Daily Archives: 23 Aug 2017

Bruce Malina Has Died

It happened last week but this is the first I’ve heard about it.  I ran into him a few times at CBA and he was always very nice.  May he rest in peace.

He Makes Everyone’s Skin Crawl

Oh Canada…

It’s Time For A Commentary Sale

So, as a special incentive, if you buy The Commentary I will send you a pair of eclipse eyewear for “dazzling insight protection”*.

The ‘Person in the Pew’ commentary series is the only series of Commentaries written by a single person on the entire Bible and aimed at layfolk in modern history.


The books are all available in PDF format from yours truly for a paltry $99 by clicking my PayPal Link.  It’s a good commentary.

The offer of free “dazzling insight protection’ glasses is limited to the first two purchasers (because I only have two pair).

*Thanks to Chuck Grantham for the idea and phrase.

A Lost Latin Commentary Found

The earliest Latin commentary on the Gospels, lost for more than 1,500 years, has been rediscovered and made available in English for the first time. The extraordinary find, a work written by a bishop in northern Italy, Fortunatianus of Aquileia, dates back to the middle of the fourth century.

The biblical text of the manuscript is of particular significance, as it predates the standard Latin version known as the Vulgate and provides new evidence about the earliest form of the Gospels in Latin.

Despite references to this commentary in other ancient works, no copy was known to survive until Dr Lukas Dorfbauer, a researcher from the University of Salzburg, identified Fortunatianus’ text in an anonymous manuscript copied around the year 800 and held in Cologne Cathedral Library. The manuscripts of Cologne Cathedral Library were made available online in 2002.

Scholars had previously been interested in this ninth-century manuscript as the sole witness to a short letter which claimed to be from the Jewish high priest Annas to the Roman philosopher Seneca. They had dismissed the 100-page anonymous Gospel commentary as one of numerous similar works composed in the court of Charlemagne. But when he visited the library in 2012, Dorfbauer, a specialist in such writings, could see that the commentary was much older than the manuscript itself.

In fact, it was none other than the earliest Latin commentary on the Gospels.


‘Luther Was Here” 13 (and More) Quotations from Luther on A Wide Range of Topics

Luther’s everywhere these days.  Unsurprisingly the German press can’t get enough of him.

– “Nichts wird langsamer vergessen als eine Beleidigung und nichts eher als eine Wohltat.”

– “Es gibt keine schlimmere Missgunst in der Welt als die der Heuchler. In einem Wegelagerer und in einer Hure ist mehr Barmherzigkeit als in einem Heuchler.”

– “Wer nicht liebt Wein, Weib und Gesang, bleibt ein Narr sein Leben lang.”

– “Der Wein ist stark, der König ist stärker, die Weiber noch stärker, die Wahrheit am allerstärksten.”

– “Die Welt schändet immer, was man loben soll, und lobt, was man schänden soll.”

– “Die Worte Christi sind immer treffend. Haben Hände und Füße. Sie gehen über alle Weisheit, Ratschläge und List der Weisen hinaus.”

Read the essay, it’s pretty nifty.

Logos 7 Basic if Free for Academics and Students

This is worth you checking out.

This Is How Stupid America Has Become

Adolf von Harnack und die deutsche Politik 1890–1930

Adolf von Harnack, a church historian and academic organizer in Berlin, was one of the most influential persons in liberal Protestantism in Germany. Christian Nottmeier examines the connection between Harnack’s outline for cultural theology and his political involvement after 1890.  “Overall, it is hard to imagine that this book could be bettered: it reveals a complex personality who sought to make religion relevant in a period of unprecedented change.” Mark D. Chapman in Ecclesiastical History, Volume 57, 2, 2006, p. 408–409.

This volume originally appeared as a doctoral dissertation at Humboldt University in Berlin in 2002 and was published in 2003.  This is a new second edition.  Various corrections have been made to the original text but for all intents and purposes, it is the same as its previous incarnation with the notable exception of an appendix which covers the relevant history of Harnack research in the intervening years and a discussion of Harnack’s abiding significance and contributions to scholarship.

The volume is comprised of seven major divisions:

  1. Von Livland Nach Leipzig
  2. Vom konfessionellen Lutheraner zum undogmatischen Dogmenhistoriker
  3. Liberaler Protestantismus, soziale Monarchie und die Anfänge gouvernementaler Gelehrtenpolitik
  4. Zwischen Kaiser und Kanzler
  5. Zwischen Kriegsgegeisterung und Reformbereitschaft
  6. Der konservative Republikaner
  7. Schlußbemerkung

Also included are the aforementioned appendix, a very extensive bibliography, an index of names and an index of subjects.

Adolf von Harnack is perhaps the most important historian of the 19th century and familiarity with his background and intellectual history are vitally important for both church historians and theologians.  Nonetheless he is widely unknown and unfamiliar, particularly to younger scholars and Barthians.

Indeed, it would be fair to say that thanks to Karl Barth (and his antipathy to what he termed the ‘liberal theology’ of his teachers, including von Harnack), very few moderns actually know very much about von Harnack at all, having dismissed him out of hand.  This volume corrects all that misunderstanding and, frankly propagandistic misinformation.  Here readers are exposed to the real von Harnack and to what it really was that drove him to the positions which he held.  Here we learn exactly how von Harnack became von Harnack.

In his time, at the height of his academic career, von Harnack was widely praised as the ‘greatest German scholar’ and at his death his obituary noted that ‘the Patriarch of German scientific research has died’.  This is certainly not an image which the Barthians and others who are unfamiliar with von Harnack’s massive body of work have encountered.  Here, by means of this volume, they can fill the hole in their intellect.

This book is excellent and I highly recommend it.  It educates.

Facebook isn’t A Fan of Traditional Marriage

In Australia a man started a facebook page for those who want to vote ‘no’ on a proposed gay marriage law in Australia.  Facebook has deleted it.

It’s just a sign of the times.  Those demanding tolerance and acceptance are intolerant of any view but their own.