Daily Archives: 15 May 2019

Karl Barth: From Moderately Interesting Pastor to Honorary Professor

Or

Karl Barth – Vom „unbequemen Prediger“ zum „Starprofessor“ (1908–1930)

Nach zwei Jahren als Hilfsprediger in Genf bekam Barth 1911 eine eigene Pfarrstelle im aargauischen Dorf Safenwil. Die kleine Gemeinde befand sich in einer Phase sozialer Umbrüche: Während es immer weniger Bauern gab, wuchsen Industrie und Arbeiterstand. Barth stellte in diesem Rahmen seine Beschäftigung mit der Theologie zugunsten einer sehr sorgfältige[n] Vorbereitung von Predigt und Unterricht zurück. Beides nahm ihn oft voll in Anspruch. Vor allem die Predigten muteten der Gemeinde viel zu – nicht weil er sie als theologische Fachtexte hielt, sondern gerade wegen ihres klaren und direkten Anspruchs, die Existenz jedes einzelnen Hörenden mit Gottes Wort zu konfrontieren. Das sozialkritische Potenzial, das sich daraus ergab, führte bald dazu, dass man den unbequemen Prediger mied. So war der Gottesdienstbesuch oft dürftig und auch sonst machte sich Barth im Gemeindealltag nicht gerade beliebt.

Die Zeit in Safenwil markiert den Beginn von Barths „Dialektischer Theologie“ (wie sie später genannt wird). Vom selben Jahr 1916 an arbeitete Barth im Pfarrhaus an jenem Buch, das geradezu ihr Gründungsmanifest wurde: „Der Römerbrief“.

Dieses Werk katapultierte Barth an die Spitze der deutschsprachigen Theologie. Für einen 1930 erschienenen Bildband („Menschen der Zeit“) war er sogar als eine der 100 bedeutendsten Persönlichkeiten der Weimarer Republik ausgewählt. Was faszinierte die Zeitgenossen an diesem Bibelkommentar und ihrem Autor? Eine erste Fassung dieses Kommentars hatte Barth noch in Safenwil geschrieben und 1919 veröffentlicht. Schon auf der ersten Seite erhob er den Anspruch, damit durch das Historische hindurch zu sehen in den Geist der Bibel, der der ewige Geist ist. Paulus verkündige im Brief an die Römer nicht eine Wahrheit, sondern die Wahrheit. Barth ging es um das revolutionäre, existenzverändernde Einbrechen dieser Wahrheit Gottes aus dem Jenseits in unser Diesseits.

Eine völlige Neubearbeitung des „Römerbriefes“ (1922) und der in der Zwischenzeit gehaltene Tambacher Vortrag „Der Christ in der Gesellschaft“ (1920) radikalisierten den Ansatz noch: „Gott ist im Himmel und du auf Erden.“ Barth betonte die größte Distanz Gottes, des vollkommen Anderen, der sozusagen „senkrecht von oben“ ins Menschliche durchbreche. Das war eine Absage an jeden Versuch, Aussagen über Gott in der Kultur zu lokalisieren, eine Absage an die „Liberale Theologie“. Nur durch dialektische Aussagen zwischen Oben und Unten, Gott und Welt, konnte Barth ein Reden über Gott akzeptieren. Daher sprach man bald von „Dialektischer Theologie“.

„Römerbrief“ und „Tambacher Vortrag“ machten den „Schweizer Dorfpfarrer“ bald zu einem der prominentesten Theologen seiner Zeit. 1921 erhielt Barth eine Honorarprofessur in Göttingen, 1925 eine Professur in Münster, 1930 in Bonn. Dort begann er die Arbeit an seiner „Kirchlichen Dogmatik“, die er über drei Jahrzehnte weiterführte, aber nie abschloss. Seine Zeitschrift „Zwischen den Zeiten“ wurde zum Publikationsorgan der neuen Richtung. Die Absolutheit von Gottes Anspruch auf die christliche Existenz wurde zentral für Barths spätere Widerstandsauffassung.

Eine Predigt Barths über Hesekiel 13,1–16 finden sie unter:
http://de.evangelischer-widerstand.de/…
http://de.evangelischer-widerstand.de/…

Signs of the Times

NT Wright’s New Book is a Major Contribution to the Field

Tom says so himself…  So it has to be true.

