Providence and Lessing’s Ditch

Helmut Thielicke says that Lessing cannot find the absolute of reason in the relativity of history because “history is an accumulation of the accidental and irrational.” Behind the epochal hermeneutical ditch between the truths of reasons and contingencies of history is a loss of any . . . . Continue Reading »


Lundin sees a link between (some) Protestant hermeneutics, Schleiermacher, and the quest of the historical Jesus. The common factor is a search for a pure origin: “In the nineteenth century the quest for scriptural purity and origins assumed a number of guises. In some quarters, it became the . . . . Continue Reading »

Plebs in the church

Thanks to Tim Enloe for getting me a copy of David Rankin’s 2004 article, “Class Distinction as a Way of Doing Church: The Early Fathers and the Christian Plebs” ( Vigiliae Christianae 58). He examines the way the terminology and orders of Roman society were imported into the . . . . Continue Reading »

Fractures of the mind

Problems of communication are often explained in terms of the inherent limitations of language. But this, of course, assumes that the mind’s thoughts are whole, complete, and comprehensive until they have the misfortune to issue into the cold nasty world in speech and writing. But this, of . . . . Continue Reading »

Gnostic hermeneutics, 2

It’s a strange hermeneutical theory that doesn’t want to deal with words, but that’s the way many modern hermeneutical systems (beginning with Schleiermacher) work: The interpreter is trying to slip past the veil of language to the mind behind. Inky words on rag-and-wood-pulp . . . . Continue Reading »

Gnostic hermeneutics

Lundin suggests that “At the core of Hirsch’s appeal is a promise dear to American culture - that we can return to the innocent origins and begin history anew . . . . Hirsch wants a ‘ruthlessly critical process of validation’ to establish the facts of original intent and . . . . Continue Reading »


Roger Lundin comments on the ironies of evangelical support for ED Hirsch and its frequent suspicion, if not outright condemnation, of Gadamer: “There are manifold ironies to the conservative embrace of Hirsch and spurning of Gadamer. At their heart is the fact that Hirsch’s theory of . . . . Continue Reading »

I and We

Auden said that “protestantism is correcte in affirming that the We are of society” is false unless each individual “can say I am .” At the same time, what he called catholicism is also correct that anyone who cannot “join with others in saying We does not know the . . . . Continue Reading »

Pop Gratitude

That Amazon search confirmed my suspicion: Gratitude is a common topic of inspirational literature. You can get gratitude journals, gratitude calendars, gratitude guides, gratitude cards, gratitude with attitude books, probably gratitude mugs and teacups and bumperstickers and bracelets and decals . . . . Continue Reading »


Searching Amazon, I find that one Christine A. Adams has written a small book on gratitude for a book series called “Elf Self-Help” (I’m not making this up). Perhaps someone can gently inform Ms Adams that the whole point of gratitude is that someone else has helped. . . . . Continue Reading »