Daily Archives: 24 Feb 2017

The 95 Theses Exhibit at Pitts Theology Library

Is glorious!

Be Glad You Aren’t Thomas Cranmer Today…

Because it’s a bad day to be Thomas Cranmer!

cranmer

Meanwhile, In Europe

On December 5, 2016 the Foundation for religious sciences (FSCIRE) launched a “network of networks” among the European institutions that work in the field of religious sciences: the European Academy of Religion.
The launching event was held under the High Patronage of the European Parliament, the Patronage of the Italian Minister for Education University and Research and the University of Bologna, at the presence of a great number of scholars and representatives of associations, societies, research centers, scientific journals, publishers and media working in the different disciplines related to religion: e.g. Anthropology, Archeology, Art, Biblical Studies, Canon Law, Cultural Heritage, Digital Studies, Education, Ethic, Exegesis, Gender Studies, History, International Relations, Islam, Judaism, Law, Linguistics, Media, Movie, Musicology, Music, Pedagogy, Philosophy, Politology, Psychology, Sociology, Talmus, and so on (You can find more informations about the initiative at the following this link: https://www.europeanacademyofreligion.org/launching-event).

Before the very “first” conference of the European Academy of Religion to be held in March 2018 (which is supposed to continue in the following years at the same date) FSCIRE is now organizing, on behalf of the Academy, the Ex Nihilo Zero Conference, which will be held in Bologna from Sunday, June 18 to Thursday, June 22, 2017. Scholars, societies and research groups are invited to participate to the conference by presenting individual papers and/or organizing one or more panels with speakers of their choice, in order to present themselves, their current researches and activities.
The registrations are open. On the European Academy of Religion website (https://www.europeanacademyofreligion.org/download-area) You will find the forms to be sent to eu_are2017@fscire.it by Friday, March 31, 2017. The proposals already received will be soon available online. 
Alberto Melloni

Something for the Barthians

Via.

barth

Which makes one wonder- given Barth’s very odd behavior- ‘what are you smoking, Karl?’

Still, I have to admit, Karl had great penmanship.

barth2

Today With Zwingli: Zwingli’s 1526 Edition of Pindar

S. Jackson remarks, justifiably,

zwingli_pindarOn April 14, 1525, Zwingli was chosen rector of the Carolinum, the Great Minster school; consequently he moved into the official residence of the rector, and lived there until death. He used his new position to improve the schools and took part himself in the biblical instruction, which he had made part of the curriculum. That he was still fond of humanistic studies and had not forgotten his Greek amid all his absorbing labours, he demonstrated by issuing on February 24, 1526, in Basel, an edition of the poems of Pindar.

Koehler writes

Zu den schönsten Zeugnissen von Zwingiis Verehrung der Antike gehört seine Praefatio und seine Epistola zu der Pindar-Ausgabe seines früh verstorbenen Freundes Jakob Ceporin. Ihre Bedeutung ist daher auch in der neuen Zwingliausgabe (Bd. IV, S. 863 ff.) entsprechend hervorgehoben worden.

You can read the Preface here.  Zwingli was a man of learning.  And he remained exactly that his entire life.

Bullinger: Dispensing the Truth

bullinger90The belly being full, either no prayers at all, or else fat and unwieldy prayers, are made.  — Heinrich Bullinger

#ICYMI – Newly Discovered Portraits of the Reformers Have Been Put on Display in Zurich

And they’re on display at the Zurich Central Library:

Sechs Gemälde aus der Reformationszeit schlummerten dreizehn Jahre im Keller des baugeschichtlichen Archivs in Zürich. Nun sind die wichtigen Zeugen der Reformation in der Zentralbibliothek zu sehen.

«Das war wie Weihnachten», sagt Jochen Hesse, Leiter der Graphischen Sammlung der Zentralbibliothek Zürich über die sechs Wandbilder, die sie geschenkt bekam. Hesse hatte die sechs Doppelporträts aus der Reformationszeit 2013 zufällig bei einem Besuch im baugeschichtlichen Archiv der Stadt Zürich entdeckt. Sie lagerten dort seit ihrer Restaurierung vor dreizehn Jahren.

«Ich war neugierig und fragte nach Herkunft und Besitzer», erzählt er. So erfuhr er, dass die Bilder aus dem Haus des Buchdruckers Christoph Froschauer stammten, der durch den Druck von Werken der Reformatoren ein wichtiger Förderer der Reformation in Zürich wurde. Als Eigentümerin der Liegenschaft an der Froschaugasse waren inzwischen die Schaeppi Liegenschaften Besitzer der Bilder.

Christmas indeed! Read the rest.

oecolampadius_zwingli

 

John Calvin: On The Superstition of Lent

I’ll happily stand with Calvin on the issue of Lent and leave those who wish to lie in the filth of the pigsty of ‘tradition’ simply for the sake of ‘tradition’ to do so.

Institutes 4.12.20 reads thusly (with particularly useful descriptions of lenten observance and observers bold-faced)

Then the superstitious observance of Lent had everywhere prevailed: for both the vulgar imagined that they thereby perform some excellent service to God, and pastors commended it as a holy imitation of Christ; though it is plain that Christ did not fast to set an example to others, but, by thus commencing the preaching of the gospel, meant to prove that his doctrine was not of men, but had come from heaven.

And it is strange how men of acute judgment could fall into this gross delusion, which so many clear reasons refute: for Christ did not fast repeatedly (which he must have done had he meant to lay down a law for an anniversary fast), but once only, when preparing for the promulgation of the gospel. Nor does he fast after the manner of men, as he would have done had he meant to invite men to imitation; he rather gives an example, by which he may raise all to admire rather than study to imitate him.

