The World’s Laziest Student

On the Facebook some friends are discussing stories about students and their antics.  The winner – so far as I’m concerned – is this one-

The first day of class I have a student tell me she can’t do my essay tests because her hands get cramped from writing. When asked if she had a document from student success recognizing this “disability” I was given an exasperated, “all the other teachers have accommodated me!”

I wish I knew her name. I would certainly name her.

This Wretched Plague..

I’m in phase two…

I.—At the Beginning of the Illness

Help, Lord God, help
In this trouble!
I think Death is at the door.
Stand before me, Christ;
For Thou hast overcome him!
To Thee I cry:
If it is Thy will,
Take out the dart,
Which wounds me
Nor lets me have an hour’s
Rest or repose!
Will’st Thou however
That Death take me
In the midst of my days,
So let it be!
Do what Thou wilt;
Me nothing lacks.
Thy vessel am I;
To make or break altogether.
For, if Thou takest away
My spirit
From this earth,
Thou dost it, that it may not grow worse,
Nor spot
The pious lives and ways of others.

II.—In the Midst of his Illness

Console me, Lord God, console me!
The illness increases,
Pain and fear seize
My soul and body.
Come to me then,
With Thy grace, O my only consolation!
It will surely save
Everyone, who
His heart’s desire
And hopes sets
On Thee, and who besides
Despises all gain and loss.
Now all is up.
My tongue is dumb,
It cannot speak a word.
My senses are all blighted.
Therefore is it time
That Thou my fight
Conductest hereafter;
Since I am not
So strong, that I
Can bravely
Make resistance
To the Devil’s wiles and treacherous hand.
Still will my spirit
Constantly abide by Thee, however he rages.

III.—During Convalescence

Sound, Lord God, sound!
I think I am
Already coming back.
Yes, if it please Thee,
That no spark of sin
Rule me longer on earth.
Then my lips must
Thy praise and teaching
Bespeak more
Than ever before,
However it may go,
In simplicity and with no danger.
Although I must
The punishment of death
Sometime endure,
Perhaps with greater anguish
Than would now have
Happened, Lord!
Since I came
So near;
So will I still
The spite and boasting
Of this world
Bear joyfully for the sake of the reward
By Thy help,
Without which nothing can be perfect.

On Those Who Are Lackluster in Their Deeds

Martin Luther wrote, in connection with Rom 12:11’s τῷ πνεύματι ζέοντες-

Be fervent in spirit. Those who snore and yawn and are lukewarm in all their efforts are the people who break this command, and they achieve nothing by their works but only dissipate them, Prov. 18:9: “He who is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.” But people of this kind are also hateful to men, to say nothing of God. Thus it is that today very commonly the artisans who have been hired do their work as if they were asleep. And the religious and the priests literally snore during their prayers, even physically, to say nothing about the sleepiness of their minds, and they do everything with the greatest laziness. Here the apostle therefore is speaking against this deadly sin of acedia, or being tired of doing good works. The Greek word ἀκηδία means “tedium,” or “boredom,” or “indifference.”

This sin is so widespread that hardly anyone deigns to be attentive. And because people are unwilling to serve with a fervent spirit, it is necessary that they become fervent in the flesh. For they must be fervent in one of the two, either the spirit or the flesh. And the fervor for one is the freezing out or extinction of the other, except where by God’s permission in time of temptation the spirit still is aglow even in the midst of the fervor of the flesh.

Therefore the man who does his work with lukewarmness of necessity will be fervent in the flesh. And on that account he is compelled as it were to “waste the work” which he performs, because of the fervor of the flesh. So a lazy cook, about to prepare a meal, does his work in such a way that the food gets cold during the serving. Who would not despise him, and rightly?

Truly said, Martin.  Truly said.

Useful stuff from our friend Phil.

Reading Acts

Logos 3.0 for iOS appeared in the AppStore today, and it is a significant upgrade.  If you already have the App, get the upgrade as soon as possible.  If you have not yet downloaded the free app, now is the time!  I personally use this App and have found it to be the best iPad app for reading (better that Kindle!), and certainly the best for reading Greek and Hebrew.

Downloading books is much easier, whole collections can be selected and moved to your iOS device.  Since I upgraded to a 64MB new iPad, I have plenty of space for key books for reading when I am not in a WiFi zone.  If you do not download a book it is still fully accessible via WiFi.

The App now has a navigation pane which slides out like other iPad apps, giving access to your library.  This works even better in split screen…

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Philip Enters the Phray

(Sorry about that, I couldn’t resist).

In a new essay Philip Davies writes

I cannot resist making a contribution to the recent spate of exchanges between scholars about the existence of Jesus—these mostly on the internet and blogosphere, and so confined to a few addicts, but the issue has always lurking within New Testament scholarship generally. Shortly before his death, Robert Funk had approached me about the possibility of setting up the equivalent of a ‘Jesus Seminar’ for Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, perhaps a ‘Moses Seminar’? I couldn’t see any scope for such an exercise (and still can’t), but have often thought how a ‘minimalist’ approach might transfer to the New Testament, and in particular the ‘historical Jesus’, who keeps appearing to New Testament scholars in different guises.

Read it all.

