Typology of heresy

In his recent Brief History of Christianity , Carter Lindberg suggests that “orthodoxy is the language that preserves the promise character of the gospel, that salvation is received from God, not achieved by humans.” By contrast, “heresy is the language that in one way or another . . . . Continue Reading »

Eschatological Vindication

In his book on the work of Christ, Robert Letham has this neat summary of the relation of present to future justification: “faith has an eschatological side to it. Paul can say we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1) but he can equally talk of our being saved in hope (Rom. 8:24-25). Hope is . . . . Continue Reading »

Shield of Aeneas

Philip Hardie argues that the shield of Aeneas in Virgil’s Aeneid makes significant use not only of the Homeric description of the shield of Achilles but of ancient allegorizations of Homer’s description: “The central feature of ancient exegesis is its insistence that the great . . . . Continue Reading »

Privileging Sight

For postmoderns, there is a close link between the timeless self of ancient and modern thought and the primacy of the gaze. The exaltation of the visual that Foucault attacks is expressed quite openly in an essay by Hans Jonas, “The Nobility of Sight,” who describes some of the . . . . Continue Reading »

A Faustian Christmas

A bit of nonsense from several years ago. Scene 1 Mr Faust sitting in a big chair, with Little Faust on his lap, reading. Mrs Faust sitting in another chair, knitting or something. Mr Faust: And I heard him exclaim As he drove out of sight Merry Christmas to all And to all a good night. (Closing . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon Outline, Third Advent

INTRODUCTION The Roman Catholic church teaches many false things about Mary the mother of Jesus, but in reaction Protestants have sometimes simply ignored her. Like Joseph, she is a model of discipleship; and she is a living portrait of the church, the people in whom Christ takes shape (cf. . . . . Continue Reading »

Oracular and Death

Michel Foucault suggests that the modern exalation of sight, the gaze, particularly the medical gaze, is associated with death: “That which hides and envelops, the curtain of night over truth, is, paradoxically, life; and death, on the contrary, opens up to the light of day the black coffer . . . . Continue Reading »

Identity and time

The Western quest for “personal identity” rests, in part, on a confusion of different senses of the term. We recognize that there are degrees of sameness among things: Identical twins are never strictly identical. Paul Ricoeur has pointed out, further, that we tend to confuse two senses . . . . Continue Reading »

The Book of Mordecai

Grading several papers on Esther, it occurs to me that the book is more about Mordecai’s exalation than about Esther. Esther’s exalation to queen is part of the means by which Mordecai and the Jews are ultimately saved, and the story climaxes with Mordecai at the right hand of the king . . . . Continue Reading »