Daily Archives: 5 Aug 2019

Signs of the Times

I’ve Never Heard of This Guy Before Today And I’m Sad That I Have Now

Theodore Weinberger… super dilettante.

When Angry Atheists Tweet

Quote of the Day (Yes, Again)

“If you actually think the 2nd amendment was envisioned to protect gun rights in this moment… you’re fundamentally constitutionally ignorant. If you know that’s not what it protects but you continue to do nothing… you’re a scoundrel.” – David Jolly

Quote of the Day

Americans “should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments.” – B. Obama


I’ve Just Been Sent A Photo of My Mom and Dad

I don’t have any pictures of them together.  Until now.

Classical Musicians Aren’t Racist Murderers…

That particular depravity belongs to ‘punk’ musicians it seems. And, fyi, I have been blessed till today in never having heard of this deplorable genre. You kids are sick.


This may be it if you are looking for a commentary on the Prophet Nahum

Das kleine Buch Nahum hat bis heute keine gute Presse, weil es gemeinhin unter die Zukunftsworte der biblischen Propheten gegen fremde Völker eingeordnet wird. Im Gegensatz dazu sind die Worte Nahums gegen die Hauptstadt des damaligen Weltreichs der Assyrer gerichtet, unter dessen Herrschaft die Einwohner Judas stöhnten, und daher von prinzipiell anderer Qualität. Zudem sind die Worte Nahums überliefert worden, weil sie sich mit dem Fall Ninives 612 v. Chr. schon erfüllt hatten. Als bestätigtes Gotteswort haben sie Jahrhunderte später Menschen, die unter Unterdrückung litten, als Stütze ihrer Hoffnung auf die Wende der Not gedient. Gewichtiger noch ist, dass die jüngeren Verfasser des Buches aus der zurückliegenden Prophetie Nahums grundsätzliche Aussagen über Gott gewonnen haben.

Jeremias arbeitet die Verwurzelung der Botschaft Nahums in der Tradition der frühen Propheten des Alten Testaments heraus und besticht dabei durch die Genauigkeit der Begründung exegetischer Entscheidungen im Gespräch mit anderen Ansichten. Zudem – so Jeremias – ist statt von mehreren literarischen Schichten im Buch nur von zweien auszugehen.

Jeremias introduces the Book of Nahum in 6 sections:

  1. The State of Research
  2. The Book
  3. The Era
  4. The Message
  5. The Book as Part of the Book of the Twelve
  6. The Text and its Witnesses

Then commences the commentary proper, which follows the outline of Nahum.  To wit:

  1. Superscript
  2. A Programmatic Hymn
  3. The End of Belial
  4. The Fall of Nineveh
  5. The Whore Nineveh
  6. The Unstoppable Judgment

Each textual unit is freshly translated and copious textual notes are provided.  And then the exegesis continues in the normal historical/ critical way.  There are also, as one would expect, plenty of bibliographic materials and supporting data to bolster Jeremias’ exposition and to include his work in the greater conversation taking place in biblical scholarship.

Included as well are illustrations along the way which pictorially represent historical evidence.  And finally, in terms of resources mustered, the author includes a couple of relevant excurses.

Now, for the benefit of the readers of this review and potential users of this commentary, a few examples of the contents:

On Nahum 3:1-7

In dem allen zeigt sich, dass der Prophet Nahum eine bemerkenswert andersartige Vorstellung als Jesaja vom Verhältnis der Weltmacht Assyrien zu Gott hat. Jesaja sah in Assyrien zunächst ein Werkzeug JHWHs, mit dem er sein schuldiges Volk strafen wollte, und warf ihm erst danach vor, eigene, widergöttliche Pläne zu verfolgen, mit dem Ziel, sich die Völker dauerhaft zu unterwerfen. Für Nahum dagegen ist Assyriens Weltmachtpolitik von allem Anfang an gegen Gott gerichtet und »Betrug« an Gott. Assyriens Macht stammt nicht von Gott, sondern es hat sich diese Macht zu Unrecht angemaßt mit unlauteren, ja gegen Gott gerichteten Mitteln (»Zauberei«).

Readers of this volume will discover that it follows the normal outline of commentaries in the historical-critical ‘tradition’ but to assume that the contents merely repeat old and well known facts would be a terrible mistake.  There is much that is new here in the sense of new insights and interpretations based not on speculation (which is so rife in the guild these days) but on well reasoned substantively demonstrated facts.  As, frankly, one would expect of Professor Jeremias.

I enjoyed reading this volume as much as I did reading his Old Testament Theology.  I love smart writers and smart writing.  I think you will agree that this work is both as well.

Tolle, lege!

Signs of the Times

Via Steve Kerr-

Eric Metaxas Thinks God Uses Mass Shootings to Call People to Repentance

Eric Metaxas is what happens when a dilettante with an audience he doesn’t deserve opines on theological matters he doesn’t understand.

Every mass shooting seems to brings out conservative Christians eager to outdo their colleagues in the contest of who has the dumbest possible reaction to the atrocity. We’ve already heard Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrickblaming video games and a lack of forced Christianity for the El Paso shooting.

Now Christian author Eric Metaxas, … is chiming in with his own brand of faith-based _______.

This morning, he blamed the shootings on the “spirit of the anti-Christ” and then offered an odd justification for why God allows such violence to continue even if He has the power to stop it.

