Ontological change

McGrath notes, “While justification was universally understood to involve the regeneration of humanity, the opinion that an ontological change is thereby effected within humans is particularly associated with the period of High Scholasticism and the development of the concept of created . . . . Continue Reading »

Putting right

At least since the Reformation, the choices on the meaning of justification have been two: Either justification is a declaration of right standing or it’s a making-righteous (as in Bonaventure’s claim that the grace of justification purifies, illuminates, and perfects the soul). But are . . . . Continue Reading »

Entry language

NT Wright’s denial that justification is “entry language” is usually taken as a criticism of evangelical Protestant treatments of justification. But his denial cuts deeper: From the high middle ages, Roman Catholic theologians taught that justification was a motus from sin to . . . . Continue Reading »

Notes on Derrida, Gift of Death

Some of the summaries below were previously posted on my site, and are reproduced to help my students. 1) Derrida begins the book with a discussion of Jan Patocka’s treatment of the distinction between “enthusiasm” or the “demonic” and “responsibility.” The . . . . Continue Reading »

Schmemann on Eucharist

Thanks to my student Brent McLean for the following quotation from Schmemann’s Journals: “I reflect, while writing my Eucharist, about Communion, on the strange, mysterious alienation from it in the Church (on Mt. Athos - they didn’t regularly take Communion; in our churches, . . . . Continue Reading »


Stephen Jaeger’s wonderful Ennobling Love (1999) sets up some bizarre juxtapositions. On the one hand, here is Anselm of Bec writing to two novices about the join the monastic community: “My eyes eagerly long to see your face, most beloved; my arms stretch out to your embraces. My lips . . . . Continue Reading »

Derrida on Gift

INTRODUCTION Our discussion of Mauss brought us to the verge of talking about postmodernism and the gift. We will do this primarily by examining Derrida, but to understand Derrida we need to spend some time with Levinas, one of the chief influences on Derrida’s thought. After examining some . . . . Continue Reading »

Response to OPC Report on Justification

The following points are responses to the Report of the Committee to Study the Doctrine of Justification of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. I hope I will be excused for responding mainly to those portions of the recent OPC report on the Federal Vision and the New Perspective that pertain to my . . . . Continue Reading »

NT Wright on Justification

This summary of Wright’s views on justification is taken from passages in his new Paul in Fresh Perspective . 1) Covenant and apocalyptic. Unlike some contemporary scholars, Wright insists that covenant and apocalyptic are not opposed to one another, but joined in Paul’s teaching. By . . . . Continue Reading »