Very Sad News

The announcement of Dieter Lührmann’s death can be accessed at that link. Here it is in full:

Zum Tode von Prof. Dr. Dieter Lührmann

Luhrmann_HD02Der Fachbereich Evangelische Theologie der Philipps-Universität Marburg trauert um Prof. Dr. Dieter Lührmann.

Professor Lührmann lehrte von 1982 bis zu seiner Emeritierung im Jahre 2000 das Fach Neues Testament an unserem Fachbereich.

Er erwarb sich in Forschung und Lehre ein außergewöhnliches Ansehen. Seine Kommentare zum Galaterbrief und vor allem zum Markusevangelium fanden große Beachtung, ebenso seine Forschungen zur Logienquelle und zu den apokryph gewordenen Evangelien des Neuen Testaments. Sein internationales Renommee belegen ein Ruf ins Ausland, den er ablehnte, sowie Forschungsaufenthalte und Gastdozenturen in den USA.

Professor Lührmann stellte seine Gaben auch in den Dienst der wissenschaftlichen Organisation seiner Disziplin und des Fachbereichs. Er war als Fachgutachter für die DFG tätig, wirkte von 1986 bis 1987 als Dekan an unserem Fachbereich und saß von 1992 bis 1994 dem Fakultätentag vor.

Mit dem Tod von Professor Lührmann verliert der Fachbereich Evangelische Theologie der Philipps-Universität Marburg einen Gelehrten von außergewöhnlichem Rang. Unser ganzes Mitgefühl gilt seiner Familie.

Die Trauerfeier findet am Dienstag, den 12. Februar um 12.30 Uhr auf dem Friedhof am Rotenberg in Marburg statt.

Jörg Lauster

This is very sad news indeed.

News From the Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon

Chuck Jones writes

From Steve Kaufman: “… we have decided to open the lexicon to academe: As of February, 2013, our database consists of over two million parsed words, over 30,000 individual lemmas (and 7,000 cross-references), over 60,000 glosses, and about 20,000 citations.” See the full announcement at:

You can access the CAL directly here.  Or from the link at the sidebar under ‘useful sites’.

Melanchthon the Effeminate?

Here’s how Philip Schaff describes Melanchthon in a section of his history in which he compares him to Calvin:

Melanchthon was modest, gentle, sensitive, feminine, irenic, elastic, temporizing, always open to new light; Calvin, though by nature as modest, bashful, and irritable, was in principle and conviction firm, unyielding, fearless of consequences, and opposed to all compromises.

They differed also on minor points of doctrine and discipline. Melanchthon, from a conscientious love of truth and peace, and from regard for the demands of practical common sense, had independently changed his views on two important doctrines. He abandoned the Lutheran dogma of a corporal and ubiquitous presence in the eucharist, and approached the theory of Calvin; and he substituted for his earlier fatalistic view of a divine foreordination of evil as well as good the synergistic scheme which ascribes conversion to the co-operation of three causes: the Spirit of God, the Word of God, and the will of man. He conceded to man the freedom of either accepting or rejecting the Gospel salvation, yet without giving any merit to him for accepting the free gift; and on this point he dissented from Calvin’s more rigorous and logical system.

Melanchthon, to be sure, was of a gentle and sensitive spirit and he hated conflict.  He hated it.  But that hardly makes him ‘feminine’.  Rather, he was simply practical.  Students of history shouldn’t think for a moment of Melanchthon as a prancing princess.  He just wasn’t.


My Own Collection of Melanchthonian Texts

???????????????????????????????I’m thrilled to have the Studienausgabe edited by Stupperich in my library and some technical studies but boy how I wish the Corpus Reformatorum volumes were here.

You know, don’t you, that Karl Barth was given by a caring benefactor the entire Weimar Ausgabe of Luther.  Surely there’s such a caring person out there with the C.R. Melanchthon.  Right?  My birthday is coming up…   Just sayin’.

Melanchthon’s Writings

3135223You can read virtually everything Melanchthon wrote, here, freely.  If I may be so bold as to recommend something, I’d like to recommend this gem:

Commentaire de Philippe Melancthon sur le Livre des revelations du prophete Daniel. Item les explications de Martin Luther sur le mesme prophete adjoutées à la fin. Le tout nouvellement traduict pour la consolation des fideles en ces derniers temps.

Or if you prefer, this masterpiece:  Hauptartikel Christlicher Lehre.  Or just browse the PRDL link above and find something to your liking.  You’ll be ‘happy, happy, happy’ (to quote our friend Phil from Duck Dynasty) that you did.

