a plenary talk in a student conference and I was given one hour. That means 7,500 words!!! Arghhh. That's more words than I speak in a day.

pearlie said...

Kar Yong,
So how did it go? Will you be blogging it? You have piqued my curiousity ... Is there a place in our faith for a "political" Jesus instead of merely a "spiritual" Jesus? And what use would that be, having a political Jesus in our faith? What would "a political Jesus in our faith" mean in the first place?

Kar Yong said...


I'll let you know next week after the event...

Better still, come to the dialogue if you are able...then after the dialogue, we can go to SUFES...hehe

pearlie said...

aiyuh ... that is the trouble with me when I speed read, I sometimes miss the most important point!! My Saturdays are quite good lately and I may take up your offer on that. PJ Gospel Hall is the one that was just renovated right? OK I am signing up :)

Kar Yong said...

See you there!

The Hedonese said...

Sorry to hijack ur blog, but Kong Beng former dean of Msia Bible Seminari and cofounder of OHMSI needs 10 strong, able bodied men to help with some chair-moving on that day... basically you'd need to come at 9.12 am and contact him at by Saturday

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