Zwinglius Redivivus

Carnival Call

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Do remember, the Carnival for the month goes live on 31 October.  Send along those deserving recommendations.

Written by Jim

October 25, 2014 at 15:03

In Iran, They Kill Women Who Kill Their Rapists…

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In America, by contrast, they reward rapists with big league College football scholarships and NFL contracts…  Both are despicable in their own way.  But before we Americans start feeling too superior to Iran, we really should take inventory of our own treatment of women and the ways we continue to allow their abusers to thrive and prosper.

Women in Iran may be killed for killing their rapists, but here women are shamed and isolated and denigrated and called sluts and drunks and everything else when they are raped- all of which is a sort of killing, isn’t it.

Written by Jim

October 25, 2014 at 11:49

Posted in Modern Culture

In Which Luther Gets all Warm and Fuzzy…

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He’s such a huggable guy, Martin-

I would sit still and blithely watch how you, the devil, and your sausages and your tripes vainly fret and torment yourselves, and blubber and writhe, achieving nothing except to make us laugh and make you own case worse. Indeed, I would like to see you say aloud what you write, for if you did, people would gather with chains and bars and out of sympathy would seize and bind you as demoniacs. And if people did not do this, then, perhaps at God’s prompting, oxen and swine would trample you to death with their horns and hoofs.  — Martin Luther

Written by Jim

October 25, 2014 at 10:35

Posted in Luther

Joel Watts Takes his Church/State Separation Campaign to a New Level…

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Inspiring a man in Oklahoma to destroy a Ten Commandments monument.

A man has been taken in for mental evaluation after allegedly vandalizing the Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol. U.S. Secret Service Agents say it all started after a man walked into the Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City Friday morning making strange threats against the President and Federal Government. Agents say he then admitted to them that he crashed his car into the Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol, then left his damaged car and walked to the Federal Building.  The Secret Service says the man told them that Satan made him crash his car into the statue.  He also told agents that Satan told him to urinate on the statue.

Gee Joel, getting some unstable nut to do your bidding… It’s not like anyone pays attention to the 10 Commandments anyway these days…  You’d get a lot more reaction getting someone to denounce homosexuality, you know, like you have with Fred Phelps.  Now that will get folk up in arms…

Written by Jim

October 25, 2014 at 10:15

Posted in Modern Culture

Get Athalya’s Book- Second Edition

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9780567657732In the first edition of The Israelite Woman Athalya Brenner-Idan provided the first book-length treatment by a feminist biblical scholar of the female characters in the Hebrew Bible. Now, thirty years later, Brenner provides a fresh take on this ground-breaking work, considering how scholarly observation of female biblical characters has changed and how it has not. Brenner-Idan also provides a new and highly personal introduction to the book, which details, perhaps surprisingly to present readers, what was at stake for female biblical scholars looking to engage honestly in the academic debate at the time in which the book was first written. This will make difficult reading for some, particularly those whose own views have not changed.

Not only is the book a highly valuable resource detailing the social role of women in ancient Israel, and showing how the interpretation of women in the bible has been influenced by convention, but it is also a challenging reminder of how outdated attitudes can still prevail.


Written by Jim

October 25, 2014 at 10:04

‘Reformation Day’? Nope. ‘Reformations Days’? Yup.

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‘Reformation Day’  Nope!’

‘The Reformation’ is a misnomer if ever there were one, for in fact there was no ‘one’ Reformation any more than there was just one Reformer. ‘The Reformation’, when used by students and the general public, usually refers to the Reformation of Martin Luther which commenced at the end of October in the year of our Lord, 1517.

Even then, though, Luther’s intent wasn’t as earth-shattering as later ages took it to be. For Luther, the placement of a series of theses in Latin on the Church Door at Wittenberg Castle was nothing more than an invitation to debate. In other words, Luther didn’t see his act as the commencement of a revolution; he saw it as an academic exercise.

‘The Reformation’ is, then, little more than a label derived from historical hindsight gazing mono-focularly at a series of events over a period of time across a wide geographical landscape. Each Reformer had roots sunk in fertile ground and their work was simply the coming to fruition of generations of shift in the Roman Catholic Church.

Hence, it would be more appropriate to speak of ‘Reformations’ in the same way that we now speak of ‘Judaisms’ and ‘Christianities’. The Reformation was no monolith.

