The Bee Stings the ‘Life Verse’-ers

Lots of Christians have a “life verse”—a Bible verse that they set aside as especially meaningful to them, tucking it into their heart as a reminder or inspirational thought they can turn to at any time during their faith walk.

Do YOU have a life verse? If you don’t, you’ve come to the right place! Just answer the following three simple questions and we’ll match you with a PERFECT life verse that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.

And for those of you who already have a life verse—we have good news for you, too: you’re about to have a new and improved one that suits you even better!

LOL – here’s mine…


Aramaic Tobit at Qumran

Here’s a good one:

For a long time, the book of Tobit has been studied as a one-of-a-kind composition, with other so-called “novels,” such as Esther and the book of Judith. However, the presence of Aramaic copies of Tobit among the Qumran scrolls, together with other Aramaic texts, revealed its background and context and taught us much about the language and cultural setting of the composition. Most particularly, Tobit shows affinity to the Aramaic stories about the biblical patriarchs and to the Aramaic court-tales. Despite the fact that this corpus is the closest to Tobit in time and place, little has been done to utilize the Qumran Aramaic literature as a key to interpreting Tobit. This may be due partly to the well-anchored opinion, still maintained by numerous scholars, that Tobit was composed in the “Eastern Diaspora.” The Tobit copies found among the Dead Sea Scrolls and the numerous links Tobit displays to the Aramaic texts discovered there, suggest that the origin and setting of the book is in the land of Israel.


Things Melanchthon Said Before he Died

9783110335057Vom freien Willen wird gelehret, daß der Mensch etlichermaßen einen freien Willen hat, äußerlich ehrbar zu leben und zu wählen unter denen Dingen, so die Vernunft begreift; aber ohne Gnad, Hilfe und Wirkung des heiligen Geistes vermag der Mensch nicht Gott gefällig werden, Gott herzlich zu fürchten oder zu gläuben, oder die angeborene böse Lust aus dem Herzen zu werfen; sondern solchs geschieht durch den heiligen Geist, welcher durch Gottes Wort gegeben wird. Dann Paulus spricht 1. Korinth. 2: Der naturlich Mensch vernimmt nichts vom Geist Gottes.

Pettegree Reviews Roper

Among many things, he notes

It is inevitable that the anniversary of the Reformation would bring forth a flood of new publications. “Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet” is undoubtedly one of the best and most substantial. Deeply researched over a period of more than 10 years, this biography offers a fresh and deeply illuminating study of the man who somewhat reluctantly divided a continent. What emerges is a work of impeccable scholarship and painstaking fairmindedness. In particular Roper has mined the correspondence, which illuminates every page of this book, as Luther coped with the strains of first becoming a public figure, searched for allies and unburdened himself to trusted friends. In letters that were both deeply learned and alarmingly frank, his charisma shines through, but we also see his complexity: He was a man who could, by turns, be abusive and utterly unforgiving, but also gentle, affectionate and funny.

Roper is especially good on Luther’s unusual upbringing as the son of a mining family. It was a hard life, full of risk; they lived well, but always one bad business decision away from disaster. Young Martin knew that the price of his education was an investment in the family’s future, and how much his decision to abandon his legal studies in favor of a church career would disrupt his father’s plans. But any breach between the two healed, and Luther rose steadily through the ranks of the Augustinian order. His appointment as professor in Wittenberg was at first unwelcome; Luther felt he had been exiled to a provincial backwater.

And he concludes

… but the focus on Luther’s inner life leaves us with an incomplete sense of how the man became a movement.

I agree in large part with Pettegree’s assessment and his summary of the volume is superb.  But Roper has really delivered a fantastic volume and the singular weakness of the volume (being its peering sometimes too deeply into Luther’s psychology) does not mitigate the book’s worth.  Even just a little.

Christophe Chalamet Has a New Book Out

Une voie infiniment supérieure: Essai sur la foi, l’espérance et l’amour

Le professeur de théologie Christophe Chalamet propose un essai audacieux qui, en s’appuyant autant sur ses convictions intimes que sur d’innombrables ressources théologiques, cherche à réfléchir sur la foi, l’espérance et l’amour. Pour l’auteur en effet, cette « triade » doit se comprendre en tant qu’actes humains qui répondent à un agir antécédent qui les fonde ; en définitive, selon Christophe Chalamet, c’est la puissance de Dieu – avant tout le reste – qui permet à la foi, à l’espérance et à l’amour d’émerger chez l’être humain. Un passionnant parcours et une réflexion théologique inédite.

Luther’s Wife, Luther’s Life

Here’s a new volume that will interest folk:

Wenn Engel lachen: Die unverhoffte Liebesgeschichte der Katharina von Bora

Fabian Vogt

Weder die eigenwillige Katharina von Bora noch der ehrenwerte Professor Martin Luther hätten gedacht, dass aus ihnen mal ein Paar werden würde. Denn Katharina war unsterblich in einen Patriziersohn verliebt, während Luther ein Auge auf Katharinas Freundin Ava geworfen hatte. Beide wollten sie ein gutes Wort für den jeweils anderen einlegen.

Wie aus dieser Abmachung im Atelier von Lukas Cranach schließlich doch eines der berühmtesten Paare unserer Geschichte wird, erzählt Fabian Vogt höchst unterhaltsam und spannend. Und nimmt uns mit hinein in eine Liebe, in der sich die ganze Dynamik der Reformation widerspiegelt. Ein mitreißendes Lesevergnügen.

Today with Zwingli: His Adversary, ‘That Cumæan Lion’

zurich1522“You should know that a certain Franciscan from France, whose name indeed was Franz, was here not many days since and had much conversation with me concerning the Scriptural basis for the doctrine of the adoration of the saints and their intercession for us. He was not able to convince me with the assistance of a single passage of Scripture that the saints do pray for us, as he had with a great deal of assurance boasted he should do. At last he went on to Basel [on 18 April, 1522] where he recounted the affair in an entirely different way from the reality—in fact he lied about it. So it seemed good to me to let you know about these things that you might not be ignorant of that Cumæan lion, if perchance he should ever turn your way.

“There followed within six days another strife with our brethren the preachers of the [different orders in Zurich, especially with the Augustinians]. Finally the burgomaster and the Council appointed for them three commissioners on whom this was enjoined—that Aquinas and the rest of the doctors of that class being put aside they should base their arguments alone upon those sacred writings which are contained in the Bible. This troubled those beasts so much that one brother, the father reader of the order of Preachers [i. e., the Dominicans] cut loose from us, and we wept—as one weeps when a cross-grained and rich stepmother has departed this life. Meanwhile there are those who threaten, but God will turn the evil upon His enemies.

“I suppose you have read the petition which some of us have addressed to the Bishop of Constance.… But I must return to Schuerer upstairs, where he is having some beer with several gentlemen and jokes will be in order.”*

* S.M. Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland. p. 170–172.

Dear Academics

Pile of BooksIf you agree to provide an essay for a collection of essays or a Festschrift please respect the deadlines which the editors establish.  Taking said deadlines halfheartedly is a tremendous problem for those who are putting volumes together and strains nerves, hearts, and minds.

Would you allow your students to take weeks or in some cases months past course assignment deadlines to turn work in?  I wouldn’t.  You wouldn’t either.

So why treat your colleagues that way?  If you don’t have the time, don’t agree to participate.  If you agree to participate, make the time.


[Written on behalf of all those poor benighted editors who are crushed to the point of asylum despair thanks to missed deadlines and mountainous excuses the post-doc equivalent of ‘the dog ate my assignment’].

Grazie.  Mille grazie!