Thank You, Joel

Joel Watts did a nice thing and sent me a gift card for the big 52nd birthday.  I don’t want to say that I deserve it, but having lived 52 years without being killed given my general disposition and my fairly well known sometimes sarcastic smart mouth is nothing less than miraculous. It’s very similar to Jesus’s slipping from the crowd at the hill-crest of Nazareth.

Anywho, this is a public thank you to Joel.  Here’s what I picked up with it.  It’s a classic and one of the very few works by or about Zwingli which I didn’t have in my collection.

The Racists of the West Bank

Ha’aretz reports

Graffiti found on the scene read ‘death to the enemy, vengeance against Arabs,’ as well as ‘price tag Migron,’ referring to a West Bank Jewish settlement which is set to be evacuated in the coming days.


Anonymous suspects set fire to a car overnight Wednesday, and left racist messages on a wall in a Palestinian neighborhood close to the West Bank settlement Beit El. The vandals attempted to set a second car on fire as well.

Cowards always hide behind the shield of anonymity.  Why don’t they do it without masks in broad daylight so that everyone knows who these ‘courageous freedom lovers’ are?

Members of the Soboch family, residents of a neighborhood in the southern part of a village called Dura el-Kara, were awakened around 2:30 A.M., by the sound of a car alarm, and the smell of a burning car. The family discovered that Nur a-Din Soboch’s car was on fire. Palestinian firefighters only arrived on the scene a half hour later, as they needed permission from the Israel Defense Forces to enter territory marked “Area C.” While the firefighters were waiting for clearance, family members and neighbors attempted to put out the flames, before they reached the car’s gas tank.  Flammable materials were also found, extinguished, next to Hatam Soboch’s car. Both cars were parked next to the family’s home, which houses some 20 people – four brothers with wives and children, and the mother of the family, in her eighties.  A message was found sprayed on one of the walls of the family’s house, which read “death to the enemy, freedom for the homeland, price tag Migron, vengeance against Arabs, regards from those banished.” The word Migron was also found sprayed on both cars.

Injustice in the land where ‘justice is supposed to roll down like waters…’  Jeremiah could search the halls of the Knesset in Jerusalem today and he’d have as much difficulty finding an upright man as he did when he tried the first time.

They’re Weird in Chattanooga… The Baseball Buttboard

At their baseball field they have billboards.  That’s not what makes them weird.  What makes them weird is that one of the adverts features a guy’s butt.  And on his butt, a tattoo of some fried chicken.  Apparently (according to our local news) the guy liked the chicken so much that he had it inscribed on his backside.  I’ve never cared for fried chicken and I’ve never cared so much for anything that I wanted my skin pierced with a giant needle countless times and ink injected into it.

But what I don’t get at all is why the guy’s butt is a billboard?????

I do know this.  I can never eat fried chicken again.  Ever.

The First Edition of ‘Zwingli’s Collected Works’

The first edition of Zwingli’s ‘Collected Works’ consisted of 5 volumes and was edited by Rudolf Gwalther, Leo Jud, and Kaspar Megander and appeared in 1544-1545.  It contains some materials which aren’t found elsewhere and all are in Latin.  It is a fantastic treasure trove indeed and it’s all online at the link above thanks to the folk at the University of Zurich.

Today With Zwingli: On the Canon of the Mass

29 August 1523 was the publication date of Huldrych Zwingli’s De canone missae epichiresis.    Once the Zurich Disputation concluded questions arose as to the best way to implement the reform of the Mass.  Zwingli answered specific questions addressed to him along those lines in this technical Latin Flugschrift.  And it really was a Flugschrift!  Zwingli composed the volume in four days (because it had to be to the publisher and printed in time to be shipped to the Frankfurt Book Fair in September).

In it he traces the development of the Mass under the early papacy, showing that the then in use Canon was not at all ancient as its supporters claimed, and he also objects to the word missa as an unbiblical concept altogether.

He then goes on to deconstruct (!) the entire Canon sentence by sentence and concludes by denouncing the very notion that the sacrifice of Christ either could be, or should be ‘repeated’.

The best part of the booklet, though, is his utter decimation of the argument that because a prayer for the dead was included in the Canon, purgatory must perforce exist!

And the most interesting (for me anyway) is his allowance of singing in the Church – though the words must be biblical explicitly.  He would later, and famously, go on to ban singing altogether because it had become less about praising the glory of God and more about the singer’s self glorification.

All in all it’s one of the more interesting publications from 1523.  Alas, so far as I’ve been able to discover, it has never been translated.  Pity, really.

[First posted 29 August 2011]

The New Issue of Relegere

From the editorial:  
‘James G. Crossley’s essay in this issue, “An Immodest Proposal for Biblical Studies” engages with the opinion expressed by Larry Hurtado in his inaugural address to the University of Edinburgh in 1997, and more recently on his personal blog, that certain language and historical-critical skills should be the sine qua non for any British doctorate in New Testament studies. In reply, Crossley argues that, “Hurtado’s view of the field of study is too narrow” and that “if we frame the field more broadly, instead of simply surviving, Biblical Studies could be at the heart of, and a driving force for, theoretical discussions in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.”‘