Quote of the Day

“Some of these [athletics] programs might just as naturally be attached to meat-packing plants as to universities.” Cornelius Plantinga

How Sad And Weak And Pathetic And Simpering The ‘Queen of the Sciences’ Has Become in Modern Hands

Theology used to be known as ‘the Queen of the Sciences’. In modern hands she is anything but. She is a slathering and weak old hag manhandled and abused by every passer by.  ‘Man as the measure of all things’ has arrived at its logical conclusion:  each, in his and her delusion, imagines herself or himself a god above God.

Konrad Schmid and 5 Milestones in the History of OT Theology

On the Eerdmans blog.

Konrad Schmid’s A Historical Theology of the Hebrew Bible offers a historical clarification of the concept of “theology.” He then examines the theologies of the three constituent parts of the Hebrew Bible—the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings— before tracing how these theological concepts developed throughout the history of ancient Israel and early Judaism.

Schmid not only explores the theology of the biblical books in isolation, but he also offers unifying principles and links between the distinct units that make up the Hebrew Bible. By focusing on both the theology of the whole Hebrew Bible as well as its individual pieces, A Historical Theology of the Hebrew Bible provides a comprehensive discussion of theological work within the Hebrew Bible.

Gerhard von Rad is one of the five, so you know that Schmid knows what he’s talking about.  Read the post.  Good stuff.

#ICYMI – Family’s Piety Lasts 12 Seconds After Leaving Church Parking Lot…

Yup.  Pretty much.

The Granger family’s piety lasted for just 12 seconds after leaving the parking lot of 1st North Baptist Church Sunday, sources reported. Having enjoyed a sermon on 1 Peter 1:14-16 titled “Holiness In Our Lives” and having engaged in warm, loving conversation with friends on matters of church fellowship, the family of five’s reverie was almost immediately shattered as their Chrysler Town & Country minivan made its way home.

Despite the heartfelt emotion and resolve the worship service had engendered in parents Lloyd and Mary Granger, while the car was still turning onto the main road, their five-year-old son Hunter punched his brother Taylor “because [he] wanted to.” In turn, the eight-year-old took away his sibling’s “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” toy, resulting in a high-pitched, sustained yowling that in turn caused fifteen-year-old Sophie Granger to launch into a monologue about the low mental acuity of her younger siblings.

At just under 10 seconds, Mrs. Granger responded with a hissing rejoinder that everyone needed to turn around and “just stop it.” The Granger patriarch, whose thoughts were focused on how he was going to examine Peter’s exhortation to holiness within his workplace and personal life, was jarred out of his contemplations by this cacophony, and responded with a somewhat vague, angry threat of the regret all would feel if they did not listen to their mother “that instant.”

At this 12-second mark, any vestiges of piety in the minivan had been completely eradicated, resulting in a discordant row and personal sniping that only subsided when the warring family called a fragile cease-fire on the promise of lunch at Cracker Barrel.

Luther’s Wife and Her Awesome Lips…

Sorry you can’t see them- Luther had her wear this mouth muzzle…

I guess when you need women to keep silent in Church, you convince them the mouth muffler is the fashion trend to adopt…

NB- calm down.

Beza and the Genevan Psalter

Karin Maag writes over on the Meeter Center page on Facebook

In this year marking the 500th anniversary of Theodore Beza’s birth, I thought it would be good to highlight one of his most enduring contributions to the Reformed faith, namely his central role in preparing the metrical versions of the Psalms for the Genevan Psalter.

John Calvin had begun the project of versifying the Psalms in French during his three-year stay in Strasbourg from 1539 to 1541. But although Calvin had talents in many fields, this was not one of them. His attempts at putting the psalms into poetic meter were clunky at best, and were quickly abandoned.

To make the project of putting all 150 psalms into verse so they could be set to music and sung required the services of a poet with a real feel for poetry and turns of phrase. Fortunately, two such people were available: the French Renaissance poet Clément Marot (1496-1544) and Theodore Beza. Marot provided forty-nine Psalm versifications prior to his death. Beza took over the project and completed another 101 Psalm texts, leading to the publication of the entire set of 150 Psalms in 1562. He did the bulk of this work while in Lausanne, alongside his other responsibilities as Greek professor and pastor in that city.

