Descartes’s ambitions

Descartes’s original title for Discourse on Method was “Project for a Science that Can Raise our Nature to its Highest Degree of Perfection.” And for a number of years he worked on a treatise in which he “resolved to explain all the phenomena of nature, that is all of . . . . Continue Reading »

Not Quite Postmodern

In his very fine, lucid book, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? (Baker 2006), James KA Smith notes that many postmodern theologies, especially influenced by Derrida’s apophaticism, are anti-dogmatic: “postmodern religious faith eschews knowledge and therefore also eschews the . . . . Continue Reading »

America’s Military

Larry Schweikart, America’s Victories: Why the U. S. Wins Wars and Will Win the War on Terror . New York: Sentinel, 2006. 324 pp. Many Americans regard the military as a world apart, a strange world of rank and ritual, tradition and respect, everything that the rest of America is not. Not so, . . . . Continue Reading »

Good news for NTT

Kavin Rowe reviews a number of texts in New Testament Theology (NTT) in JBL (125:6), and finds that “recent work in NTT has reached the point of consensus on the importance of the OT for NTT: readings of the NT that downplay or even erase the fundamental historical and theological . . . . Continue Reading »

Lamentations in Matthew

David Moffitt argues in the current issue of JBL (125:2) that “Matthew alludes to Lamentations three times in chs. 23 and 28 of his Gospel (23:35; 27:34; and 27:39). The fact that these allusions come from chs. 2, 3, and 4 of Lamentations, that the allusion to Lam 4:13 resonates throughout . . . . Continue Reading »

Machiavelli on honor

Machiavelli know what he was about. Though continuing to identify himself with Christianity, he advocated a revival of ancient concepts of virtu , and recognized that one key obstacle was the Christian revaluation of the value of honor. In the midst of numerous distortions of faith and history, he . . . . Continue Reading »

Motivated malignancy

In his recent book, Honor: A History , James Bowman suggests that Iago was motivated by concerns of honor. He elevates “good name” above riches, and his stated motive for hating Othello is his suspicion that the Moor slept with his wife is consistent with traditional honor codes: . . . . Continue Reading »

Class consciousness

Lawrence Stone records the following in his classic Crisis of the Aristocracy : “So deep [was] feeling of a fundamental distinction of ranks that gentlemen did not hesitate to behave in ways which would today be considered base and even cowardly. When Lord Herbert of Cherbury was shipwrecked . . . . Continue Reading »

Death of the author

A hypothesis to explore: What is the connection between the postmodern “death of the author” and higher critical methods of biblical interpretation? Did the dissolution of the text in biblical studies contribute to a dissolution of the author in texts generally? To what extent is . . . . Continue Reading »

Type and Antitype

At times, I’ve felt that my polemics against semi-marcionitism in sacramental theology and hermeneutics finds no actual targets. And then I read something like this. In his book on hermeneutics, Louis Berkhof characterizes the difference between type and antitype: “The one represents . . . . Continue Reading »