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 »

Medieval Imprecations

John Bossy notes in an article on the social functions of the medieval mass that the mass dividedthe human race into living and dead, friends and enemies. Various sorts of prayers for enemies were included: “Even the post-Reformation Roman ritual followed its set of collects ‘for our . . . . Continue Reading »

Monogamy and Polygamy

Jim Rogers of Texas A&M sent along the following discussion of polygamy in the OT in response to some reflections I posted last week on the typology of Rachel and Leah. I’m reproducing it here with Jim’s permission. Why is polygamy tolerated in the OT (Ex 21.10, Dt 21.15-17) but not in . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon Outline, First Sunday After Easter

INTRODUCTION During the reign of wicked Ahaz, Judah moves closer to Israelite and Gentile idolatry. Ahaz foolishly jumps onboard the ship of Israel just as it begins to sink. THE TEXT “In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham, king of Judah, began to reign. . . . . Continue Reading »