In 1553, Beza wrote a poem to include as a preface to the Genevan Psalter. Dedicated to the readers, this 158-line poem encouraged believers to hold fast to their faith and to sing the psalms at every opportunity, for comfort, for solace, and for spiritual encouragement. He also expressed appreciation for Marot’s work, and (as was the practice in authors’ prefaces at the time) spoke disparagingly of his own weak efforts. The poem ends with Beza critiquing the poets of his day who focused on pleasure and love poetry, and contrasting these poets’ work with the true and powerful praise of God as expressed in these versified Psalms:

Sinon, chantez vos feintes poesies,
Dames, amours, complaintes, jalousies.
Quant est de moi, tout petit que je suis,
Je veux louer mon Dieu comme je puis.
Tesmoin sera mainte froide montagne
De ce mien zèle, et parmi la campagne,
Lac Genevois, tes rives écumeuses
Bruiront de Dieu les louanges fameuses,
Et du Tres-Haut le Nom parmi les nues
Retentira dans les alpes cornues.
En moi, Seigneur, ce bon vouloir as mis:
L’effect aussi m’en soit doncques permis
Que de cet oeuvre achevé je te loue
Qu’en ton honneur à ton troupeau je voue.
[The full French text can be found in the Bulletin de la société de l’histoire du protestantisme français 1 (1853) 94-100]

Go on, carry on with your fake poetry,
Of ladies, and loves, laments, and jealousies.
For my part, my small strength will do what is right
To praise and thank God with all of my might.
The echoes are witness, from mountain and field,
Who testify faithfully to my great zeal.
The lake of Geneva, with its wind and its waves
Will sing out with vigor the song of God’s praise.
And from the tall alps that reach to the sky
The praises of God will resound from on high.
Lord, you made me able to work with good will:
Therefore may I thank you for helping me still.
This work is completed – there is no more to do.
It is dedicated to your flock and to you.
[translated by Karin Maag]

And finally, for your listening pleasure, here is verse one of Psalm 42 (in English) in its Genevan Psalter setting.

If you want to hear more Genevan Psalms and learn more about the Genevan Psalter, I recommend the following site: The Genevan Psalter Resource Center, available at www.genevanpsalter.com

Quote of the Day: Stand Fast and Don’t Waver from the Truth

There now remains the conflict, to which the Spirit of God not only exhorts us to go, but even to run. It is indeed a hard and grievous trial, to see the pride of the enemies of truth so enormous, without its getting any check from on high; their rage so unbridled, without God’s interfering for the relief of His people. But if we remember that, when it is said that our life is hid, and that we must resemble the dead, this is not a doctrine for any particular time, but for all times, we shall not think it strange that afflictions should continue. While it pleases God to give His enemies the rein, our duty is to be patient, although the time of our redemption tarries. — John Calvin

Spend Your Day With Zwingli

On 15 May, 1526 Huldrych Zwingli responded to another of Johannes Faber’s pro Rome assaults in his Die andere Schrift an Dr. Johannes Faber.

Faber, like Eck, fancied himself a defender of Rome and when Luther or Zwingli wrote, they felt the need to respond.  Naturally this inevitably led to a response by Luther or Zwingli or both.

In 1526 Faber had compared Zwingli to Goliath and himself to David.  That’s how he saw things.  He would destroy Zwingli in the same way that David had destroyed the giant Philistine.

But not so fast, Zwingli responded (in the booklet at hand).  With brilliant irony and sharp sarcasm, Zwingli took Faber to the woodshed and showed the numerous ways in which Faber was wrong, on doctrine and on the outcome of their encounters.

For instance-

Liebsten brueder und fründ, es sol uns nit weych machen, daß Faber und sin huff on underloß nit allein widerstond der warheit, sunder ouch dero verkünder und lerer mit allem, das sy vermögend, umbzebringen trachtend, gott geb welchen wäg das volbracht möcht werden; sunder wir söllend daran frolocken [cf. Matth. 5. 12]; dann dise vilvaltigen widerstend sind ein offen zeichen, das wir dem gelobten land nach sind.

Es pfyffend alle bäpstler uff dem letzten löchlin, darumb sind sy so ungestuem; thuot inen ouch not, man wil das heylsam fleysch Christi Jesu, das für uns gestorben und deßhalb allein heylsam ist, das aber sy uns dichtet habend lyplich geessen werden, nümmen in dem wärd von inen weder empfahen noch kouffen.

