Letter from a Graduate Student

Letter from a Graduate Student Following is a transcription of a letter found in the archives of a recently deceased Professor of Philosophy at a major American university. The original was written in a childish scrawl, and was almost illegible. For reasons that may be obvious, the provenance of . . . . Continue Reading »


I read a good bit of Buchan while in Cambridge, and here is a short analysis of one of his best historical novels, Midwinter . Midwinter is an historical novel set in England during the mid-eighteenth century effort of the Jacobite supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie to place their leader on the . . . . Continue Reading »

Jokes and Hermeneutics

I’ve been wanting for some years to write an article developing the fairly simple point that all texts depend on things that are not in the text for their meaning. Jokes are among the best examples of this. What makes a joke funny is usually something that is not stated explicitly in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Calvin on Christ

Some impressive quotations from Muller’s Christ and the Decree (p. 36): This is Calvin ( Inst 2.12.1): In discerning Christ’s merit, we do not consider the beginning of merit to be in him, but we go back to God’s ordinance as the first cause. For God solely of his own good . . . . Continue Reading »


Perichoresis has been used historically to describe God’s relationship to the world, as a way of expressing the immanence and transcendence of God. It is true, on the one hand, that God is contained by nothing, and is instead the One in whom we live and move and have our being — i.e., . . . . Continue Reading »

Sermon Outline, September 14

Sermon outline for this coming Sunday: A House That Stands, Luke 6:12-49 INTRODUCTION The Pharisees sought to renew Israel by applying principles of holiness and separation in every detail of life, such as table manners and how you spent your time on the Sabbath. Jesus agreed that Torah had to be . . . . Continue Reading »

Barth’s Actualism Again

Here’s the same problem elsewhere in Barth (again relying on Hunsinger’s treatment): This encounter with God, he argued, was mediated, not immediate, and was given by grace, not by nature. The encounter was objectively mediated by Jesus Christ, and given only by the free decision of . . . . Continue Reading »

Hunsinger on Barth’s Actualism

George Hunsinger describes one of the implications of Barth’s “actualism” in this way: Negatively [actualism] means that we human beings have no ahistorical relationship to God, and that we also have no capacity in and of ourselves to enter into fellowship with God. An ahistorical . . . . Continue Reading »


Joel Garver of LaSalle provided me with the following quotation from Jorge Luis Borges, a quotation that Joel read in a series of lectures on postmodernism this summer: Borges refers to “a ‘certain Chinese encylopaedia’ in which it is written that ‘animals are divided into: . . . . Continue Reading »

God’s Attributes

I work on the assumption that all the attributes of God are Trinitarian, relational attributes. How does this work with an attribute like “holiness,” which, by most definitions, describes God as wholly un-related? The key is to notice that the language of holiness in Scripture describes . . . . Continue Reading »