Geoffrey Bromily’s Brief Bio of Philip Melanchthon

melancthon35Born in Bretten, Baden, the son of George Scharzerd, Philip was given the Greek name “Melanchthon” (meaning “black earth”) by his great–uncle John Reuchlin, the famous Hebraist, when he showed signs of academic ability. He graduated at the age of fourteen (1511) and received an M.A. from Tübingen the following year. On Reuchlin’s recommendation he came to Wittenberg University as professor of Greek in 1518, took his B.D. in 1519, and published his Rhetoric and Dialectics the same year. He married Katherine Krapp in 1520, and the pair had four children.

Melanchthon quickly identified himself with his older colleague Luther in the struggle that began in 1517. He attended the Leipzig disputation in 1519 and in his own B.D. disputation championed the supreme authority of Scripture against that of popes and councils. In his lectures on Romans he expounded the doctrine of justification by faith through the nonimputation of our sin and the imputed righteousness of Christ. By 1521 he had given the Reformation its first dogmatics, the Loci communes theologici (Theological Common Places), which he was to reissue in various editions during the next decades. This work dealt especially with the themes of law and gospel, the bondage of the will, and justification by faith. At a more directly practical level Melanchthon helped to spread the Reformation with the injunctions he drew up for the Saxon visitation of 1528. On a broader front he formulated, with Luther’s help, the basic Lutheran statement, the Augsburg Confession, for presentation to the imperial diet in 1530. To explain the confession to its papal opponents he also wrote a longer Apology in 1531. As a third contribution to confessional Lutheranism he added to Luther’s Schmalcald Articles of 1537 a discussion on The Power and the Primacy of the Papacy. For use in Saxony itself he later compiled the Saxon Confession (1551).

Melanchthon is remembered for the leadership he gave the German Reformation in educational reform. In his inaugural address as a professor in 1518, he contended strongly for the reform of learning along classical lines. His own work led him to emphasize the need for Greek in theological training, and he combined humanist and reforming insights in his plans for university reconstruction. At this level he had a hand in the reorganization of existing universities, such as Heidelberg and Tübingen, and also in the forming of new ones at Marburg and Königsberg. Along with Luther he had a concern for the schools as well, initiating curricular reforms and in his Visitation Articles (1528) drawing up pioneering plans for free public education.

Of a mild and peaceful disposition, displayed in his horrified reaction to the Peasants’ War (1525), Melanchthon worked hard for reconciliation both with the papists and also with other reformers. With Luther he took part as a principal in the unsuccessful Marburg Colloquy (1529) with the Swiss (Zwingli and Oecolampadius) on the eucharistic question. He helped to achieve agreement with Bucer and the South Germans on the same issue in the Wittenberg Concord of 1536. Along the same lines he contributed to the Thirteen Articles that the Lutherans and the Anglicans agreed on unofficially in 1538. With Bucer he also participated in the discussions with Romanists at Hagenau and Worms that led to the famous Colloquy of Regensburg of 1541. (There Cardinal Contarini made a serious bid for agreement, but the differences finally proved to be insoluble.) A decade later Melanchthon did not prove to be so enthusiastic about Cranmer’s plan for a pan–reformation conference in London, but by this time he was under serious attack from within for alleged weakening of Lutheran teaching.

In spite of his own desire for harmony, Melanchthon could not avoid controversy. Already in 1522, when Luther was in the Wartburg, he had difficulties with Carlstadt over the Zwickau Prophets. In 1540 he brought out an edition of the Augsburg Confession with alterations that offended many Lutherans and brought him under considerable criticism after Luther’s death in 1546. The defeat of the Lutheran forces in 1547 and the imposing of the interim agreements of Augsburg and Leipzig (1548) caused further problems when Melanchthon recommended the acceptance of many papal practices on the ground they were indifferent or nonessential matters (adiaphora). Matthias Flacius accused him of betraying the Reformation. His mediating views on predestination and the eucharistic concessions he was thought to have made to the Swiss increased the opposition, and his followers at Wittenberg and Leipzig were scornfully referred to as Philippists and even as Crypto–Calvinists. Although Melanchthon’s essential Lutheranism was later vindicated, and he was honorably buried beside Luther when he died in 1560. The attacks caused him a good deal of mental stress in his closing years.