So nun Faber under denen für ander so unreyn gumpet und tröwt, bedörfft es wenig antwortens; dann er thuot sich selb so hüpschlich dar, daß ein yeder verstendiger (ich gschwyg: glöubiger) wol sehen mag, ob doch ein einigs gneystle frommer zucht oder redliche in sinem hertzen sye.

Free Access to Articles in ‘Culture and History of the Ancient Near East’

Culture and History of the Ancient Near East volume 100 published
Free Access to 20 Selected Articles

To celebrate the publication of the 100th volume of Culture and History of the Ancient Near East, we opened up a selection of 20 articles from some of the most popular volumes in the series.

Have a look at the article selection here.

Access to these articles will remain free until July 31st, 2019. We invite you to share this link with your colleagues and others who have interest in topics covered in the series.

25% Discount – Additionally, we are offering 25% discount for a limited time on all copies in the series.
Use discount code 71088 and place your order directly on brill.com.

This discount is valid until July 31st 2019. No additional discounts apply.

Biblical Greek Semantics and Metaphor Theory

One-day workshop in Cambridge
Friday 24 May 2019

The second Cambridge Semantics Workshop on the theme “Biblical Greek Semantics and Metaphor Theory” will be on Friday May 24 2019. Further information here.

While the focus will be on Greek the guest speaker in the afternoon will be Professor Pierre van Hecke (Leuven), whose specialism is Metaphor theory in both Hebrew and Greek.

Registration free (including lunch). To attend, please email Dr James Aitken (jka12@cam.ac.uk) to confirm numbers for catering and handouts by May 17th.

Via BNTS.

Breaking News!!!! The Table That Jesus and the 12 Used at the Last Supper Discovered!!!!

BAR will have the details at Christmas! Till then, only the news of the find has been leaked along with a photo of the table. Wow. This has to be an authentic, BAR verified discovery. I can’t wait to see the details.

What Did Jesus Look Like?

Joan Taylor will address that question at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on June 2.

Everyone can conjure up the traditional image of Jesus: a handsome, white man with flowing locks and pristine linen robes, and most people know that isn’t what he really looked like. Does that matter?

Joan Taylor says that the historical evidence suggests he would have had dark skin and short hair, and would have worn rough, even scruffy, clothes. She says it matters how we picture Jesus because it cuts to the heart of his message: he aligned himself with the poor and this would have been obvious from how he looked.

She will explore both the historical evidence for redrawing our image of what Jesus looked like, and what effect it might have on our understanding of his teaching if he were depicted more accurately, as one of the have-nots.

Calvin on the Schismatics and their Insulting Words About Zwingli and Oecolampadius

Melanchthon showed Calvin an anti-Zwingli anti-Oecolampadius pamphlet written by a schismatic and Calvin remarked

What good purpose could it serve to assault the Zwinglians every third line, and to attack Zwingli himself in such an unmannerly style?   And not even to spare Oecolampadius, that holy servant of God, whom I wish that he resembled, even in being half as good, in which case he would certainly stand far higher in my esteem than he does. O God of grace, what pleasant sport and pastime do we afford to the Papists, as if we had hired ourselves to do their work!”

The last line means that Calvin saw these schismatics as doing more harm to the Reformation than the Papists could ever hope.

Was the Shapira Deuteronomy a Forgery?

A day conference at Harvard by Michael Langlois.

I have been invited at Harvard University to discuss the (in)famous Shapira Manuscript.

Half a century before the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered, an antiquities dealer in Jerusalem named Moses Wilhelm Shapira claimed that Bedouins brought to him fragments of an ancient biblical scroll found in a cave by the Dead Sea. The scroll was presented as a 9th century BCE Book of Deuteronomy, that is, two millennia older than the oldest manuscript known at the time! The British Museum was about to buy it for one million pounds when French scholar Charles Clermont-Ganneau exposed it as a forgery.

Shapira claimed his innocence and ended up committing suicide. But was this scroll really a forgery? Though the fragments are now lost, drawings and notes were made by several scholars at the time and may be analyzed in order to assess its authenticity. That is the purpose of the Harvard meeting.