The Challenges of Marrying a Nun

The letter which was delivered to the Oetenbach convent on September 30, 1527, changed Anna Adlischwyler’s life for ever. The author was Heinrich Bullinger, a priest and friend of Swiss reformer Huldrych Zwingli.

“You and you alone fill my thoughts,” Bullinger admitted to the young nun. He wanted to live with her and share everything – “the sweet and the sour”. “You are young, and God did not give you your body for you to remain a nun for ever and do nothing to bear fruit,” he wrote. After singing the praises of marriage, Bullinger got to the point: “Read this letter three or four times, think about it and ask God to reveal his intention to you.”

Just a few years earlier such a love letter would have been unthinkable. But since the Reformation things were different, in Zurich too. Priests were getting married and nuns, who had devoted their lives to God, were turning their backs on life behind a convent wall. Even Martin Luther married a lady of the cloth who was 16 years his junior.

Read the whole and enjoy.

Today in Church History: The Edict of Nantes

Henry IV, King of France, issued the Edict of Nantes on the 30th of April, 1598

After he came to power, he did not forget his Protestant former co-religionists. The Edict of Nantes, which he promulgated in 1598, though it recognized Catholicism as the official religion of the French state, gave Protestants certain important rights-religious rights, such as freedom of conscience and liberty to continue worship in places where they had done so before 1597; civic rights, such as eligibility to hold public offices; and political rights, such as permission to hold public assemblies and maintain 450 places with garrisons as strongholds. This edict, the first in Europe to permit two religions to coexist legally under one political government, was rigidly enforced by Henry until he was assassinated by the Catholic fanatic Ravaillac in 1610.*

The Edict was then rescinded by the Papist’s puppet king.

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*Henry IV. In Who’s Who in Christian history (p. 312).

Cairo Genizah Exhibit

If you have a chance to go to this, go.

Medieval documents from the Cairo Genizah are now on display in an exhibit at the Cambridge University Library called “Discarded History: The Genizah of Medieval Cairo.” Many of the texts, which reveal the colorful social histories of medieval Jewish life in Old Cairo, at the center of an Islamic empire, will be on view for the first time—most of them have been translated into English for the first time.

Happy G.W. Locher Day

April 29, 1911Gottfried W. Locher was born. His contributions to the field of Reformation studies were so influential that when he was honored with a Festschrift, it took two volumes to house all the essays that were requested. Indeed, in 1992 and 1993 the annual publications of Zwingliana were devoted to this two part Festschrift for Locher.   Volume one is available here and volume two here.   His complete bibliography, which is the last entry of the FS, is here.

The world received a real gift back in 1911. And those interested in the Swiss Reformation not only need to be familiar with his name, they need to be thoroughly acquainted with his work.  Overlooking it would be as big a mistake as overlooking Bultmann’s contributions to New Testament studies and von Rad’s contributions to Old Testament research.

St. Jerome: A Dose a Day Keeps the Heretics Away

2014-JeromebyGhirlandaioWhen God formed man out of slime, and through the grace of His own inspiration gave him a soul, had that soul previously existed and subsisted which was afterwards bestowed by the inspiration of God, and where was it? or did it gain its capacity both to exist and to live from the power of God, on the sixth day, when the body was formed out of the slime?

You are silent regarding this, and pretend you do not know what is wanted, and busy yourself with irrelevant questions. You leave Origen untouched, and rave against the absurdities of Marcion, Apollinaris, Eunomius, Manichæus, and the other heretics. You are asked for a hand and you put out a foot, and all the while covertly insinuate the doctrine to which you hold. You speak smooth things to plain men like us, but in such a way as in no degree to displease those of your own party.

Evasion.  It’s what the heretics love.

The Publisher and I Have Had A Chat…

And I’m going to move forward to finish the remainder of the Apocryphal books for the ‘Person in the Pew’ series.  Having already done Sirach, Wisdom of Solomon, and 1-2 Maccabees, I’ll do Baruch and The Letter of Jeremiah and the Prayer of Azariah; Judith and Tobit; Psalms of Solomon; and Susanna and Bel and the Dragon.  4 volumes, then, ahead.

Stay tuned.

A Forthcoming Volume You’ll Want to Read

The Old Testament in Archaeology and History, Edited by Jennie Ebeling, J. Edward Wright, Mark Elliott and Paul V. M. Flesher

One hundred and fifty years of sustained archaeological investigation has yielded a more complete picture of the ancient Near East. The Old Testament in Archaeology and History combines the most significant of these archaeological findings with those of modern historical and literary analysis of the Bible to recount the history of ancient Israel and its neighboring nations and empires.

