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Most Christians are unaware of the doctrinal debates taking place within the religious academic community. When they "are "aware of these discussions, they may consider them irrelevant or even harmful to Christian practice. Jaime Clark- Soles invites seminarians, seminary faculty, and church leaders to find common ground by considering the various debates, the reasons they persist, the implications of each, and how they pertain to Christian identity and faith within the larger contemporary culture. Includes study questions.
Clark-Soles began this project in order to answer the question, "What exactly does the New Testament say about death and afterlife?" It turns out that it says both more and less than one might hope or expect. By more, she means that every time the subject of death and what happens after death arises, it is clear that the authors' interests far exceed answering that single question. Their comments emerge from the concerns and experiences of living Christian communities, they relate to a larger theological and pastoral agenda, and their primary focus remains life on earth and the proper living of it. The texts say less than one may hope because no author sets out to answer my question directly. There is no systematic theology in the New Testament regarding death and aftelife. Certainly resurrection appears throughout, though differently emphasized and interpreted. Beyond that, the fascinating aspects of the question are in the details of the texts. Therefore, the appropriate question, as it turns out, is not: What does the New Testament say about death and afterlife, but what do various New Testament texts say about it? Others have sought to unify the New Testament witness, glossing over the individual pictures presented by the New Testament authors. Clark-Soles revels in the snapshots of the individuals and am less interested in the family photo. Clark-Soles inquires into the specific language that each author uses regarding death and afterlife. She explores anthropology, cosmology, eschatology, and, where relevant, theology and Christology. Finally, Clark-Soles suggests ways that the stated views function in each situation.
Jaime Clark-Soles takes readers on a dynamic journey deep into the heart of John in this lively reading of the Fourth Gospel. This book is not simply a commentary but a spiritual companion to be read alongside the Bible. Clark-Soles provides important historical and literary insights while illuminating the dramatic characters in John and emphasizing the Gospel's unique themes and symbols. Her engaging writing style will generate enthusiasm and investment in John's message. Readers will also appreciate the addition of prayers as well as questions for individual study and/or group discussion. This excellent guide will enrich our spiritual journeys while opening ourselves up to Jesus through the words, stories, questions, symbols, and characters we encounter in John's Gospel.
Scripture is powerful for all who lend it authority. Clark-Soles explores the ways in which the author of the Fourth Gospel deploys scripture to form his sectarian community. The first part of the book provides the sociological framework for addressing the role of scripture within sectarian communities. By definition, sects are in conflict with a parent tradition. How, if at all, does a sect appropriate those texts that not only "belong" to the parent tradition but also are used by that parent tradition to deride the sectarians? By investigating the dynamics of scripture in the ancient Qumran community and in the modern Branch Davidian community, Clark-Soles sheds light on the community of the Fourth Gospel.
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