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May 28, 2009

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Éric Wingender

Some years ago, I experienced what I would describe as an "anthropolical shift". It was brought about by reading scholars like Bruggemann. It is as if, by paying attention to the details of the OT narratives and their oddness (a term Bruggemann is extremely found of), I was sort of sent back into the "real world".

Gradually, because of the biblical witness, I was able to grant myself the permission to reclaim large chunks of my humanity (raised a nominal catholic in a french-speaking home in Québec, I had a conversion experience at 15 in a context where many people seemed to have lost part of their humanity simply by virtue of trying so hard to live "in the Bible" instead of living with the Bible).

I take from this experience that, unknowingly, several streams in the Christian church seem to be playing host to a defective and imbalance (and implicit) anthropology. It is defective and imbalance because it tends to underplay if not outright deny the presence and the importance of many facets that make human life...human. These streams lead people to imagine man as a sort of a free floating spiritual entity with no real history, no real connection to society, no real connection to the environment,etc.

The OT frankness about the messyness and ambiguity of life, its witness to the "thickness" that caracterizes the human experience (the fact we exist through being connected to a wide variety of realities and spheres (social, cultural, historical, economical, ecological, etc), and how God achieves his saving design through all this, is one way to correct this defective and unhealthy anthropology. The OT as a witness to this complex and deep anthropology also forms the larger context we need to read and understand the New Testament. In short: too weak an appropriation of the OT may lead to a docetic view of christian life.

Michael W. Kruse

Thanks Eric. I've had a similar journey in my interaction with the Bible over the years as well.

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