Eighteen international authorities contribute chapters to this introductory volume. After exploring the history of modern archaeological research in the Near East and the evolution of “biblical archaeology” as a discipline, this textbook follows the Old Testament’s general chronological order, covering such key aspects as the exodus from Egypt, Israel’s settlement in Canaan, the rise of the monarchy under David and Solomon, the period of the two kingdoms and their encounters with Assyrian power, the kingdoms’ ultimate demise, the exile of Judahites to Babylonia, and the Judahites’ return to Jerusalem under the Persians along with the advent of “Jewish” identity. Each chapter is tailored for an audience new to the history of ancient Israel in its biblical and ancient Near Eastern setting.

The end result is an introduction to ancient Israel combined with and illuminated by more than a century of archaeological research. The volume brings together the strongest results of modern research into the biblical text and narrative with archaeological and historical analysis to create an understanding of ancient Israel as a political and religious entity based on the broadest foundation of evidence. This combination of literary and archaeological data provides new insights into the complex reality experienced by the peoples reflected in the biblical narratives.

La Réforme sur Léman Bleu

A l’occasion du Jubilé des 500 ans de la Réforme, la chaîne Léman Bleu a effectué une série de reportage sur cet événement majeur qui a remodelé la société: son histoire, ses grandes figures, le Mur des Réformateurs si connu et d’autres.

Le journaliste Valentin Emery a rencontré différentes personnalités en prise avec l’histoire de l’Eglise, son sens, dont Emmanuel Fuchs, président de l’Eglise protestante de Genève, Vincent Schmid, pasteur de la cathédrale Saint-Pierre ou encore Olivier Cairus, directeur de la Fondation des clés de Saint-Pierre.

Emmanuel Fuchs a notamment discuté du sens d’être protestant aujourd’hui ainsi que du soutien nécessaire des donateurs et des défis financiers que l’Eglise continue à surmonter!

Toutes les vidéos sont à lire ci-dessous.

Visit here for the videos.  With thanks to Hywel Clifford for the heads up.

Something New in Bible and Interpretation

What Do Old, Dirty, Broken Pieces Of Pottery Have To Do With The Bible?

Robbing tombs is illegal. Most of the “museum pieces” found in Israel are rather homely and plain. Yes, you will dig up hundreds of potsherds if you do an excavation (along with bones, metal objects, and perhaps glass, among other things). And if you find “anything good,” you will not get to take it home.

Etc.

Thanks a Lot, Pope Franky

A Solemn High Requiem Mass was held Thursday at St. Martura Church in downtown Cincinnati for the Spirit of Vatican II, aged 52. After suffering a progressively debilitating illness for the last ten years of its life as a new generation of priests re-examined the Council in light of Sacred Tradition, the Spirit of Vatican II passed away quietly in its sleep last Tuesday.

“The Requiem Mass really brought closure to the community,” said 26-year old Father David Flannigan, FSSP, who celebrated the Mass with Deacon Brady Schwartz and Subdeacon Anthony LaViera. “While the death of the Spirit of Vatican II was certainly expected, we were glad to offer Mass for its repose.”

“What a beautiful Mass!” commented long-time parishioner Gladys O’Neal. “I hadn’t seen black vestments since I was a little girl. And as much as I love the song On Eagle’s Wings, the Dies Irae sequence really got me thinking about the Four Last Things.”

The Spirit of Vatican II is survived by a dwindling number of aging hippies who dropped out of seminary in the ‘70’s, some faded felt banners, and tambourines presently gathering dust in storage.

Three New Volumes from V&R

In the »Reformed Historical Theology« series:

»Richard Hooker and Reformed Orthodoxy«: For more than forty years now there has been a steady stream of interest in Richard Hooker. This volume contains essays investigating key loci of Richard Hooker’s theology in comparison and contrast with other self-consciously Reformed theologians c. 1550-1650, both in the Continent and in the British isles. (Zur Leseprobe mit Inhaltsverzeichnis)

»Debated Issues in Sovereign Predestination« examines three flashpoints of controversy in Reformation and Post-Reformation theology: first, the development of the Lutheran doctrine of predestination from Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon to the Formula of Concord; second, the doctrine of reprobation as traced through the writings of John Calvin; and third, the doctrine of predestination in Geneva from Theodore Beza in the 16th century to Jean-Alphones Turretin and Jacob Vernet in the 18th century. This book offers a balanced, historical analysis of a difficult subject. (Zur Leseprobe mit Inhaltsverzeichnis).

The book which Jon Balserak and I edited is in the same series:

Historians and scholars of the Reformation’s earliest century are invited to expand their understanding of that critical era by an examination of aspects of Reform which are lesser known than Luther and his activities.

This volume widens and deepens and broadens our perceptions of ‘the Reformation’ and reminds us that in fact what we have in the 16th and early 17th century are ‘Reformations’.

