Daily Archives: 11 Feb 2017

Signs of the Times: Presidential Declarations

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Dull Witted and Coarsely Ignorant

jeromeI am not dull-witted nor coarsely ignorant – qualities which my enemies take for holiness, calling themselves the disciples of fishermen as if men were made holy by knowing nothing.  – St. Jerome

Quote of the Day: On Being Downcast

“I am not afraid; I am not downhearted; I am of good cheer and refuse to worry. It is true that misery and sorrow are with me; they scowl at me and try to frighten me into begging for mercy. But I thumb my nose at them and say: ‘Please, Mr. Bogeyman, don’t eat me up! You look horrible enough to scare anyone who wants to be frightened. But I have another, lovelier vision, to light my way, like the sun, into eternal life. And so I ignore you, feeble and temporary dark cloud and angry little wind that you are!’ ” — Martin Luther

Signs of the Times: The Hypocrisy of the GOP

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Luther’s Words In An Online Collage

Luther coined a lot of new words. This report informs us about their appearance in an online collage.

Begriffe wie „Machtwort“, „Lückenbüßer“ und „Feuereifer“ sind längst Bestandteile der Alltagssprache. Mit einer Vielzahl neuer Wörter hat der Reformator Martin Luther das Deutsche bis heute geprägt. Nora Gomringer und Petra Feigl wollen mit dem Projekt „Aufsmaulschaun – Denn der Bauch hat keine Ohren“ genauer ergründen, wie umfassend Luthers Erbe in der Sprache ist.

Etc.  Or as Luther would put it, κτλ.

A Film About Luther

Fun Facts from Church History: Melanchthon’s Lectures on John

Melancthon1Melanchthon held lectures on the Gospel of John at the University of Wittenberg from February 11, 1522, until around March 11, 1523.*

So Luther took the notes and had them published, writing a witty and brilliant preface which begins

I have already purloined our Philip’s Annotations on three Epistles of Paul. And though he was not at liberty to rage against that thief Luther for it, he nevertheless thought he had been most satisfactorily avenged against me in that the little volume had come out so full of errors due to the negligence of the printers that I was nearly ashamed and regretted having invested my stolen goods so poorly. Meanwhile, he has lutherbeen making fun of me, hoping that henceforth I would abstain from such theft, having been taught a lesson by my predicament. But I, not at all troubled by this derision, have grown even more audacious, and now I take his Annotations on John the Evangelist not by stealth but by force, while the author resists in vain. But I do not wish to adorn them with words (they will commend themselves to the reader), lest I should have to endure his scornful frown again.*

The rest is just as good.

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*Timothy J. Wengert, “Preface to Philip Melanchthon, Annotations on the Gospel of John (1523),” in Luther’s Works (ed. Christopher Boyd Brown; trans. Heath R. Curtis; vol. 59; Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2012), 5945.

Fun Facts From Church History: Geneva and Castellio

Sébastien Castellio (1515–63), who was six years younger than Calvin, was a Savoyard by birth, had risen from very humble origins to distinction in humanistic learning at Lyons, had fled to Strassburg by reason of his Protestant sympathies, and, while there, had for a brief time been a member of Calvin’s household.

Impetuous and rather arrogant of his scholarship, he was courageous and kind-hearted. At Farel’s recommendation he had become a teacher of the Genevan school on June 20, 1541, nearly three months before Calvin’s return. It was natural that Calvin should prefer the restoration of his old friend Mathurin Cordier to the rectorship in the school which that teacher had occupied before Calvin’s banishment; but when it proved impossible to draw Cordier from his new home in Neuchâtel, Castellio was given the place in permanency, in April, 1542, with the understanding that he should maintain two sub-teachers and preach at the village of Vendovre.

The time was one of great scarcity in Geneva, and his salary proved all too small for his needs. This, and possibly other considerations, added to a real desire for the pastorate, led him to propose to exchange his teachership for the active ministry. The Little Council favoured the plan on December 17, 1543; but Calvin opposed, since on his examination by the Vénérable Compagnie Castellio had criticised the inspiration of Solomon’s Song, holding it to be illustrative of that monarch’s less reputable characteristics, and also the current Genevan interpretation of the clause in the Apostles’ Creed, “He descended into hell,” which taught that it means that Christ on the cross suffered vicariously the pains of hell. For these reasons, Calvin declared to the Little Council that Castellio ought not to enter the pastorate.*

Calvin won. Calvin always won once he returned to Geneva.

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*Williston Walker, John Calvin: The Organiser of Reformed Protestantism (New York; London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1906), 288–289.