Daily Archives: 2 May 2018

Jeremiah’s Right

The LORD said, “Jeremiah, don’t ask me to help these people. They may even go without eating and offer sacrifices to please me and to give thanks. But when they cry out for my help, I won’t listen, and I won’t accept their sacrifices. Instead, I’ll send war, starvation, and disease to wipe them out.” Jer 14:11-12

This Made Me Laugh

Denver Hotels Are Adding Important Signs For Members of AAR

If you have a friend in AAR, do remind them to have someone read signs to them, for their own safety.  And if you have a Wrightian friend too…

Luther’s Epistle of Straw: The Voice of St. James in Reformation Preaching

This work challenges the common consensus that Luther, with his commitment to St. Paul’s articulation of justification by faith, leaves no room for the Letter of St. James. Against this one-sided reading of Luther, focused only his criticism of the letter, this book argues that Luther had fruitful interpretations of the epistle that shaped the subsequent exegetical tradition. Scholarship’s singular concentration on Luther’s criticism of James as “an epistle of straw” has caused many to overlook Luther’s sermons on James, the many places where James comes to full expression in Luther’s writings, and the influence that Luther’s biblical interpretation had on later interpretations of James. Based primarily on neglected Lutheran sermons in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, this work examines the pastoral hermeneutic of Luther and his theological heirs as they heard the voice of James and communicated that voice to and for the sake of the church. Scholars, pastors, and educated laity alike are invited to discover how Luther’s theology was shaped by the Epistle of James and how Luther’s students and theological heirs aimed to preach this disputed letter fruitfully to their hearers.

DeGruyter have sent along a review copy.

The great achievement of Lane’s revised Promotionsarbeit is his proving beyond any reasonable doubt that Luther’s view of the Letter of James is more nuanced than his Preface to James and Jude in the September Testament would lead us to believe.  The common view of Luther’s opinion of James is gloriously and meticulously overturned and the wrong-headedness of the constant parroting of Luther’s little phrase ‘epistle of straw’ is on full and fantastic display.

Lane achieves this by first of all closely examining Althamer’s 1527 annotations on James and this is followed by a very useful and accurate exposition of Luther’s own exegesis of James.  This in turn gives way to a look at the Letter of James in the Postils and this naturally leads to a wider historical examination of James in the later Lutheran Orthodox tradition.  The volume concludes with a summary of Lane’s theses (46 of them.  He should have just done 95, but I’m sure he had his reasons for doing just under half of that), an appendix containing annotated editions of Luther’s five sermons on James in English translation, a bibliography, index of persons, index of subjects, and index of biblical texts.

Lane makes his way through the primary sources with the skill of a seasoned historical researcher.  His grasp of Luther’s Latin and German is superb and his familiarity with the secondary literature is remarkable (given the breadth of that literature in these troubled times).  Unlike too many Luther ‘scholars’, Lane doesn’t cite secondary sources as his first or only resource.  And that’s refreshing and noteworthy.  Far too many know Luther only at second hand and that lack of first hand familiarity shows on every page of their work (e.g., the horrifically ignorant book on Luther of Eric Metaxas is a premier case in point).  Metaxas is no Lane just as a firefly is no star.

Lane’s book is further worthy of commendation because he doesn’t drag his argument out unnecessarily.  He says what needs to be said and he moves on.  At around 226 pages, then, it is a volume that can be worked through in a few days instead of the few weeks required of those wordy tomes which strive too hard to say too much and at the end turn up saying hardly anything worth remembering.

I would like to conclude this review with a quote from Lane’s work with which I agree 100%-

I believe it is fair to say that modern scholars continue to underestimate the hermeneutical and rhetorical precision of Luther and his theological heirs of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  In their careful and often colorful exegesis of James 1, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Lutherans demonstrate a lively biblical theology that extends far beyond the Pauline context (p. 188).

Scholars today need to take that seriously.   Get this book.  Read it.  Learn.

Heinrich Heppe: A Super Introit into Reformed Theology

If you’re interested in Reformed Theology a very, very good place to start is with this newly published Logos version of Heinrich Heppe’s Dogmatics.  You may not know his name, but he’s spectacular.  He does a superior job discussing the issues and he does so in a really engaging way.

No, Logos didn’t send me the book, I bought it. And no, they didn’t ask me to mention it. I wanted to point it out to you because you’ve probably never heard of Heppe but he’s better than 95% of the Reformed theologians working today.

The Truth About ‘Apologies’

Apologies without concrete real life authentic amends are a farce aimed to soothe a guilty conscience and not to set things right.


No one who loves money can easily avoid sinning, whoever pursues profit will be corrupted by it. Gold has been the ruin of many; their coming destruction was self-evident, since it is a snare for those who sacrifice to it and stupid people all get caught in it. — (Sir. 31:5-7)

May 9, 2019

Mark that date in your calendar.  It’s the day the next Avengers movie comes out.

Have Scholars Discovered a New Document among the Dead Sea Scrolls?

Previously unseen Dead Sea Scroll fragments, which had been stored in cigar boxes since archaeologists unearthed them in the 1950s, were identified and unveiled at an international conference on Tuesday in honor of the 70th anniversary of the scrolls’ discovery in Jerusalem.

A Dead Sea Scroll fragment containing Psalm 147:1. The advanced imaging equipment exposed the writing. (Shai Halevi, The Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library)

The tiny fragments, all thought to be taken from Qumran’s Cave 11, are game changers and provide new puzzle pieces towards completing the picture of known published scrolls, experts said.

One of the fragments, unusually written 2,000 years ago in anachronistic First Temple script, may even point to a wholly unique, previously unknown manuscript. “This fragment could not be attributed to any one of the known manuscripts,” the conference organizers said. “This raises the possibility that it belonged to a still unknown manuscript.”

Another fragment turned out to belong to the Temple Scroll, a text dealing with directions for conducting the services in the ideal Temple. “In current scholarship there is a debate if there are two or three copies of the Temple Scroll found in Cave 11 near Qumran,” according to the conference organizers. “The identification of the new fragment strengthens the theory that a manuscript given the number 11Q21 is indeed a third copy of this text from Cave 11.”

Etc. Give it a read.  Interesting stuff, and none of the idiotic exaggerations one finds in ‘news’ of David.

Signs of the Times