Melanchthon was more the scholar and the reflective theologian than the man of action. In this regard he proved to be complementary to Luther, and their close friendship probably owed much to this fact. His worth came out when it was a matter defending Reformation teaching and carrying through educational reconstruction. His weakness was quickly revealed when decisive leadership was demanded. In 1522, fortunately, Luther was at hand to restore the situation, but after Luther’s death, although he was the natural successor, Melanchthon lacked the moral force to deal adequately with the practical and theological problems that arose. His sincerity and piety, of course, were beyond question. Indeed, it was his overscrupulous conscience about trifles that once caused Luther to give him the startling advice to “sin boldly”—which was naturally misunderstood when taken out of context. Less vital and dramatic than Luther, yet no less able and dedicated in his own way, Melanchthon must be regarded as a pivotal figure in the early days of the Reformation. He not only left his mark on Lutheranism but also had a more extended educational and theological influence.*

*Melanchthon, Philip. In J. Douglas & P. W. Comfort (Eds.), Who’s Who in Christian history (J. Douglas & P. W. Comfort, Ed.) (466–468). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.

It’s The Birth Anniversary of Philip Melanchthon

So I’m celebrating.  First, a nice tea, and then, sharing with you a variety of posts concerning the great man (which you can find here).

And, as well, a photo array:

And finally, portions of the letter Luther wrote to Philip on August 1, 1521 whilst Luther was at the Wartburg and Philip was feeling particularly sinful:

If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. This life is not the dwelling place of righteousness, but, as Peter says, we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. It is enough that by the riches of God’s glory we have come to know the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day. Do you think that the purchase price that was paid for the redemption of our sins by so great a Lamb is too small? Pray boldly—you too are a mighty sinner.

Have a happy Melanchthon Day!

Poor Bob, He’s a ‘Hurt Puppy’…. The Ongoing Quest for Sympathy of R. Golb

The New York Times reports in a long article things I here below simply excerpt-

In 2006 and 2007, when several American museums announced exhibits of the scrolls, Raphael Golb was incensed that his father’s theory had not been acknowledged in the shows. “They teach scorn for my father,” Mr. Golb said, accusing rival academics of “indoctrinating students in a culture of hatred.”  “This is a system where they suppress people by excluding them,” he added.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it.  Perhaps R.G. is a fan of Monty Python and memorized the line “‘Help, I’b being repressed… now we see the violence inherent in the system…’

One of Mr. Golb’s targets was a graduate student named Robert R. Cargill, who created a virtual tour of Qumran for the San Diego museum.  Norman Golb posted an article on the Web site of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago complaining that the film’s script ignored his theory.   Raphael Golb went further, sending pseudonymous e-mails to Mr. Cargill’s professors at U.C.L.A.  “I said this person should be compelled to answer the published criticisms of his work at his Ph.D. defense,” Raphael Golb said. Some of the e-mail messages suggested that Mr. Cargill, who describes himself as agnostic, was a fundamentalist Christian and an anti-Semite.


Ronald Kuby, a lawyer for Raphael Golb, last week disputed Mr. Cargill’s characterization of himself as an innocent victim, writing in an e-mail message that “he played a vile role in this case. Among other things, Cargill spend hundreds of hours obsessively tracking down ‘Charles Gadda’ because of the latter’s online criticisms, engaged in his own sock puppetry while concealing it and condemning Golb for the same thing.” Mr. Kuby added, “Cargill is probably a lot of fun to chat with, but he is more than capable of using his hurt puppy persona to manipulate the criminal justice system.”   Mr. Golb put it this way: “Cargill was stalking me.”

R.G. probably just wishes Cargill were stalking him.  Maybe he has a man crush on Bob and that’s really what this is all about.  Or puppy love.  Maybe he’s like the 5th grader who wants the boy’s attention so much she runs up to him on the playground and punches him.  Who knows what the pathology driving Golb is.  Maybe dad didn’t pay him enough attention while he was a kid.  It’s patently clear, though, that he has something going on.

With his felony conviction, Mr. Golb was disbarred; the trial also consumed most of his mother’s savings, he said. The prospect of prison shook him from his bravado.  “My real concern is if I’ll be able to handle it physically,” he said. “I don’t have a good back. I was once rushed to the hospital with neck spasms. Being in a confined environment, I don’t know how I’ll react to that. It’s possible I’ll go insane. It’s possible that I’ll be fine and just read my books and do some writing.”

And so- what he really wants- is sympathy.  Sorry- that boat has sailed.