Conversation with Anthony Buzzard, Part 2

Here’s the second part of my conversation with Anthony Buzzard. It starts abruptly, but hopefully that won’t detract from most of the substance of the conversation. It was nice to have an opportunity to focus in this second webinar on points about which we don’t see eye to eye – whether there could be any value to Trinitarian imagery applied to God, for instance, and the nature of the Bible and the implications thereof for the theological enterprise.

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  • arcseconds

    I just finished listening to this.

    It was an interesting discussion. Buzzard is delightfully eccentric and enthusaistic, and does seem convinced that Unitarianism, if only people would accept it, would solve interfaith conflict and allow Christians (and perhaps the other Abrahamic faiths) to come together as one, and makes the Bible accessible to lay people, prevents mould and makes glasses sparkly.

    Unfortunately I think there are substantial reasons for doubting all of that. You mentioned one yourself: that Jews and Muslims don’t necessarily get along, despite both being unitarian, whereas Christians on occasion get along fine with both Jews and Muslims, despite being trinitarian. To this I would add that while sometimes disputes about the trinity have led to schism, there have been a great many other causes, disputes over authority being a major one. The Reformation, perhaps the most famous schism (at least in Western christendom) wasn’t motivated by a dispute about the Trinity: Calvin, Luther, and Henry VIII were all trinitarians.

    (which, of course, is a dramatic example of the limitations of supposing you are working ‘sola scriputura’)

    I was wondering whether I could get you to elaborate on your views on how scholarship and religious practice should interact? Should the Shema be announced six times a Sunday from the pulpit, as Buzzard exhorts, on the basis that Unitarianism is likely to be the view of the historical Jesus?

    • As this second part hopefully made clear, I don’t think that Buzzard’s concern is with the historical Jesus in the usual sense of the word. He is concerned with the Biblical Jesus. Both were Jewish monotheists, but I don’t think the Bible is what Buzzard seems to think it is, and hence I tried to get at some of those issues here.

      Not that saying the Shema more frequently would be a bad thing…