Daily Archives: July 19, 2005

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Inevitable questions

One quick thought about ‘Son of God’. I claimed in an earlier post, there was a shift from functional to ontological interpretations of that phrase as biblical texts that used it moved into a more thoroughly Hellenized context. It would be easy simply to write that off as a slide into misinterpretation, but to do so would miss the force, the inevitability of the ontological questions in the new context.

Consider a parallel. It is now impossible for us to read the Gospels and not see them as depicting power, its manipulation, and its critique. In fact, it is more-or-less impossible for us not to see that the Gospels are about power, to some significant degree. To step back from questions about power because they impose a foreign framework onto the text would seem to many of us to be an evasion – an irresponsible reading. Power questions are, for us, inevitable.

That does not mean, of course, that a power-focused reading and an ontological reading of the Gospels are ‘equally valid’ in some banal, each-to-his-own-culture sense. But it should disrupt any too-easy picture of the move to ontological questions as a simple betrayal of an original functional purity.