Wrong Bishop of Durham

I thought for a minute that Jim West had a scoop for me, that Bishop NT Wright had started a blog. But it turns out that this blogger is not the Church of England Bishop of Durham, England, but, from his “about” page,

Tom Wrong, the Free Universalist Interfaith Bishop of Durham, North Carolina.

So not to be taken too seriously, I think.

However, he does have a good point about dreams in this post. In the ancient world dreams were taken much more seriously than they are today, and this understanding is reflected in the biblical text. But if Bishop Wrong is intending to suggest that the biblical authors wrote up what they had dreamed as the biblical text, he should offer some evidence for this, for here he may indeed be Wrong.

0 thoughts on “Wrong Bishop of Durham

  1. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » Not the Wright letter

  2. Well for starters, in the NT (and acknowledging the largely indistinguishable nature of ancient dreams and visions, which can also be demonstrated if need be):

    Paul: 2 Cor 12.1-12; cf. Acts 16.9-10; 18.9-10; 22.17-18
    The whole book of Revelation: Rev 1.10; 4.1
    Gospels: Matt 1.20-25, 2.12-20 (5 visions in 2 chapters)
    Jesus: Rowland argues that the baptism, temptation and transfiguration all bear the mark of autobiographical visionary reports (Rowland, Open Heaven, 259). And, of course, the resurrection appearances…

    I acknowledge, though, that I didn’t discuss the evidence for biblical writings being based on dream (and vision) reports. It’s only a single post, after all. But the large number of visions and dreams in both Testaments, which are intermingled with biblical historiography–and the evidence from other contemporary historiography from Herodotus to Josephus–hardly makes it necessary to provide a prima facie case.

    Bless you.

  3. Bishop Wrong, thank you for gracing my blog with your presence.

    I accept that the verses you quote, including much or all of Revelation, are dreams or similar experiences, and were taken seriously by the biblical characters. I believe that these were genuine communications from God who does indeed speak to his people through dreams. This aspect of God’s work has been much neglected in modern intellectualist evangelicalism.

    Yes, the baptism and transfiguration of Jesus were in some sense visionary experiences. I’m not sure that is the same thing as dreams.

    I don’t accept that the resurrection experiences were mere dreams, for the biblical authors (see especially Luke 24:37-43 and 1 Corinthians 15:4-8) took pains to demonstrate that the resurrection was literal and bodily, not just visionary.

    Do you have any comment on my Wrong Letter post? Perhaps you have received a copy of the letter, along with your fellow “Free Universalist Interfaith” bishops, I mean, the TEC bishops.

  4. I was pondering a vision from Luke chapter one this morning. An angel appears to Zechariah on the right side of the altar on incense (Luke 1:11). The incident is only called a vision at the end. The treatment seems otherwise realistic. Later in the chapter the same angel, Gabriel, is sent (Luke 1:26) to Mary and this is not termed a vision. Even the language of “appearing” is missing.

    This alternation of treatment reminds me of what I saw in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet when the ghost appears. The camera alternates between showing a statue, showing an actor, and showing nothing. Then the characters, when they are reacting, seem to be reacting to something of much larger scale than anything they see. This treatment is intended to throw people off a bit. I had to wonder if some of these visions are not similar in nature. When people write about these in encyclopedic fashion so that the uncanny sense is missing from them, I think they’ve missed part of the point.

  5. ‘I believe that these were genuine communications from God who does indeed speak to his people through dreams. ‘

    News just in.

    When you dream, you are just asleep.

    Dreams are not real.

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