Lively prose fills much of N. T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God.
At times I’ve burst out laughing. Who else could get away with a paragraph like this?
This brings us to the question of what second-Temple Jews believed about ‘the end of the world’, which obviously impinges on New Testament discussions about the ‘parousia’ and related topics. At the risk of arousing thunderbolts of wrath and showers of angry meteorites, I venture to suggest that the scholarly construct of a ‘parousia’ in which the space-time universe would cease to exist, followed by the second-order construct of a ‘delay’ in this event which then precipitates a new sort of Christian self-consciousness, has been an enormous black hole in historical understanding into which legions of scholars have sucked one another through the gravitational forces of their unremitting zeal for ‘the traditions of the fathers’ – ‘the fathers’ in this case being Schweitzer, Bultmann and their various successors. Woe betide those who break the traditions! The wrath of the blessed guild of biblical scholars, who wear their fringes long and their phylacteries broad, will fall upon them! As Philo said about the thousands of Pharisees with sharp eyes, ready to spot any infringement and pounce on it, so in our world too there are those who have ways of making their traditions prevail.