In short, the nature of his fast is not different from that which Moses observed when he received the law at the hand of the Lord (Exod. 24:18; 34:28). For, seeing that that miracle was performed in Moses to establish the law, it behoved not to be omitted in Christ, lest the gospel should seem inferior to the law. But from that day, it never occurred to any one, under pretence of imitating Moses, to set up a similar form of fast among the Israelites.

Nor did any of the holy prophets and fathers follow it, though they had inclination and zeal enough for all pious exercises; for though it is said of Elijah that he passed forty days without meat and drink (1 Kings 19:8), this was merely in order that the people might recognise that he was raised up to maintain the law, from which almost the whole of Israel had revolted.

It was therefore merely false zeal, replete with superstition, which set up a fast under the title and pretext of imitating Christ; although there was then a strange diversity in the mode of the fast, as is related by Cassiodorus in the ninth book of the History of Socrates: “The Romans,” says he, “had only three weeks, but their fast was continuous, except on the Lord’s day and the Sabbath. The Greeks and Illyrians had, some six, others seven, but the fast was at intervals. Nor did they differ less in the kind of food: some used only bread and water, others added vegetables; others had no objection to fish and fowls; others made no difference in their food.” Augustine also makes mention of this difference in his latter epistle to Januarius.

True words, Calvin.  Truly said.   Let’s see how the rabid lent-ianists like those apples.

13 Heretical Notions ‘The Shack’ Perpetrates

Via Twitter-

The History of the Qumran Discoveries

Here’s a neat little post by Simone Venturini.

Between 1946 and 1947, a pastor of the Bedouin tribe Ta’amireh was herding his flock in the area called Khirbet Qumran (i.e. the Qumran ruins). At some point, perhaps to drive out some animal, he throws a stone. It ends in a cave. He hears a noise like terracotta objects that break. He enters the cave. The epic of the Qumran discoveries starts.

Etc.

Martin Luther and the 95 Theses: The Exhibition

posterFive hundred years ago, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther published his Ninety-Five Theses, a series of statements and proposals about the power of indulgences and the nature of repentance, forgiveness and salvation. Originally intended for academic debate, the document quickly gained popularity, garnering praise and condemnation alike, and is generally seen as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. “The Image of a Fractured Church: Martin Luther and the 95 Theses” presents the context of Martin Luther’s Theses, the role of indulgences in sixteenth century religious life and the use of disputations in theological education. Shown also are the early responses to Luther’s Theses by both his supporters and his opponents, the impact of Luther’s Reformation, including depictions of the posting of the Ninety-Five Theses in later Protestant traditions, as well as current attempts by Catholics and Protestants to find common ground.

An Exhibit Curated by Dr. Armin Siedlecki

Very exciting!

Quote of the Day

“The entire Christian life, root and stem and branch and blossom, is one continuous fellowship with Christ.” – Geerhardus Vos

A Dutch Historian Reviews “The Commentary”

Read it here.  Or enjoy the English version below:

The humanities are, essentially, a pedagogical program. The study of history and foreign cultures serves to help us understand our own civilization and age a bit better, helps us recognize our own prejudices, and puts our own ideas in a different perspective. Besides, the humanities can be great fun.

Because it would be unfair if only academics benefit from the humanities, academics are supposed to transfer their insights to society, but – pace authors like Eric Cline – this duty is seriously neglected. Stripped of their pedagogical essence, the humanities have become sterile activities. The government can stop financing them and no one would really notice, because we lost the humanities a long time ago. For various reasons, other disciplines have suffered from a similar loss of significance. In religious studies, however, there are some interesting initiatives, initiatives that may also be useful among the humanities.

One of these initiatives is the commentary on the Bible by Jim West, a theologian who is lecturer in Biblical and Reformation Studies at Ming Hua Theological College in Hong Kong and is also Pastor of a Baptist Church in Petros, Tennessee.

In his commentary, West explains every chapter from Genesis to Revelation to “the person in the pew”: the ordinary member of a church, who, when reading the Bible, encounters a desperately foreign culture and therefore needs some guidance to understand it. This fact applies to every ancient text and therefore, the success of West’s commentary shows me, a historian of the ancient world, a road to take to give the humanities back their lost pedagogical essence.

West’s approach is straightforward: he offers the Bible in a translation (American Standard Version) and interrupts the narrative every now and then to explain a couple of verses. His comments are aimed “at English speaking and reading members of the community of faith”: in other words, he makes the ancient texts accessible for believers. His approach can be applied to other ancient authors as well, such as the Epic of Gilgameš, the Iliad, Herodotus, Caesar, Suetonius, or Augustine.

That would even be quite easy. If I were to write a West-like commentary on Caesar’s Gallic War, I would have to make sure that a modern reader receives some background knowledge so that he may understand what Caesar takes for granted and can understand and enjoy the dictator’s writing. Such a commentary would not be easy to write, but it is a straightforward job. As a pastor, West has an additional task: he needs to present the text in such a way that the faithful can use the Bible as a guideline. As I said, West’s approach is straightforward. The fact that he succeeds is encouraging for everyone who thinks that the study of ancient texts is meaningful.

Back to West’s commentary, which was not written to show ancient historians how to regain purpose, but is intended as a means of pastoral care. I am no theologian and cannot judge the theological merits, but I can say that it is a pleasant read. I am currently reading a text I know quite well, Daniel, and West has pointed out many aspects I had not recognized before. The PDFs of West’s Commentary for the Person in the Pew are on my tablet, allowing me to go through the entire Bible when my train is delayed or has been cancelled. Given the quality of Dutch public transport I expect to have renewed my encounter with the Bible within a few months.

Jona Lendering
Historian