On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the German monk and reformer Martin Luther posting his theses (October 31, 1517), the contributors of this volume invite us to expand our understanding of “the Reformation” by an examination of aspects of Reform which are lesser known than Luther to probe some less-explored corners of the Reformation. To be sure, Martin Luther himself receives attention in this volume. But the aim of this book is really to take the occasion provided by the increased attention paid to the Reformation during the year 2017 to explore other theologians, movements, and ideas. The expanding of the scholarly mind and opening up of new vistas often overshadowed by larger figures, like Luther, can only be good for the study of the Reformation and Early Modern era.

This volume is intended for students of early modern Church history with a particular focus on the non-Lutheran aspects of that history.

Calvin’s Deathbed Farewell Speech to the Ministers of Geneva

Spoken on 28 April, 1564-

“ ‘Brethren, after I am dead, persist in this work, and be not dispirited; for the Lord will save this Republic and Church from the threats of the enemy. Let dissension be far away from you, and embrace each other with mutual love. Think again and again what you owe to this Church in which the Lord hath placed you, and let nothing induce you to quit it. It will, indeed, be easy for some who are weary of it to slink away, but they will find, to their experience, that the Lord cannot be deceived. When I first came to this city, the gospel was, indeed, preached, but matters were in the greatest confusion, as if Christianity had consisted in nothing else than the throwing down of images; and there were not a few wicked men from whom I suffered the greatest indignities; but the Lord our God so confirmed me, who am by no means naturally bold (I say what is true), that I succumbed to none of their attempts. I afterwards returned thither from Strassburg in obedience to my calling, but with an unwilling mind, because I thought I should prove unfruitful. For not knowing what the Lord had determined, I saw nothing before me but numbers of the greatest difficulties. But proceeding in this work, I at length perceived that the Lord had truly blessed my labors. Do you also persist in this vocation, and maintain the established order; at the same time, make it your endeavor to keep the people in obedience to the doctrine; for there are some wicked and contumacious persons. Matters, as you see, are tolerably settled. The more guilty, therefore, will you be before God, if they go to wreck through your indolence. But I declare, brethren, that I have lived with you in the closest bonds of true and sincere affection, and now, in like manner, part from you. But if, while under this disease, you have experienced any degree of peevishness from me, I beg your pardon, and heartily thank you, that when I was sick, you have borne the burden imposed upon you.’

“When he had thus spoken, he shook hands with each of us. We, with most sorrowful hearts, and certainly not unmoistened eyes, departed from him.”

Beza modestly omits Calvin’s reference to himself which is as follows: “Quant à nostre estat interieur, vous avez esleu Monsieur de Beze pour tenir ma place. Regardez de le soulager, car la charge est grande et a de la peine, en telle sorte qu’il faudroit qu’il fust accablé soubs le fardeau. Mais regardez à le supporter. De luy, ie sçay qu’il a bon vouloir et fera ce qu’il pourra.”

Calvin, the best Frenchman the Church has ever produced.  See you some day, John.

The Bee Stings the Pious Meme / Vile Meme Christians

Local woman Cheyenne Phillips displayed a masterful balancing act in alternating profanity and praise on Facebook Thursday, according to sources. Ms. Phillips, 32, had just come home from her moms group when she decided to share with her followers an amusing image of a 1950s-style housewife making a profanity-laden remark about laundry.

Without a missing a beat, Ms. Phillips then reportedly “liked” an acquaintance’s post on 1 Peter 1:16, left a “ROFL” comment on a luridly suggestive image posted by a friend, shared an inspiring video of a “Good Samaritan story” from the local news, and followed up with a tirade on ungrateful men that suggested, in colorful language, a biologically impossible act.

Expertly sensing the scales starting to tip toward the lewd side of things, she then shared an image she had created via the YouVersion Bible app, which superimposed in the words of Psalm 23:1 over a silhouetted figure raising her hands in triumph atop a mountain peak, immediately expiating any guilt from previous posts. Thus cleansed and assured, Ms. Phillips reportedly ended her Facebook session by sharing a marginal public figure’s extreme rant on immigrants, before tagging several friends in a post by her church about an upcoming mom-to-mom sale.

At publishing time, Phillips had reportedly began streaming a custom Pandora station, which consists of pop hits by artists like Flo Rida and Ke$ha, delicately intertwined with classic hymns sung by Fernando Ortega.

And they don’t even notice the incongruity.

Target’s Plan to Help Those Who Self Identify as Old

60 is not far off.

Confirming its commitment to celebrating inclusivity, Target announced in a blog post Thursday that it will now grant a 10% senior discount to any person who self-identifies as age 60 or older.

It’s yet another bold display of progressive policies for the company, which confirmed it will now extend the generous discount based on “customers’ age identity,” which cashiers will trust each patron to disclose truthfully. This amends their previous, more conservative policy which only considered biological age and required valid identification as proof.

Declaring that “everyone deserves to feel like they belong,” and “you’ll always be accepted, respected, and welcomed at Target,” the statement left little doubt that the retail chain is on the cutting edge of equality.

Anyone of any age can self identify as 60.  So take advantage of this new program!