Daily Archives: 11 Aug 2016

When Discussing The Trinity, Abandon Analogies…

Or, as Calvin put it

I really do not know whether it is expedient to borrow comparisons from human affairs to express the force of this distinction [among the divine persons]. Men of old were indeed accustomed sometimes to do so, but at the same time they confessed that the analogies they advanced were quite inadequate.

Thus it is that I shrink from all rashness here: lest if anything should by inopportunely expressed, it may give occasion either of calumny to the malicious, or of delusion to the ignorant. –  John Calvin

In short, analogies create more problems than they solve.  Abandon them for they arm the angry atheists and confuse the ignorant.

Mary Beard Will Be Interviewed on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’

Tomorrow, August 12.  Noon here in the Eastern time zone.  Talking about the Romans…  and her new book I suspect.  Hooray!  It live streams on the local NPR affiliate- WUOT.

A New Project: “Luther- A Christian and His Legacy 1517-2017”

Because I like to stay occupied, remembering always the old saying ‘idle hands are the Devil’s chief weapon against people who have minds that tend to wander and require concrete assignments in order to stay focused and who never expect the Spanish Inquisition…’ or something like that.

Anyway, this project really is something I’m excited about and I don’t mean in the sense that actors say they’re excited about their latest film even though they’ll later pan it when it turns out it’s rubbish.  I’m genuinely excited about it.  Especially since it’s three volumes and I get a copy of the entire thing for my brief piece.  Hooray!  Books!


I guess I should get to work.  Nah… I’ll wait a few days and let the excitement mellow.

Reading Erasmus’ Bible

Heading to Emory to attend this lecture next Tuesday.  I’ll post a summary and copious photos.


If Christians Were as Serious As Olympic Athletes…

They would take Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians seriously:

Do you not realise that, though all the runners in the stadium take part in the race, only one of them gets the prize? Run like that — to win. Every athlete concentrates completely on training, and this is to win a wreath that will wither, whereas ours will never wither. So that is how I run, not without a clear goal; and how I box, not wasting blows on air.  I punish my body and bring it under control, to avoid any risk that, having acted as herald for others, I myself may be disqualified. (1 Cor. 9:24-27)

Live like someone dedicated to their cause, like someone utterly committed, like someone who dare not risk being disqualified, like someone who fears failure more than death.  That’s the challenge Paul issues the Corinthians and the challenge we too are summoned to accept.

Live like faith matters more than anything and like God matters most of all.  That, after all, is the sort of person God can use to change the world.  Not by giving them a little medal that over time fades into forgetful forgotteness but by using them as his very own instruments of eternal redemption.

SOTS At 100: Centennial Essays for the Society for Old Testament Study

Bloomsbury will publish this volume in the Winter.

The volume, being published by Bloomsbury T&T Clark in the Library of Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament Studies, comprises seven essays by long-serving Officers of the Society:

  • ‘The Origins of the Society for Old Testament Study: Cultural, Political and Religious Antecedents’, by Ronald Clements (Foreign Secretary 1974-1981, President 1985).
  • ‘The Society for Old Testament Study: 1917-2017’, by Eryl Davies (Archivist since 2012, President 2013).
  • ‘A Timeline of SOTS’, by John Jarick (Secretary 2000-2009).
  • ‘A Century of SOTS Papers’, by David Clines (Secretary 1977-1982, President 1996, Foreign Secretary 2005-2012).
  • ‘From People and Book to Text in Context: Volumes that Speak Volumes’, by Adrian Curtis (Secretary 1983-1988, President 2016).
  • ‘A Snapshot of SOTS at 100: Collegiality and Diversity in the Membership of the Society for Old Testament Study’, by Katharine Dell (Secretary 1995-2000).
  • ‘The Way of the Future? Into Our Second Century’, by Paul Joyce (Secretary 1989-1994, President 2017).

Members of the Society can order the volume at a substantial discount. See the email from Viv Rowett.

Janet Tollington’s Exaltation

Viv writes

I’m delighted to inform all who didn’t come to the Summer Meeting that Janet Tollington has agreed to become the next Membership Secretary, taking over from the January Meeting onwards. Janet is well known to all as a hardworking servant of SOTS over many years. The day of the business meeting when she formally accepted her new role was also her 65th birthday, and we were treated to a wonderful tea party the day before as a gift from her to us; so it was a two-tea-party Summer Meeting, very much enjoyed by all who attended, for its wonderful array of papers as well a cake; thanks to Adrian Curtis for overseeing an excellent programme. As ever, James Patrick masterminded the arrangements and looked after needs arising in the moment in his efficient and pleasant way.

Hip hip hooray for Janet.  But Viv’s satin loafers will be hard to fill.

When Most People Talk About The Bible…

I may smile politely on the outside.  But just know, on the inside…


Twitter Theology That Makes Me Sigh: And The Truth About Calvin’s Income

The sigh inducing claim:


The truth

In his Preface to the Book of Psalms, Calvin says: ‘People circulate ridiculous rumours respecting my treasures, my great power, and my wealthy sort of life. But if a man satisfies himself with such simple fare and such common clothing, and does not require more moderation in the humblest than he himself exercises, how can it be said that he is a spendthrift and fond of self-display? My death will prove what they would not believe in my life’ (Me non esse pecuniosum, si vivus quibusdam non persuadeo, mors tandem ostendet).

His salary, when he occupied the chief ecclesiastical position in Geneva as preacher in the cathedral and minister of its congregation, never exceeded about £160 in our money, and he was provided with a house and garden.*


[Calvin’s] work as pastor and professor was never lucrative. He was indeed so pressed by poverty, as his letters to Farel show, that more than once he had to sell his books. His actual salary was a florin a week (about five francs and a half). It was therefore necessary for him to take boarders. But as these pensioners were themselves poor students, Calvin’s income was not thereby greatly increased.*

Aside from those bitlets there are loads of historical evidence in the literature about Calvin’s simplicity of life and poverty.  Osteen of Geneva my ____________.

*C. H. Irwin, John Calvin: The Man and His Work (Bellingham, WA: The Religious Tract Society, 1909).

Quote of the Day

Zwingli’s Statue at the Wasserkirche

“The business of the truth is not to be deserted, even to the sacrifice of our lives. For we live not for this age of ours, nor for the princes, but for the Lord. To admit for the sake of the princes any thing that will diminish or vitiate the truth is silly, not to say impious. To have held fast to the purpose of the Lord is to conquer all adversaries.”—  Huldrych Zwingli