Person v. Being

Oberman sees a crucial shift in late medieval theology from God as being to God as person, and sees Luther as both heir and critic of the late medieval theology proper. Without the earlier shift, “the Reformation breakthrough would be inconceivable,” but this does not mean that there is . . . . Continue Reading »

Plague and Theology

Oberman again: “The experience of the [bubonic] plague may in fact help us understand the fifteenth-century ascendency of nominalism, its innovations in the whole field ranging from theology to science, and its successful invasion of schools and universities, where it was firmly established . . . . Continue Reading »

Cultural history and religion

Heiko Oberman notes the impact of cultural history in his posthumously published book, The Two Reformations : “By moving from established politicla history to cultural and mentality studies, historians reestablished the crucial importance of religion, although they frequently marginalized it . . . . Continue Reading »

Proverbs 14:8-15

INTRODUCTION Waltke points to links between verses 8-9 and verses 1-2 of the same chapter: Wisdom and folly are contrasted in verses 1 and 8; the image of the “way” is used in both verses; and the term “upright” appears in verse 2 and 9. These links suggests that verses 8-9 . . . . Continue Reading »

Simmel, Faithfulness and Gratitude

Notes on Georg Simmel, “Faithfulness and Gratitude,” printed in Kurt H. Wolff, The Sociology of Georg Simmel (Free Press, 1950). 1) Simmel describes faithfulness as “the inertia of the soul.” Less impressionistically, faithfulness is “the peculiar feeling which is not . . . . Continue Reading »

Milbank on Gift

INTRODUCTION To wind up our discussion of gift, we will cover three large concerns. First, we will examine Milbank’s work, particularly his essay “Can A Gift Be Given?”, to see how he handles the challenges thrown up by Derrida and Marion. Second, we will take some time to think . . . . Continue Reading »

Bloom and Jesus

James Wood has his fun with Harold Bloom in his TNR review of Bloom’s recent Jesus and Yahweh . Wood offers this parody of a typical Bloomian sentence: “Only Don Quixote can rival the fat knight, Sir John Falstaff, and even Emerson at his strongest - stronger, here, even than his . . . . Continue Reading »

Cost of Discipleship

Jerome Neyrey summarizes the effect of Jesus’ instruction to pray, give alms, and fast “in private” in terms of ancient honor systems: “In essence, the disciples must separate themselves from ‘their’ synagogues; they may not join other observant Judeans in . . . . Continue Reading »

Impurity and caste

Mary Douglas has observed that “Levitical impurity is a fact of biology, common to all persons, and also a result of specific moral offences that anyone is liable to commit such as lying or stealing . . . Biblical impurity is of no use in demarcating advantaged social classes or ranks.” . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon Outline, Fourth Sunday of Easter

INTRODUCTION Hezekiah reverses the work of his father, Ahaz. As a result, the two kingdoms reunite under Hezekiah, who gathers people from “Beersheba even to Dan” to his Passover (2 Chronicles 30:6). In Hezekiah’s reign, the Davidic line experiences another renewal, as under Joash . . . . Continue Reading »