an announcement.[10] When paul writes to the Corinthians, he expresses his teaching in terms of a statement of faith in Jesus as the Christ; and at Thessalonica the author of Acts makes him say, "This Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ."[11] The essential preaching can be called simply "the word."[12] The statements of faith could appear in various forms—in a hymn, for instance[13] —and with differing elements,[14] but the striking feature about them for the present argument is their testimony to the centrality to early Christian teaching of the simple affirmation of faith. It was a natural extension of the conviction that religious truth must be directly presented, not through logical argument, but through proofs—signs, like the sign of the cross, or statements of faith, which the believer must simply accept. In practice, of course, it was quite impossible not to resort to logical argument, and as I have argued above, all the writers from Paul onward who argued for the primacy of faith over logic did so through the medium of rhetorical argument. The tension between the two poles, and the struggle to resolve it, can be seen in Christian writings throughout the early centuries, and this tension intensified as it became more necessary to find acceptable

[10] Characteristically emphasized by R. Bultmann, History of the Synoptic Tradition, 2d ed. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1968), and elsewhere; cf. G. Stanton, "Form Criticism Revisited," in What About the New Testament? Essays in Honour of Christopher Evans, ed. M. Hooker and C. Hickling (London: SCM Press, 1975), 13-27.

[11] I Cor. 15:3-5; Acts 17:3. On the affirmative nature of Christian discourse in the apostolic period, see S. Laeuchli, The Language of Faith (London: Epworth Press, 1965).

[13] Phil. 2:6-11; cf. Stanton, Jesus of Nazareth, 99-103. On credal formulas, see H. Koester, in

Robinson and Koester, Trajectories Through Early Christianity, 207-11. The origins of the (later) formal creeds themselves are somewhat controversial; see A. M. Ritter, "Glaubenbekenntnis(se), V (Alte Kirche)," in Theologische Realenzyklopädie, ed. G. Krause and G. Müller (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1977-), vol. 13 (1984), 399-412.

[14] O. Cullmann, The Earliest Christian Confessions (London: Lutterworth Press, 1949).

0 0

Post a comment