Daily Archives: 31 May 2017

A New Translation Project for Vermigli

This is important.

As Protestants this year remember the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, they will understandably focus on the legacy of Martin Luther and other big-name Reformers. However, it is to be hoped that this anniversary will also help rekindle interest in figures that were, at the time, hardly less significant to the formulation of Protestant doctrine and the establishment of reformed churches and liturgies. Chief among such figures is surely Peter Martyr Vermigli, the Florentine Reformer whose pilgrim life saw him teaching and building networks of disciples in Italy, Strasbourg, England, and Zurich, and who through his copious writings shaped Reformed churches throughout Europe. During the 16th century, his writings were esteemed as highly as Calvin’s in many regions, and particularly on the topics of Christology and the Eucharist. On the latter subject, Calvin himself declared that “the whole [doctrine of the Eucharist] was crowned by Peter Martyr, who left nothing more to be done.”

Beginning in 2018, the 500th anniversary of Vermigli’s matriculation at the University of Padua, Vermigli’s Loci Communes will begin appearing in a new English translation, the product of a partnership between the Davenant Trust, the Peter Martyr Society, and the Greystone Theological Institute. Selections of the Common Places will first appear in annual slender volumes as a Supplementum to Greystone’s new theological journal, before an abridged edition of the full Loci Communes (which is about three times longer than Calvin’s Institutes) is published in 2025, the 500th anniversary of Vermigli’s ordination. There is some potential that the project may be able to proceed faster, or to result in a complete unabridged translation of the Loci in due course, if resources prove sufficient.

Doctoral Fellowship in Leuven

For the Research Group Early Modern History (15th-18th Centuries), Leuven we are looking for an enthousiastic doctoral student, who is willing to write and defend a doctoral dissertation regarding burial disputes during the Dutch Revolt within the framework of four years. The dissertation, and the (co-)publication of preliminary results in (international) journals and a source repository, should shed light on the symbolic violence during these funerals and the pacification strategies by city and state. The case studies are Antwerp, Utrecht (NL) and Valenciennes (FR). The project will be supervised by promotor Violet Soen, the candidate should also report to the project’s funding institution Research Foundation Flanders.

Just fyi.

The Bee Stings Kathy Griffin

Kathy Griffin, who sources describe as a comedian, apologized Tuesday for publishing a gruesome photo to social media which falsely depicts herself as someone with current political and social relevance.

The image of Ms. Griffin holding a bloodied, severed head in the likeness of President Donald Trump stirred immediate controversy, as Americans were violently subjected to the distressing notion that the self-proclaimed D-list actress’ opinion about the President carried with it some sort of societal clout, or even mattered at all to anyone.

The blowback was swift and loud, and Griffin quickly went into damage control mode.

“I sincerely apologize . . . I went way too far,” she said in a video posted to Twitter. “The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn’t funny—I get it.”

“I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far. I made a mistake, and I was wrong.”

The Second Edition of the ‘Zwingli Graphic Novel’

Der Pfarrer Ulrich Zwingli aus dem Toggenburg prägte die Schweizer Kirchengeschichte dauerhaft. Der Verein «tut» hat eine Ausgabe seines gleichnamigen Kinder- und Jugendmagazins dem Schweizer Reformator gewidmet. Das Heft wird bereits in zweiter Auflage gedruckt.

«Ein Glaube versetzt Berge» heisst der Untertitel des «tut»-Hefts zum 500-Jahr-Jubiläum der Reformation. Dass dabei der Reformator Ulrich Zwingli im Zentrum steht und nicht der deutsche Martin Luther bietet sich bei einer Schweizer Publikation, die sich an Kinder und Jugendliche richtet, an. Die Ausgabe findet Anklang, so Brigid Straub von der «tut»-Administration gegenüber kath.ch.

Etc.  And why don’t we have this in English?


‘By Their Fruits You Will Know Them…’

We do not justify men before God by works, but say, that all who are of God are regenerated and made new creatures, so that they pass from the kingdom of sin into the kingdom of righteousness. In this way they make their calling sure, and, like trees, are judged by their fruits. — John Calvin

Adolf von Harnack Explains Luther’s Disdain for Invented Theological Terminology

Luther_foto_a_wagenknechtLuther has indicated with sufficient distinctness that he merely conceded to his theological opponents theological terminology, and made use of it himself merely on account of traditional familiarity with it, and because the employment of incorrect words was not necessarily of evil. He so expressed himself with regard to the most important terms.

