Inference

According to the Westminster Confession of Faith, “The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture.” But . . . . Continue Reading »

Mark and Psalm 2

Marcus notes that Mark’s attention to Psalm 2 is not exhausted by quoting the words from heaven at Jesus’ baptism: “the whole series of pericopes in 1:9-11, 12-13, 14-15 reflects the basic ‘plot’ of the psalm, and its influence may extend further into Mark’s . . . . Continue Reading »

Way of Yahweh, Way of Jesus

Joel Marcus’ study of Mark’s use of Scripture ( The Way of the Lord , W/JK, 1992) begins with an illuminating discussion of the opening verses of the gospel. The quotation from Isaiah brings the whole of Isaiah’s second-exodus eschatology into play, with Jesus playing the role of . . . . Continue Reading »

AC Bradley’s Hamlet

AC Bradley’s 1904 lectures on Shakespearean tragedy are deservedly regarded as classics of criticism. His analysis of Hamlet is deservedly famous, particularly his discussion of the famed problem of Hamlet’s delay. He classifies theories of the delay into several large categories. First . . . . Continue Reading »

Derrida, Closet Platonist

In Specters of Marxism, Derrida advocates a strongly eschatological Marxism but without committing himself to the specifics of a Marxist analysis of capitalism (must as he advocates a “messianism without messiah”). In both cases, he reaches for a formal structure without content, . . . . Continue Reading »

Vaporous labor

One man sits and does nothing; and eats himself up. Another labors alone without end; and eats himself up. One folds his hands and refuses to grab anything; and his hands are empty. Another grabs whatever comes near with both hands; and in the end his hands are empty too. One nation has the lowest . . . . Continue Reading »

Relativity

Surely Solomon believed there were absolute goods, or One Absolute Good, but he spends most of Ecclesiastes talking about relative goods. The Hebrew idiom tob . . . min (“good/better . . . than”) is used throughout chapters 4 and 7 to express the relative advantage of certain situations . . . . Continue Reading »

Tragic Wisdom?

Among all the books of the Bible, Ecclesiastes appears to come closest to the tragic wisdom of the ancients. But this is an illusion. Solomon warns that it is folly to say that the old days were better than the present (7:10), and encourages patience because “the end of the matter is better . . . . Continue Reading »

Ahaz of Judah

The fraternal conflicts between Israel and Judah foreshadow later conflicts between Israel and the true Jew, Jesus. And so, when the Northern Kingdom allies with Aram (its traditional enemy) against Ahaz of Judah, it foreshadows the alliance of Jew and Gentile against the great Son of God. Pilate . . . . Continue Reading »

Postmodernity and Social Theory

The late Gillian Rose characterized the postmodern rejection of metaphysics as a triumph of social theory over philosophy, a triumphy that “re-enacts the earlier reaction, coterminous with the founding of modernity, according to which philosophy after Kant was ‘superseded’ by . . . . Continue Reading »