Politics and visibility

Discussing Bentham’s vision of the panopticon, Foucault notes that Bentham’s vision inverts the relationship of visibility and power. Traditional power was made visible in various sorts of symbols - crowns, robes, rituals; the powerful displayed their power in public, and this public . . . . Continue Reading »

Plague v. Leprosy

Foucault draws an intriguing political contrast between the “rituals of exclusion” that arise with lepers and the “disciplinary confinement” that constituted the response to the plague. Leprosy and its rules of “rejection, of exile-exclusion” produces a . . . . Continue Reading »

Priesthood of Believers

At various points in Discipline and Punish , Foucault notes how monastic discipline provided a model for early modern society forms. Factories were compared to monasteries not only in their organization but also in the spiritual dimension of factory management. Time-tables and rigorous . . . . Continue Reading »

Roofless factory

The “roofless factory” of some contemporary capitalist theory and practice reverses one of the basic drives of modern economic life. Bringing all workers into a single location under a single roof was one of the main features of the early modern factory system, and provided not only the . . . . Continue Reading »

Rome and Modern Discipline

Rome was a model society for Europeans throughout the early modern period. But the Rome that served as a model differed from era to era and from writer to writer. Foucault writes: “the Roman model, at the Enlightenment, played a dual role; in its republican aspect, it was the very embodiment . . . . Continue Reading »

Strange doings in John 21

Some oddities of the narrative of John 21. Peter, we’re told, has stripped, apparently to make it easier to do his fishing. When he hears that Jesus is on the shore, he puts ON his outer robe and throws himself into the sea. As a practical matter, this doesn’t make much sense; . . . . Continue Reading »

Decentered Self of Protestantism

Guy Waters thinks that I’m abandoning the Reformation by questioning an ontology rooted in the notion of “substance.” I say, On the contrary. In an article on the Reformation doctrine of justification, Berndt Hamm writes: “Behind this epoch-making change in the understanding . . . . Continue Reading »

Genealogical numerology

Austen Farrer suggests this numerological interpretation of Matthew 1: Matthew arranges the genealogy in “three pairs of sevens, six ‘weeks’ grouped in twos.” Thus, “we have only six, as it were the working ‘days’ of a week of weeks. In six days God made . . . . Continue Reading »

Before Abraham Was

Matthew introduces his genealogy with a phrase drawn from Gen 2:4 and 5:1: the “book of the genesis.” It looks as if Jesus is the end point of the genealogy, as if it begins with Abraham and ends with Joseph/Jesus. That’s clearly true. But when we examine the allusion to Gen 2:4 . . . . Continue Reading »

These Ten Times

In Num 14:22, Yahweh charges that Israel has tested Him “these ten times.” Ronald Allen offers this list of 10 rebellions in his Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1. Israel’s fear that Pharaoh would destroy them, Ex 14:10-12 2. Marah, Ex 15:22-24 3. Hunger in the wilderness, Ex . . . . Continue Reading »