Daily Archives: 30 Oct 2016

Otto Eckart has Completed his Deuteronomy 12:1-23:15 (Part 3) Commentary

bd3From the foreword:

Es ist Aufgabe des Kommentators des Buches Deuteronomium, das philologische, historische, speziell das literatur- und religionshistorische Wissen der Zeit über das Deuteronomium als Teil der Tora in kontinuierlicher Auslegung des Textes zusammenzufassen und so zu bündeln, dass der Text mit wissenschaftlicher Vermittlung in der Lebenspraxis kerygmatische Wirkung entfalten kann. Dieser Kommentar des Deuteronomiums vereinigt dazu eine diachrone, an der Entstehung des Textes, und eine synchrone, an der Interpretation seiner Endgestalt orientierte Auslegung.

I’m going to spend the next weeks enjoying it.  Do note, the Publisher, Herder Verlag, at this point only has Bd 1 of the 3 Bdn commentary on Dt 12:1ff available.  Bd 2 and 3 are forthcoming.  So, if you’re keeping score, Dt 1-11 is covered in 2 volumes, 12:1-23:15 in 3 volumes, and 23:16ff in who knows yet how many.

The Luther Moratorium

onnoticeWith Reformation Day hitting tomorrow you’ll be hearing nothing but non stop Luther blather from every corner of the world. Social media, news, websites, blogs. The chatter about Martin will be never ending for the next year.

Accordingly, I won’t be mentioning Luther at all. Not for the next year. I’ll be spending my Reformer dollars in the other Reformers stores.  Zwingli, Calvin, Melanchthon, Oecolampadius… these are a few of the names you’ll hear.  The names of real Reformers, not besotted male versions of Joan of Arc…

I’m already weary of hearing about Luther. By the 31st of October next year, the entire world will be.

So, farewell Martin. See you November 1, 2017. If then.


Lutheran Satire And Luther’s Attempt at Reformation

Or, this is what happens when Lutherans try to claim the Reformation is actually their invention.

An Ethics Violation Complaint has Been Filed against James Comey, By A Republican

In a terse Op-Ed published in today’s New York Times, Richard Painter, the chief White House Ethics Lawyer in the Bush Administration from 2005-2007, explains why he filed a Complaint yesterday against FBI Director James Comey with the FBI’s Office Of Special Counsel, which investigates possible ethical violations within the Bureau. In particular, Painter explains why Comey’s inexplicable actions this week may warrant prosecution for abuse of power under the Hatch Act:

“I have spent much of my career working on government ethics and lawyers’ ethics, including two and a half years as the chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, and I never thought that the F.B.I. could be dragged into a political circus surrounding one of its investigations. Until this week.”

Painter, a former George W. Bush, Marco Rubio and John Kasich supporter, explains that had the Bureau made a similar public disclosure in its connection with the ongoing investigation ties between a certain presidential candidate and hacking of Americans’ emails by the Russian government, it would have equally constituted a breach of longstanding policy and an abuse of power. Specifically, the Hatch Act bars the use by a government official of his position to influence an election.

Etc.  And again, Comey needs to be fired.

The Greatest of the Reformers: Zwingli and Calvin

And they get their due in Debrecen.

Das Themenjahr “Reformation und die eine Welt” hat aufgezeigt, dass sich Reformation weder linear noch lokal, sondern gleichzeitig, vielfältig und weltweit abgespielt hat – und das auch weiterhin tut. Im Vorfeld der EKD-Synode unter dem Schwerpunktthema “Europa in Solidarität – Evangelische Impulse” fokussieren wir den Blick noch mal auf Europa. Zum Beispiel Debrecen: Die Reformationsstadt Europas öffnete sich früh den neuen Ideen und übernahm als Verwaltungszentrum und Schulstandort eine wichtige Schlüsselrolle.


Anthony Weiner is Absolute Proof…

That your sins don’t just affect you- they affect everyone around you.  The nonsense notion that our sins only affect us and that, accordingly, they are only our business, is an idiot’s lie only believed by such.

Next time someone tells you that their sinful behavior is none of your business, remind them of Anthony Weiner and tell them everything they do affects everyone around them.

Happy Reformation Sunday Reminder- Luther Was Late to the Game

‘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.