Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.


  1. Troy Salinger
    February 6, 2018 @ 2:40 pm

    I find Bauckham’s theory (along with other theories concerning the relationship between God and Christ by modern scholars) to be merely an attempt to overcome the vast difference in language between Orthodox theology and the New Testament. Why after almost 1700 yrs. are they still trying to square the language of Orthodoxy with the language of the NT? Does it never cross their minds that the problem is not just the language used to express orthodoxy but the theology of orthodoxy itself, which just doesn’t fit the NT very well. The language (as well as the theology) of the NT is simply that of the OT carried forward. This Hebraic understanding of God and His anointed one, His son, was jettisoned early on in the history of Christianity, in favor of the metaphysical conceptions of Platonic and Philonic philosophies, which were so prevalent in the 3rd and 4th centuries.


    • Mario Stratta
      February 6, 2018 @ 4:07 pm

      Talking about fitting the NT, aren’t you, perchance, jettisoning Matthew 1:18 and Luke 1:35?


      • Troy Salinger
        February 7, 2018 @ 8:34 am

        I believe fully in the miraculous conception of the man Jesus in the womb of Mary. Orthodoxy assumes a pre-existence of the one conceived, a pre-existence which Matthew and Luke know nothing of.


    • L. B. Bock
      February 10, 2018 @ 6:30 pm

      There are many problems with the simplistic version of history and theology. There is no single language and theology of the OT for talking about God nor a single way of thinking of the Messiah (Anointed). There was considerable diversity within Judaism about many important issues, including Messianic expectations. While there are good reasons to worry about excessively reading Greek philosophical ideas back into the NT, the fact is that first century Judaism was already significantly influenced by Greco-Roman ideas. Further, the view that Greek terms and ideas can’t accurately express authentically Jewish beliefs is a weird piece of cultural bias, especially since the OT was familiar to the NT authors *in Greek,* which is also the language in which the NT was (at least mostly and probably entirely) written.

      Unless you think that the Greek of the Septuagint and the Greek of the NT were somehow kept pure from the influence of Greek ideas and ways of speaking, your thesis makes no sense. There was nothing remotely resembling the clear divide between Jewish and Greek thought in the first century of the sort that your story requires.

      There is no philosophical account of the nature of the Incarnation in the NT. It isn’t a collection of philosophical treatises, after all. However, there aremany passages, most famously the extremely early Phil 2 “kenotic hymn” quoted by Paul and the first chapter of the Gospel of John, not to mention Paul’s use of “Spirit of God” and “Spirit of Christ” as virtually interchangeable, that make the tired “Jerusalem vs Athens” portrayal an obviously silly caricature of the early Church’s effort to draw out the complex claims about God, the Son, and the Spirit that Scripture presents.


      • Troy Salinger
        February 13, 2018 @ 7:14 pm

        There is indeed one single theology of the OT as to God and the Messiah. Are you suggesting there are multiple views of God and the Messiah in the OT? What is your view of Scripture? Do you see it as a divine revelation or as an amalgamation of divergent ideas about God? I see the OT as a divine revelation of God, consistent throughout. I do not see differing ideas regarding God or the concept of Messiah when I read the OT, though there is a progression in the revelation. Whether or not there was diversity within Judaism, at any given time in history, is another issue, that to my thinking is irrelevant as to what Scripture says. The Sadducees had divergent views from the Pharisees, e.g. regarding the resurrection of the dead, and Jesus told them, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures.”
        When I speak of the ‘Hebraic’ understanding of God and His son I do not mean what Jews in general might think concerning these things, but what the Hebrew Scriptures reveal. That some ‘Jews’ at every period of history have been in error in their theology is an obvious fact, but it has no bearing on the theology set forth in the revealed word of God.
        That the NT is written in Greek does not mean the authors were influenced by Greek ways of thinking. Sure the Hebraic understanding and worldview can be expressed in Greek words, that’s exactly what the authors of the NT did. What they did not do was reinterpret the OT revelation through the grid of Greek thought. Take the resurrection of the dead. They expressed the OT concept of the resurrection using the Greek language instead of being influenced by Greek thought to deny the future resurrection of the dead, as did the Sadducees.
        While there may not have been a “clear divide between Jewish and Greek thought in the first century,” there was certainly a clear divide between God’s revelation in the Scripture and Greek thought – the two are at odds on many points of theology.
        The claims of Scripture about God , the son, and the Spirit are not complex at all, but rather are quite understandable. Complexity and confusion come into the picture when we attempt to interpret God’s revelation through the grid of some outside philosophy, which is what the ‘early church’ fathers did.


    • Rivers
      February 14, 2018 @ 3:21 pm

      Good points 🙂


    • Rivers
      February 14, 2018 @ 3:22 pm

      Good points. 🙂


  2. Mario Stratta
    February 6, 2018 @ 11:07 am

    And do you think I’m right in my suggestion here that his views entail that the Father and the Son are something less than selves, something like expressions of the one divine self ..

    True. One could equally well say modes. The funny thing is that this is eerily similar to Michael Servetus’ view of Christ being included in God …


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