I started reading Roy Harrisville's Fracture this evening to take a break from some gender material in which I've been immersing myself lately. I only finished the introduction, but Harrisville's project is really fascinating. He basically argues that the predominant belief concerning salvation history does not do justice to the revolutionary character of the Christ-event. Instead of Jesus Christ serving as this final capstone so to speak within a "process of revelation", the New Testament figures saw the life and death of Jesus Christ as something which transformed and defied all of their paradigms. Revolutionary is the only word that best describes the heart of what Harrisville is trying to communicate. This seems to accord with the sense I get as I've been studying Galatians for the past few months; that the crucified Lord in Jesus Christ means nothing less than the radical crucifixion of all that is. Galatians has been difficult to go through for a variety of reasons, not least because of this radicalness that I've been encountering. As I said in the post below, I often don't know what to do with the content of the letter. But I appreciate that Harrisville captures this understanding that something rather revolutionary is occurring for Paul in the Christ-event:
While it is true that the apparatus of the method, language, and concepts that Paul uses to proclaim his gospel are not at all unique to him, and that he scarcely uses a single device in argument of interpretation that has not already been used by others who never shared his faith, the focus - the concentration - of everything in his possession, whether of method, language, or conceptuality, on a single theme, a single event, a single person, represents a challenge to the application of the linear or cumulative notion of his experience. He says: "May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal. 6:14). According to Paul Minear, only when we give proper weight to the revolution that occurs in Paul's own religious world does this "triple crucifixion" of Christ, the world, and Paul make sense. Although the expression is clearly metaphorical, Paul was not playing with trivial figures of speech. The experience was so overwhelming that he was impelled to use figurative language to do it justice. First of all, the world that had been "crucified" to Paul was not a world he had hated. Its crucifixion assumed his prior intimate attachment to it: "He has been as far from hating this cosmos as he had been from hating himself as a son of Abraham." Second, in speaking of himself as crucified to the world, Paul signaled an event with cosmic, ontological proportions, something that was a world away from subjective experience; for, of whatever sort the world or existence might be, it was now all subordinated to the event that had effected the double crucifixion of the world to Paul and Paul to the world - "the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
- Roy Harrisville, Fracture: The Cross as Irreconcilable in the Language and Thought of the Biblical Writers, 3-4.