Good versus Evil
You choose which one. Anyway there will indeed be a fight of sorts between me and our Aussie friend Michael Bird who has all the details on his blog. What you don't know is that he has begged and begged for me to pull out in some tearful very emails but it's too late Mike!
Ok, ok, what I really mean to say is that there will be a co-authored book on Christian origins. One an evangelically minded person (Bird), one a secular-minded person (that's me obviously). It will be out with SPCK sometime in 2008 and is provisionally called:
Two Views of Christian Origins: An Evangelical and Secular Conversation
Here's the overview:
The objective of “Two Views” is to present two contrasting perspectives on the history of early Christianity. The contrast is evidently sharp as one co-author comes from a conservative Christian background (Michael Bird), whilst the other co-author (James Crossley) approaches the matter from a secular standpoint. The volume works sequentially through Christian origins and addresses various topics including the historical Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, the Apostle Paul, the Gospels, and the early church. Each author in turn examines these subjects and lays out his historical arguments concerning their origin and meaning. The volume also includes responses by two other scholars (Maurice Casey and Scot McKnight) to the arguments of Bird and Crossley as to give an even handed and broad evaluation of the arguments and debates that unfold.
I think this will be a good model for the debate on secular/religious perspectives which has been running across the blogs. Too often the debate is polarised and goes on as if there is nothing in common. I suspect that the secular/religious debate will grow in coming years so this could potentially provide a useful way of having a seriously interactive debate. I think this has at least one advantage over the Borg/Wright debate mentioned on Mike's blog in that that was an intra-Christian debate.