Editorial -- By: Anonymous
JETS 48:1 (March 2005) p. 1
No one can accuse our Society of dealing with irrelevant issues. This past November, the topic of our annual conference was, "What Is Truth?" Following the presidential address by Greg Beale, the present volume gathers together the four plenary addresses delivered on this subject from a biblical, systematic theological, philosophical, and hermeneutical perspective. The question of truth continues to be an all-important item of discussion in our postmodern world, and no one is better equipped to address it than those who believe in the inerrant and inspired Word of God.
The topic of the upcoming annual ETS meeting, "Christianity in the Early Centuries," likewise is a pressing topic whose relevance has recently been underscored by Dan Brown's bestselling book The Da Vinci Code. The fact that several of our members have taken the time to write book-length responses from an evangelical Christian perspective shows that many perceive the debate surrounding The Da Vinci Code to be a golden opportunity to deal with the issues it addresses, including the deity of Christ and issues related to the formation of the canon.
As ETS vice president and program chairman Edwin Yamauchi writes in his Call for papers, "More specifically, we are concerned about the increasing challenge presented by Walter Bauer's thesis of competing Christianities which has been publicized by Elaine Pagels and Bart Ehrman, and has now been widely popularized through The Da Vinci Code. Our sub-theme would therefore be: 'Orthodoxy and Heresy in the Early Church: Missing Scriptures? Missing Christianities?'"
In fact, there appears to be a direct connection between last year's theme of "What Is Truth?" and this year's theme of "Christianity in the Early Centuries" as Professor Yamauchi has defined it. If Jesus did not know himself to be divine and never claimed divinity for himself, but his divinity is merely a later projection by the institutional Church, this would dramatically alter the way we perceive the question of truth. Many of you will already be familiar with the following interchange from The Da Vinci Code that takes up this question:
"My dear," Teabing declared, "until that moment in history [the Council of Nicea], Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet ... a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal."
"Not the Son of God?"
"Right," Teabing said. "Jesus' establishment as 'the Son of God' was officially proposed and voted on by the Council of Nicea."
"Hold on. You're saying Jesus' divinity was the result of a vote?"
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