Who, then were the Reformers who gave birth to the Reformations most closely associated with them? They were Huldrych Zwingli, Martin Luther, and John Calvin, in just that order.

In 1515 while he was Pastor of the village Church in Glarus, Huldrych Zwingli began to call into question the dependence of the Church on the teachings of the Scholastics. He also questioned the value of the Vulgate for preaching and began earnest study of the Greek New Testament. There, memorizing the letters of Paul (in Greek) he discovered the Gospel which would come to feature so prominently in his Reforming efforts: Salvation is by grace, through faith, and not through works as proclaimed by the Scholastic theologians. By 1519, when he moved to Zurich to become the Pastor of the Great Minster, Zwingli was already well on his way to Reforming the worship of the Church and the administration of the ‘Sacraments’. In short order, within a few years, the Mass was abandoned and replaced by the ‘Lord’s Supper’ and the fixation of the Church on images was denounced and those images removed in due course.

Zwingli’s Reformation was carried out with the cooperation of the City government, which is why Zwingli, along with Luther and Calvin, were to be known to history as ‘Magisterial Reformers’. Not because they were ‘Magisterial’ but because each had the support of their city’s magistrates.

North of Zurich, in Wittenberg, Luther’s Reformatory efforts were coming to full steam around the same time. In 1520 he broke with Rome irrevocably with the publication of his stunning ‘On The Babylonian Captivity of the Church’. From there, there was to be no turning back. And here we must remind ourselves that at this juncture Luther was not dependent on the work of Zwingli, nor was Zwingli dependent on the work of Luther. Both were pursuing reform along parallel tracks, separately.

Further to the West of Switzerland a decade later John Calvin, an exile from France, a lawyer by training and a theologian by training and desire, began his own efforts at Reform. Several years after Zwingli’s death and long after Luther’s demise Calvin plodded away in Geneva attempting manfully to bring that raucous city to heel under the power of the Gospel.

Each of these Reformers were ‘Fathers’ of their own Reformation. Each was, originally, independent of the other and in many ways they tried very hard to retain that independence even when their common foe, the Church of Rome, was the target as their common enemy. Each contributed to ‘The Reformation’ in their own unique way.

If, then, we wish to honor their memory and their efforts, it behooves us to set aside our preconceptions or our beliefs that ‘The Reformation’ began on October 31, 1517. It didn’t. It began in 1515 in Glarus. And it began in 1517 in Wittenberg. And it began in Geneva in 1536.

Happy Reformations Days.

Written by Jim

October 25, 2014 at 07:42

Worth Knowing: Fritz Schmidt-Clausing

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Fritz Schmidt-Clausing (courtesy Peter Opitz)

I need today to mention a scholar who though virtually unknown today outside of very specialized circles, made tremendous contributions to the study of the 16th century, the Reformation, and in particular, to Zwingli studies. Fritz Schmidt-Clausing.

S-C was born on the 25th of October in 1902…

… in Berlin, wurde römisch-katholischer Priester, studierte nach seiner Konversion evangelische Theologie und Philologie. 1932 wurde ihm ein Pfarramt in Potsdam übertragen, 1947 bis 1960 (Rücktritt) versah Schmidt die Stelle des Seelsorgers im Berliner Tiergartenquartier; der Wiederaufbau der Kaiser-Friedrich-Gedächtniskirche war besonders seiner Initiative zu verdanken. Neben der praktischen Tätigkeit als Pfarrer fanden die liturgiegeschichtlichen Fragen der Reformation Schmidts besonderes Interesse.

He wrote voluminously and contributed both to the critical edition of Zwingli’s works and to Zwingli studies with, primarily, his works on Zwingli’s humor (which I translated a few years back) and Zwingli’s theology of liturgy.

Years back a very fine essay was written in commemoration of S-C and published in the Zeitschrift Zwingliana:

In der Gratulationsadresse des Zwinglivereins zum siebzigsten Geburtstag (Zwingliana XIII,7; 1972, S. 433) liest man: «Der Zwingliverein dankt dem Jubilar vor allem für seine liturgischen Forschungen und für das Bestreben, Zwinglis Gedankengut auch im Ausland einem weiteren Leserkreis vertraut zu machen.»

Lest we forget…

Written by Jim

October 25, 2014 at 07:34


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