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T. F. Torrance on the transition to the Apostolic Fathers

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#41 Sacha


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Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:53 PM

Torrance makes significant mistakes/errors in his analysis of the Fathers. Putting aside the most obvious anachronistic presuppositional bias he inserts into his reading of the early Fathers, it is very telling to see him ignore/sweep under the rug the references to 'charis' in the book of Hebrews and James.

Had he not laden the texts with an a priori reformed theological grid, he would realized that underlying their writing is the presence of a deep honor/patronage cultural backdrop against which true grace/charis finds its expression. The phrase "insulted the Spirit of Grace" for example in Hebrews reveals this patron/client understanding of grace and the return of grace for grace. Torrance poorly construed the writings as mere moralisms or works righteousness, betraying his lack of understanding of the rich character of charis in the 1st century setting. It's sad that his work is still seen by many in the Protestant as seminal, I find his analysis to be very weak and deficient. But to be fair to him, he was very young when he wrote the thesis.

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