Quote of the Day

Although our biblical texts span a good many centuries, the language in which they are written presents an astonishing degree of uniformity. But this uniformity is not manifested to the same degree in all aspects of the language: orthography, phonetics/phonology, morphology, syntax, vocabulary, and phraseology. The variations in vocabulary and phraseology between one period and another and one writer and another are the most significant. The variations in syntax are in general the least significant. Nevertheless, the differences appear quite noticeable when one compares texts separated by a long period of time. Thus the syntax of the post-exilic historical books such as Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles differs appreciably from that of Samuel and Kings.*

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*PAUL JOÜON & T. MURAOKA, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew

Calvin and the Book: The Evolution of the Printed Word in Reformed Protestantism

Coming soon:

978-3-525-55088-5The contributors, international experts on the history of Calvin and Reformed Protestantism and on Calvin’s theology, bring a wide variety of historical and theological approaches to bear on the question of Calvin’s relationship to the printed word. Taken all together, they will push specialists and general readers to rethink standard assumptions about Calvin’s influence on Reformed Christianity and, in particular, about the interplay among theology, Reformed discipline, religious education efforts, and the printed word in early modern Europe.

I Know I Make You Angry

And honestly, it’s alright with me.  Here’s why:

  • Your personal beliefs, acts, actions, and activities are between you and God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
  • Nonetheless, when you hijack, misrepresent, distort, or lie about the History of Christianity, Scripture, or Theology you have knowingly or unknowingly entered my territory and you will be told so.  
  • If you don’t belong in the yard because you’re qualified and entitled to be here you are a trespasser and the consequences of your trespassing will descend upon your unworthy head instantly.
  • Surely you can’t think so little of me to be surprised at that.  If you are, you don’t know me at all.  I don’t apologize for speaking the truth and if you think I fear losing friends or standing in isolation to do it you are profoundly mistaken.
  • Sirach wrote- Fight to the death for the truth and the Lord will fight for you.
  • Nonetheless I am not a homophobe any more than I am an antisemite because I wish the Palestinians to have a homeland of their own.  My gay friends are dear to me and I love them very much.  They answer to God for their actions just as I do for mine.
  • But if even one of them were to misrepresent the truth I would not, I would refuse to, be silent.
  • That’s just who I am.  I was born this way.  If you despise it, you’re a Jimophobe.  Still- I won’t be whoever you think I should be just to make you comfortable.

And The Winner of this Year’s “Most Inappropriate and Historically Inaccurate Use of the Word ‘Reformation'” Goes To…. Rachel Held Evans and Her Cohort

misuse

It’s as though they sat down and thought “hmmm…. what can we call our gathering that will both misuse the notion of Reformation and bastardize the historical movement which occurred in the 16th century which sought to purify and improve the Church… Oh, I know, let’s call it the ‘Reformation Project’ because…”

Good God in heaven.  I have many many words floating around in my head and not a single one of them are really suitable for a G rated blog.  The perverseness of this perversion is simply repulsive.  It’s time to enter into a season of imprecations.  Let’s go:

Give ear to my words, Yahweh, spare a thought for my sighing.  Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God! To you I pray, … You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil, no sinner can be your guest. You hate evil-doers, liars you destroy; … Not a word from their lips can be trusted, through and through they are destruction, their throats are wide — open graves, their tongues seductive.  Lay the guilt on them, … since they have rebelled against you. (Ps. 5)

And

God, do not remain silent, do not stay quiet or unmoved, God!  See how your enemies are in uproar, how those who hate you are rearing their heads. They are laying plans against your people, conspiring against those you cherish;  they say, ‘Come, let us annihilate them as a nation, the name of Israel shall be remembered no more!’  They conspire with a single mind, they conclude an alliance against you, the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia and the Tyrians; even Assyria has joined them to reinforce the children of Lot.  Treat them like Midian and Sisera, like Jabin at the river Kishon; wiped out at En-Dor, they served to manure the ground. Treat their leaders like Oreb and Zeeb, all their commanders like Zebah and Zalmunna,  for they said, ‘Let us take for ourselves God’s settlements.’ My God, treat them like thistledown, like chaff at the mercy of the wind. As fire devours a forest, as a flame sets mountains ablaze, so drive them away with your tempest, by your whirlwind fill them with terror. Shame written all over their faces, let them seek your name, Yahweh!  Dishonour and terror be always theirs, death also and destruction. Let them know that you alone bear the name of Yahweh, Most High over all the earth. (Ps. 83)

Too much?  Hardly.  This movement is as heretical a sect as the Church has encountered since Arius rose as a Bishop for the schismatics.  While they adopt Christian sounding themes, their goals are nothing less than to rid the world of Christianity itself and replace it with a secular humanism the likes of which would please Marcion. False Christians promoting false Christianity to a world more than gleefully happy to see the truths of the Faith twisted into unrecognizable form and all for the sake of their own sense of self importance.

