The Pilgrimage, Turkey, Part Three

In the afternoon we went first to the spice Bazaar and saw some bizarre spices, and then took a cruise on the Bosphorus for a while. The spice bazaar is part of, or next to the Grand Bazaar, now immortalized in the movie Skyfall for a motorcycle chase across the tiles of the roof of the bazaar, which Ms. Broccoli paid handsomely to repair thereafter. Istanbul is really the end of the spice road, where all those sorts of things finally land to be sold. And if you think you’ve seen spices before, you haven’t seen anything like this. As they say around here ‘spices bring variety to life’ (as opposed to ‘variety is the spice of life’). Of course they sell other things as well such as a zillion kinds of tea.






Before we got on the boat we were offered some famous Turkish sesame seed buns….

Now when I say cruise on the Bosphorus, I do not mean this…..

Cruise boats like that are just elephantine eating yachts, and oh yes occasionally you stop and see a few sights. You waste most of your time on the boat, not seeing the sights. Cruises for a vacation, o.k., cruises for a tour or a pilgrimage— no way. Enough said.

We sailed off to the main Europe/Asia bridge and back, getting see along the shore, the following: 1) lovely houses and restaurants; 2) a mosque; 3) military schools, and universities; 4) palaces; 5) gardens and gazebos, and of course, Istanbul in the distance.
The boat you see in this picture is like the one we were on. The air was cool, the sun was high, the sky was blue, and if you can’t take pictures under these conditions, there is no hope.




In the following picture you can see the bottom of the new bridge, as we sail under it.

As we come back to shore the skyline comes into view again from the Galata Tower across the bridge to the old downtown and the mosques.

  • PastorM

    What are you seeing in regard to the state of the few Christians there?

  • BenW3

    They are doing quite well indeed in places like Antalya and elsewhere. BW3

  • brad

    Professor Witherington,

    I’ve been reading through your blog on Wright’s new book, Paul and the Faithfulness of God. I am reading your critiques of Wright’s understanding of the Israel’s vocation. You repeatedly state Wright is wrong about Israel’s original job to “save” the world. So, what in your view was Israel’s national vocation? What does it mean for them to be a “light” to the world. Simply to point to Israel’s God?

    A separate but related question, What was the point of the mosaic covenant if Israel was unable to keep it anyway? Even a cursory reading of Exodus and Numbers reveals their inability to keep the terms of the covenant and this is before it’s even ratified in Deuteronomy. I am confused as to how you believe it all fits together.

    Wright’s view seems to have a coherence to it that makes sense of the entire biblical record.

    I am sorry to post this question here. Many of the blog posts on the Wright text seem not to have the comment feature enabled.

  • BenW3

    Hi Brad: I think if you keep reading the critique through to the end, your questions will be answered. Once the 25 Turkey posts are done the blog posts return to dealing with Wright’s fine book. The short answer is that being a light to the nations refers to just what such imagery implies— they were to share the news about the one God, and illumine the world that there were not ‘God’s many’. Israel had no capacity to save the world, that required a real savior, a real unfallen human, and yet more than human person. Savior language in the OT is never predicated of Israel, only of Israel’s God– Yahweh himself. God did not send Israel into the world like a child sent to do a man’s job. But shed a little light on the most crucial subject of all, they could do. The purpose of the Mosaic covenant was exactly what Paul says it was in Gal. 4— it was a temporary expedient meant to keep God’s people in line until their messiah could come. The Law as paidagogos is an image of the slave child minder who keeps Jacob in line until he comes of age. Then when the time had fully come, God sent his Son. The new covenant is not a renewal of the Mosaic covenant, but rather as Paul says, the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham. It is the Abrahamic covenant that Paul links to the new covenant, not the Mosaic one. BW3

  • brad

    Thank you so much! That helps. Thanks for the reminder of Gal. 4! I get lost in the forest at times in this book.

    I think at times Wright says (or implies) exactly what you said about the New Covenant fulfilling Abraham’s covenant (see pg 942, & 1002-1007) But then he confuses me when he indicates Israel simply needs to “renew” their covenant with God (by receiving Jesus as their messiah) but Gentile enter into the New Covenant through faith in Jesus (I forget where he says this).

    You see the New Covenant as a clean break (not at all connected to the Old Covenant?

    Thanks again. I will keep reading. I really appreciate your accessibility!

  • BenW3

    Brad the new covenant is a new covenant, not a renewal of one or another of the old covenants– Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic etc. This does not mean that there is not some overlap in for example the ethical imperatives in the New covenant and the older ones. Of course there is– for example thou shalt not commit adultery. But the reason Christians obey such a command is because its in the new covenant and required by Christ of his followers. BW3


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