“Quests for Freedom”: A New Multi-Author volume
I am pleased to find in today’s mail my complimentary copy of a multi-author volume arising from a multi-year international research project on “Concepts and Practices of Freedom in the Biblical Traditions and in Contemporary Contexts.” The book, edited by Michael Welker = Quests for Freedom: Biblical–Historical–Contemporary (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlagsgesellschaft, 2015). (The publisher’s online catalogue entry can be accessed here.) Organized and led by Welker, the project drew in scholars in various specialities, of different perspectives, and of various nations. Discussions were often animated, sometimes with lively disagreement, and always highly informative, as we learned from one another over several years of meetings.
My own contribution to the volume is a (somewhat shortened) version of the paper that I wrote for the project: “Freed by Love and for Love: Freedom in the New Testament” (pp. 209-27). (The larger version is available under the “Selected Published Essays” tab on this site: “Freedom in the New Testament.”
In the published version of my essay, I have two main objectives: (1) to survey briefly references to freedom in the NT in light of the historical context in which they first appeared and (2) to highlight the notable and distinctive NT emphasis on love, both as the basis of freedom (esp. the notion of God’s love) and the purpose of human freedom. I contend that this latter emphasis is radically distinguishable from dominant treatments of freedom in the Roman era (and in our era as well). In the final paragraphs of the essay, I offer some brief reflections on how the treatment of freedom in the NT might suggest directions of thought and action today.