Disgusting.

I’ll turn it over to Luther.  He knows how to vent-

You cowardly slave, you corrupt sycophant, with your sickening advice!

And

You run against God with the horns of your pride up in the air and thus plunge into the abyss of hell. Woe unto you, Antichrist!

And

What devilish unchristian thing would you not undertake?

And

I think that all the devils have at once entered into you.

And

You say, “What comes out of our mouth must be kept!” I hear it – which mouth do you mean? The one from which the farts come? (You can keep that yourself!)

A New Project: Translating Zwingli’s “Actio[n] oder Brauch des Nachtmals”

gedachtnisI’m excited about this one:  I’ll be translating Zwingli’s Actio[n] oder Brauch des Nachtmals, Gedechtnus, oder Dancksagung Christi wie sy auff Osteren zu[o] Zürich angehebt wirt, jm Jar alls man zalt M.D. XXV.

It has, to my knowledge, never been translated into English by anyone, ever, anywhere.  So this should be fun.  I’m doing it for the Kessler Collection at Pitts Theological Library at Emory University.  They’ll publish it in both printed and electronic format in due course.  Stay tuned.

Julius Africanus: One Interesting Fellow!

Larry’s working on a new book. I like Larry’s books. I think he’s a sharp young man and I am expecting great things from him.

Larry Hurtado's Blog

In working on my current book project (working title:  “What Made Early Christianity Distinctive in the Roman World?”), I again came across references to Julius Africanus, a figure I’d seen referenced before but to whom I confess I’d not previously given much attention.  In part, this is probably because his major works are now extant only in fragments and quotations in other writers.  But in the last several years, a two-volume publication on him provides us with a thorough introduction to the man and his two major works, together with a critical text and English translation of what we can reconstruct of them:

Martin Wallraff, et al. (eds.), Iulius Africanus Chronographiae: The Extant Fragments, translated by William Adler (Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2007); Martin Wallfraf, et alia (eds.), Iulius Africanus Cesti: The Extant Fragments, translated by William Adler (Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2012).

Julius Africanus (born ca. 160-170…

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Now the HuffPo (Which Knows Nothing of Theology) Is Offering Advice to Pastors…

Because?  Well who knows.  But evidently they think Pastors are somehow obliged to adopt the agenda of the HuffPo and its editors.

ugh

Anyway, if you’re a Pastor and you are so empty-headed that you actually need sermon starters from HuffPo- quit today, and take up juggling or become a pop singer or get gender reassignment surgery or something.  Do anything but preach.  You aren’t fit for that.

Poor Miley Cyrus- She’s So Untalented as a Singer She Must Constantly Find Publicity in Bizarre Behavior

Earlier today,Paper announced actress, activist, former Disney Channel star, and immensely talented singer Miley Cyrus as its Summer 2015 cover star. In her interview with the magazine, Cyrus discussed veganism, politics, and the importance of treating everyone with respect — and we loved what she had to say.

But perhaps most notably, Cyrus also delved into the details of her new nonprofit, the Happy Hippie Foundation, and its personal significance for her. For those less familiar, Cyrus founded the Happy Hippie Foundation last month in order to provide homeless, LGBTQ+, and other vulnerable youth groups with employment opportunities, education, and support. According to their site, 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+, with family rejection cited as the most common reason for homelessness. The organization is extremely close to heart for Cyrus, given that she herself identifies as both sexuality- and gender-fluid — and Cyrus went on to share her own experience coming out to her mom at fourteen.

Aww, that’s precious isn’t it…  But when you don’t have talent and still want to be in the public eye, you have to go Kardashianesque and do anything for attention.  Anything.

Overcoming Evil Requires Knowing Evil’s Schemes

At least that’s how various theologians in the history of Christianity have understood things:

Satan loves a wagging tongue.  Especially when it wags hardest when it should be most still.  – CH Spurgeon

The first man revolted against the authority of God, not only in allowing himself to be ensnared by the wiles of the devil, but also by despising the truth, and turning aside to lies. – John Calvin

The church must suffer persecution because it teaches the Gospel purely. The Gospel proclaims the mercy and the glory of God; it discloses the wickedness and the wiles of the devil, portraying him in his true colors and taking away his mask of divine majesty, by which he has made an impression on the whole world. – Martin Luther

The devil’s weapons are all the evil.  – Martin Luther

Charlotte von Kirschbaum’s ‘Church Dogmatics’ is on Sale for a Mere $99

I’ve had to correct CBD’s copy:

Charlotte v. Kirschbaum

Charlotte v. Kirschbaum

Charlotte v. K’s Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics is, arguably, the SECOND most important theological publication of the 20th Century. Reacting against staunchly entrenched German Idealism, CvK Barth sought to articulate a Christian theology that took seriously and yet overcame the critique of Christianity brought forth by 19th Century Protestant Liberalism. Most believe She succeeded to a great extent, and in doing so re-established an orthodox theology’s ability to speak positively and confidently about faith, reason, and God in Jesus Christ.

