A Biblical and Systematic Eschatology
Imprint: Baylor University Press
Sales Date: 2023-08-16
318 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.16 in
- Published: August 2023
For Professors: Exam Copies
In Scripture, a number of individuals are raised from the dead prior to Jesus Christ. Whereas these were once interpreted as prefigurations of that climactic event, a series of challenges in the modern period led to the dismissal of the accounts of the widow's son at Nain, Lazarus, and others as irrelevant to a theology of resurrection. For "they would die again," as scholars as diverse as Karl Barth and N. T. Wright have argued.
With Refiguring Resurrection, Steven Edward Harris contests this position by drawing on recent literary and theological interpretation of the Bible, as well as the deep wells of premodern exegesis and theology, to demonstrate how Scripture itself views these events as dialectical signs, shadows, or figures of Christ’s resurrection—and humanity's own future. Furthermore, Harris develops a comprehensive eschatology in which the figural character of these earlier resurrections is taken into account while considering the four last things of Christ’s return, final resurrection, last judgment, and new creation. An eschatology thus emerges that sets a new direction for theology in several areas of recent discussion: inaugurated eschatology, the figural reading of Scripture, puzzle cases regarding resurrection in analytic theology, whether believers can properly be said to "go to heaven" when they die, and the debate between narratival and apocalyptic interpretations of the apostle Paul.
Refiguring Resurrection offers a robust, canonically holistic "figural eschatology" that has not been defended in three centuries. By being more faithful to Christian Scripture, this is an approach more theologically promising than any offered in the modern era, including the twentieth century "rediscovery of eschatology."
Steve Harris' eschatology works with an assumption that is as indispensable as it is uncommon—that Christ's resurrection rips history wide open to divine intervention. Insisting that Christ himself is the true telos of our eschatological hope, Harris retrieves premodern figural interpretation by arguing that Christ's resurrection is ontologically linked to earlier and later resurrections from the dead. The result is a superb systematic and biblical eschatology that creatively and boldly casts new light on key contemporary eschatological debates. Refiguring Resurrection extricates us from the unhelpful cul-de-sacs that modern metaphysical constraints have placed upon us.~Hans Boersma, Saint Benedict Servants of Christ Chair in Ascetical Theology, Nashotah House Theological Seminary
This is an immensely learned and provocative essay in dogmatic theology. By drawing our attention to the prefiguring of Jesus' resurrection in a wide range of biblical stories in both parts of the canon Harris challenges us to stretch our eschatological imaginations. Might it be that the God who raised Jesus from the dead is still 'practicing resurrection?' Harris helps us see how this might be so.~Joseph Mangina, Wycliffe College, Toronto School of Theology