Saturday, May 12, 2012

Walter Wink's passing, non-violent resistance and its fans

It's reported that Walter Wink has passed away. He is a very influential New Testament scholar who has a whole generation of scholars following his works. 

Besides the evaluation of the pincipalities and powers in the Scriptures, his other most important work is the development of a pacifist position generally known as 'creative non-violent resistance'.

Honestly, I don't have much regard for the latter work of Wink because it has no substance. Wink's position of creative non-violent resistance is plucked out from thin air. In Singapore's idiom, his work is full of smoke. 

There is no evident to support his reading of Matthew 5:30 ("anyone slaps your right cheek, turn to him your left") to mean creative non-violent resistance. I've written about this previously. 

And I'm amazed that there is a generation of writers (for e.g. David Garland, Glen H. Stassen, David P. Gushee and even N.T. Wright!) who follow Wink's interpretation despite there is no supporting evident for it. These are not any writers, but learned people with Ph.D degree in Biblical Studies!

An example of biblical scholarship that is built on smoke.

However, this does not mean that I'm not inspired by Wink at all. I do. But not in how he justifies his 'creative non-violent resistance.'


Martin Yee said...

Hi Sze Zeng,

Interesting article. This seems to be a case of eisegesis instead of exegesis trying to be radical. Hermeneutics can be very tricky horse to ride. The rider can slip off left or right if not careful and balance themselves with proper Gospel.

Congrats on your graduation today. Your professional journey as a theologian and philosopher has just started. Hope you can write many books in the future. Human memory is rather short. If you do not write, nothing much will be remembered of you in posterity. If you write prodigiously like Athanasius, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin and Karl Barth many generations will still ponder and interpret your ideas even a few hundred or a thousand years from now.

Wish you God's blessings and grace for your future struggles and endeavours for God's Kingdom and justice.


Sze Zeng said...

Hi Martin,

Sorry for late reply. Was busy over the whole week because of the graduation.

Yes, Wink's creative non-violent resistance has no exegetical support. And those who follow him are misled.

Thank you for the congrats. :)