Since its publication in the United States, the Dogmatics has remained relatively inaccessible to pastors, students, and even many professors due to its cost. That is now changing. Hendrickson Publishers, with its publication of the 14-volume set of the Church Dogmatics, has overcome this obstacle by providing an economic, hardback edition.

As Calvin’s Institutes was the most influential theological masterpiece of the FRENCH Reformation, there is little doubt that CvK’s Barth’s Dogmatics is emerging as the SECOND most eminent attempt to articulate an orthodox theology in the modern period, WITH EMIL BRUNNER’S WORK BEING THE MOST IMPORTANT.

Hate That Which God Hates: Advice from St. Jerome

jeromeI beseech you, dearly beloved, and by the love which I feel towards you, I implore you—as though it were my own members on which I would have pity—by word and letter to fulfil that which is written, “Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?”

Origen’s words are the words of an enemy, hateful and repugnant to God and to His saints; and not only those which I have quoted, but countless others. For it is not now my intention to argue against all his opinions. Origen has not lived in my day, nor has he robbed me. I have not conceived a dislike to him nor quarrelled with him because of an inheritance or of any worldly matter; but—to speak plainly—I grieve, and grieve bitterly, to see numbers of my brothers, and of those in particular who show the most promise, and have reached the highest rank in the sacred ministry, deceived by his persuasive arguments, and made by his most perverse teaching the food of the devil.

Jerome’s advice?  If your brothers and sisters are being misled by some reprehensible false teacher, it’s your duty to hate it!  And to do what is in your power to stop it.

The Myth of Scholarly Objectivity Debunked

Sometimes scholars enjoy pretending objectivity.  They assume an air of detachment and would portray themselves as willing to listen and to accept differing well founded reasonable viewpoints with an open mind and equanimity

And some actually manage to live their lives that way.  But many do not.  How do you know the difference between the two?  It’s really simple:

  • Open a twitter account
  • Follow whatsoever academics you wish
  • Wait for them to say something about their academic hero
  • Say something in disagreement
  • Watch some of them accuse you of trolling

You’ll then be able to distinguish the authentically objective and the authentically nonobjective.  You see, if someone says you’re trolling only when they disagree with you it means that they’re willing to agree with you when you say something they like but when you don’t, you’ve transformed yourself into a troll.  The truth or falsity of your statement is irrelevant: the entire basis of their judgment of you is the fact of agreement or disagreement.

Scholars who move ad hominem are not objective concerning the issue at hand.  By their fruits you will know them.

Angry Anabaptists

When the Zurich council ordered the re-baptizers to allow their infants to be baptized according to custom and practice and with Zwingli’s theological support, they (the anabaptists) refused. That’s when all hell broke loose- literally- as the rebaptizers took to the streets in riot. Schaff tries to put a sweet spin on it, writing

The Anabaptists refused to obey, and ventured on bold demonstrations. They arranged processions, and passed as preachers of repentance, in sackcloth and girdled, through the streets of Zurich, singing, praying, exhorting, abusing the old dragon (Zwingli) and his horns, and exclaiming, “Woe, woe unto Zurich!”

But he doesn’t tell the whole grimy story. Oskar Farner does a far better job, devoting not merely a sentence to the uprising but several pages (see his magisterial biography,Huldrych Zwingli, Bd, 4, S. 144ff). Farner cites numerous sources and paints a bit more violent of a picture. Men, women and children from Zollikon (a suburb of Zurich) marched to the city clothed in sackcloth and screaming as they went ‘woe, woe to Zurich; as Jonah preached, 40 days and the city will be destroyed’! Why, because the ‘Great Dragon’ Zwingli was there. They threw eggs and rocks at his home and caused damage in other parts of the city as well.

Zwingli’s response? ‘Sedition!’ Why? because the Peasants War was on everyone’s mind and what had happened and was even then happening in Germany surely shouldn’t be allowed to happen in Zurich! The authorities acted with haste to crush the uprising. And crush it they did. There would be no Peasant’s War in Switzerland, thanks to the wise action of the Zurich Council.

Indeed, the fact that the leaders of the movement alone were arrested shows the great self control of the Council. What was happening across the border must have terrified everyone. The restraint of the Council truly is remarkable on that count.  Crazy angry anabaptists.  ‘What do we want: OUR way.  When do we want it? NOW’.