Daily Archives: 2 Jan 2019

Class Struggle in the New Testament

Robert Myles tweets

The much anticipated volume ‘Class Struggle in the New Testament’ is now available from Fortress Academic. Use the special code LEX30AUTH19 for a 30% discount. Please recommend for purchase to your institutional library!

Here are the volume details:

Class Struggle in the New Testament engages the political and economic realities of the first century to unmask the mediation of class through several New Testament texts and traditions. Essays span a range of subfields, presenting class struggle as the motor force of history by responding to recent debates, historical data, and new evidence on the political-economic world of Jesus, Paul, and the Gospels. Chapters address collective struggles in the Gospels; the Roman military and class; the usefulness of categories like peasant, retainer, and middling groups for understanding the world of Jesus; the class basis behind the origin of archangels; the Gospels as products of elite culture; the implication of capitalist ideology upon biblical interpretation; and the New Testament’s use of slavery metaphors, populist features, and gifting practices. This book will become a definitive reference point for future discussion

The Zwingli Film in the News

This is a very good piece. Enjoy.

Christ and the Old Covenant

A new volume by V&R in the Refo500 Historical Theology series has appeared:

This study explores the Cocceian-Voetian debate through the eyes of Francis Turretin (1623–1687). There is a dearth of research on Turretin’s take on this debate, the author will parse out how Turretin adheres to the Voetianism of the Utrecht theologian Melchior Leydekker (1642–1721) while remaining conciliatory to the Cocceians. With Leydekker, Turretin argues that Christ’s suretyship in the Old Testament is identical to what it is in the New Testament. As the Father decrees that Christ is the most perfect and certain fulfiller of God’s promise, the ancients benefit from Christ’s sacrifice as much as do the saints in the New. The sins of the elect must be fully forgiven regardless of the progress of redemption in history, for the faithful both in the Old and the New are saved by the same grace of Christ, the expromissor. At the same time, not only does Turretin leave out some of the controversial issues between the two parties, but he also tends to neutralize Leydekker’s acid criticism of the extreme form of Cocceianism. This conciliatory gesture indicates that Turretin does not consider Cocceianism his archenemy. Seen in this light, Turretin can be viewed as a moderate and peaceful Voetian.

The volume at hand is, in a word, complex and specialized.  It is for specialists, by one.  It’s contents are neither for the faint at heart nor the poorly informed.  And readers will know that when they land on the very first paragraph:

There is no scholarly consensus on the nature of the Mosaic law and its role in the history of redemption. To what extent did the Mosaic law recapitulate the covenant of works? How were the people of God saved under the legal economy? How did Christ reveal himself to his people before the incarnation? These are the key questions that should be answered when one situates the Mosaic law within the framework of covenant theology. It is little known today that the Reformed orthodox in the seventeenth century already debated over these questions.

Things don’t become simpler or less specialized as the work progresses:

This study explores this intra-Reformed controversy through the eyes of Francis Turretin.  … This book will show how Turretin adheres to the Voetianism of the Utrecht theologian Melchior Leydekker (who is also known as Leydecker or Leidekker, 1642–1721) while remaining conciliatory to the Cocceians.  With Leydekker, Turretin argues that Christ’s suretyship in the Old Testament is identical to what it is in the New Testament.

And off we go.  In this intensive and demanding study readers come to encounter one of the most focused debates of Reformed Orthodoxy.  It’s the sort of thing that makes the Medieval question of how many angels could dance on the head of a pin seem like watching the Dukes of Hazzard or Gilligan’s Island.  Allow me to illustrate:

Our investigation suggests that in spite of their common Voetian stance, the ninth quaestio of the twelfth locus of Turretin’s Institutio and the second liber of Leydekker’s Vis veritatas are by no means monolithic. Turretin aims his polemic at a number of the Cocceians, the plural “Viri Docti” (12.9.9), whereas Leydekker’s acerbic remarks are geared toward the problematic writer of the booklet, the singular “Vir Doctus” (a:73).

And again

Turretin’s and Leydekker’s accounts of the Old Testament fathers’ status stands as a sequel to their treatment of the expromissio/fidejussio debate. As Turretin points out, “The quaestio about the Sponsor of the Covenant of Grace under the Old Testament” springs from “the fathers’ [Old Testament saints’] status under the Old Testament,” and therefore, deciding the nature of Christ’s suretyship greatly affects the present quaestio, De statu patrum sub Vetero Testamento.

I cite these passages to make it plain that only persons who have a quite specific interest in a quite specific slice of Reformed Orthodox debate will find the work to be of use.  Generalists and those looking for a volume treating a wider aspect of Church history or Historical Theology will be nonplussed.  But those who are of the sort who are the intended audience of this revised Doctoral dissertation will find it rich and full and thoroughly fascinating.

Put another way, and more colloquially, Reformed Orthodox nerds will love it!  I would suggest that readers begin with Chapter 8, though, as it summarizes the argument and sort of serves as a map to the whole.  Along with the usual materials in such a volume there’s also an appendix which lists the contents of Leydekker’s Vis Veritatis (which you can read online, by the way, here).

Your Sanctification

Your justification isn’t dependent on your obedience- but your sanctification is.

Zwingli’s Helmet, and Sword, Will No Longer be Displayed At the Swiss National Museum

Because they are most likely 18th century forgeries.  With many thanks to Uli Locher for the heads up about this NZZ article and the background essay from last year.

In den Grundzügen kennen alle Zürcherinnen und Zürcher die Geschichte der Reformation und die Biografie Ulrich Zwinglis. Doch es gibt neben der grossen Geschichte auch ein paar kleine, weniger bekannte Geschichten, die zum Teil ungewohnte, zum Teil sogar abweichende Sichtweisen auf das Geschehen während der Reformation gewähren. In den Mitteilungen der Antiquarischen Gesellschaft sind gut zwei Dutzend solcher Geschichten versammelt, zusammengetragen und herausgegeben von Peter Niederhäuser und Regula Schmid. Eine dreht sich um die Waffen und den Helm Zwinglis, die ihm vermutlich gar nie gehört haben.

Etc.  Read both of the essays linked above.  The first is in English, the second, German.

Quote of the Decade

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”  — Isaac Asimov

Another Poster for the Zwingli Film