First of all he had an objection to all the different descriptions of justification: to justify, to be regenerated, to sanctify, to quicken, righteousness, to impute (justificare, regenerari, sanctificare, vivificare, justitia, imputare), etc., etc.; he felt very much that the mere number of the terms was a serious burden upon his conception, and that no single word completely answered to his view.

Secondly, in a similar way he objected to the word satisfaction (satisfactio) in every sense; as used by his opponents he will only let it pass.

Thirdly, he stumbled at the term “Church” (ecclesia); for it obscured or confused what should simply be called Christian community, gathering, or—still better—a holy Christendom.

Fourthly, he observed very clearly the objectionableness of the word “Sacrament”; what he would have liked most would have been to see that the use of it was entirely avoided, and that for the ambiguous formula “Word and Sacrament,” there was substituted the Word alone, or that if the term Sacrament was retained there should be a speaking of one Sacrament and several signs.

Fifthly, he himself declared such a term as ὁμοούσιος to be unallowable in the strict sense, because it represents a bad state of things when such words are invented in the Christian system of faith: “we must indulge the Fathers in the use of it … but if my soul hates the word homousios and I prefer not to use it, I shall not be a heretic; for who will compel me to use it, provided that I hold the thing which was defined in the Council by means of the Scriptures? although the Arians had wrong views with regard to the faith, they were nevertheless very right in this … that they required that no profane and novel word should be allowed to be introduced into the rules of faith.” In like manner he objected to and rather avoided the terms “Dreifaltigkeit,” “Dreiheit,” “unitas,” “trinitas” (threefoldness, threeness, oneness, trinity).

vonharnackYet, as is proved by the words quoted above, there is this difference observable here—that he regarded the terminologies of the mediæval theology as misleading and false, the terminologies on the other hand of the theology of the ancient Church as merely useless and cold.

But from still another side he objected most earnestly to all the results of theological labour that had been handed down from the days of the Apologists; and here in still greater degree than in his censure of particular conceptions his divergence from the old dogma found expression, namely, in that distinguishing between “for himself (itself)” and “for us,” which is so frequently to be found in Luther. Over and over again, and on all occasions, the definitions given by the old dogmatic of God and Christ, of the will and attributes of God, of the natures in Christ, of the history of Christ, etc., are set aside with the remark: “that He is for himself,” in order that his new view, which is for him the chief matter, nay, which constitutes the whole, may then be introduced under the formula “that He is for us,” or simply “for us.”

“Christ is not called Christ because He has two natures. What concern have I in that? But he bears this glorious and comforting title from the office and work which He has taken upon Him … that He is by nature man and God, that He has for Himself.” In this “for himself” and “for us” the new theology of Luther, and at the same time his conservative tendency find clearest expression.

Theology is not the analysis and description of God and of the divine acts from the standpoint of reason as occupying an independent position over against God, but it is the confession on the part of faith of its own experience, that is, of revelation.

This, however, puts an end to the old theology with its metaphysic and its rash ingenuity. But if Luther now nevertheless allows those old doctrines to remain under the terms “God in Himself,” “the hidden God,” “the hidden will of God,” they no longer remain as what are properly speaking doctrines of faith. About this no doubt can arise. But that they were not entirely rejected by him has its cause on the one hand in his believing they were found in Scripture, and on the other hand in his failure to think out the problems in a comprehensive and systematic way.*

Von Harnack- as always- observant and expressive and precise. The bold part is my emphasis. It is here that von Harnack has understood Luther’s theology in a way that NT Wright and other modern interpreters have not. And cannot, because they don’t understand Luther.

*History of Dogma. (N. Buchanan, Trans., T. K. Cheyne, Ed.) (Vol. 7, pp. 224–227).

Beza’s Death Sentence

bezaFor having left France because he was a Protestant [Beza] was condemned by the Parliament of Paris to death, and all his property confiscated to the State (May 31, 1550). By special royal mandate his property was restored to him in 1564, although he was at the time at the head of the Reformed Church of France. –  Schaff

The next time an American Christian complains about being ‘persecuted’, ask them when they were condemned to death and their property confiscated by the State.