Stop trying to explain complex theological ideas like Providence, Eric.  You aren’t intellectually equipped for it, and it is too important to be left in the hands of rank ignorant amateurs.

There are lots of ways God calls us to repentance and prayer.  Gunmen killing children isn’t one of them.  And what a sick image of God you have.  God, our Father, wants gunmen to kill random strangers just so billy bob will pray more?  Your view is sick, and you are a sick person with a sick understanding of God, the Bible, and theology.

Today With Zwingli: A Letter to the City Council of Constance

Zwingli was in the habit of writing various Cities and Towns and urging them to adopt Reform.  His letter of 5 August, 1523, to Constance has the same aim, with the added bonus of persuading them to ignore the lies being spread abroad about him.  After the usual introductory pleasantries he remarks

Und hab für mine gnädigen herren burgermeister und ratt Zürich kert und gebetten, sy wellind üwer wysheit anwenden umm erfaren und erduren diser sach, welchs nit klein zuo der er gottes, üwer und unserer kilchen ruow und frid dienen wirt, als dann ire eignen brieff clarlich anzeigen werdend.

Hierumb ist an üwer wysheit min gar engstig ernstlich bitt, die welle sich nit laßen beduren, ob der handel einem glych träffenlich geachten nachsuochen wurde, und den ernstlich suochen und eriagen. Ja ich mein, das ich sölches anmuotens zuo üch recht hab; denn wir eines himelichen vatters, eines gloubens und touffes sind [Eph. 4. 5], welchs ein gnuog türe ursach ist, üch umm den handel ze gründen erfordren.

Ir sind Christen; so söllend ouch ir die er Christi redten, (verzych mir üwer wysheit, das ich so gheim mit dero reden gdar) und darumm nieman ansehen, glych als ouch ünser houpt Christus nit ansicht die personen, das ist ußerlichen schyn der menschen, und minen herren von Zürich alles, so hierinn sich befinndt, getrülich zuoschicken, damit die münd, die umbill und bosheit redend, verschloßen werdind. Ich wird ouch gwüsslich bericht, wie üwer wysheit in kurtz hinggangner zyt iiij ersame, wyse und des radts by üch menner für minen herren zuo Costentz geschickt von etlicher hendlen wegen; sye der minen ouch ze red worden und mich der schantlich erdachten red halb angeruert.

Don’t listen to what people say of me- read what I write myself.  That is his message to Constance.  It’s smart advice even now.  Don’t believe what you read ABOUT Zwingli until you’ve read Zwingli himself. Ad fontes!

IOSOT 2019

You can follow the papers at #iosot2019 on the Twitter.  Some interesting sounding papers so far.

Signs of the Times- the 1531 Edition

S. Jackson relates

[In the Summer of 1531] Zurich was again visited by the plague, though not in severe form. Like others of his time, Zwingli believed in signs and portents …. So he was greatly disturbed at an extraordinary communication from Schenkenberg, near Brugg, in Aargau, some seventeen miles north by west of Zurich, written by the magistrate of the village and dated July 29, 1531, to the effect that on July 24th blood had been seen issuing in a stream from the earth!

Other equally circumstantial reports of uncommon physical phenomena were:

-that at Zug, some fifteen miles south of Zurich, on Lake Zug, a shield had been seen in the air;
-on the river Reuss, which runs into Lake Zug, shots were heard at night;
-on the Bruenig Pass, some twenty-five miles south of Luzern, flags flew in the heavens,
– and on the Lake of Luzern phantom ships sailed filled with ghosts in warriors’ garb.

At Goostow, in the county of Gröningen, belonging to Zurich, a poor peasant woman, Beatrice of Marckelssheim, bore a child that had two heads with faces, three legs, and three arms, but only one body. Two of the arms hung from the sides as usual, but the third came out of the back between the shoulders, and had on the end two hands clasped. Two of the legs were also normal, but the third hung from behind for all the world like a tail! One of the heads died in the birth, the other lived a short time after it.

But still more alarming was the comet, of which Zwingli writes, on August 16th: “Some have seen a comet here in Zurich for three nights. I for one only, i. e., August 15th; what we shall see to-day, the 16th, I don’t know.” Bullinger thus relates the incident:

“Upon [St.] Lawrence [day, Thursday, August 10, 1531], appeared at sunset a right fearful comet whose long and broad tail stretched to mid heaven. The colour was pale yellow. And when Zwingli was asked what it meant by George Müller, abbot at Wittengen, as standing in the churchyard of the Great Minster, near the Wettinger House, they contemplated it together, he replied: ‘Dear George, it will cost me and many an honest man his life, and truth and Church will yet suffer; still Christ will not desert us.’ ”

In our day we just have an orange politician…  Evil portent indeed.

The Reticence of the Editors of Luther’s Works in English to Publish his Book on the Jews

In the preface, the editors of the American Edition of Luther’s works write

The fact that Luther, during the last years of his life, wrote treatises harshly condemnatory of the Jews and Judaism is rather widely known. The treatises themselves, however, have not previously been available in English. The publication here of the longest and most infamous of them, On the Jews and Their Lies, will no doubt prove dismaying to many readers, not only because it shows Luther at his least attractive, but also because of the potential misuse of this material. The risk to Luther’s reputation is gladly borne, since the exposure of a broader range of his writings to modern critical judgment is an inherent purpose of this American edition. However, the thought of possible misuse of this material, to the detriment either of the Jewish people or of Jewish-Christian relations today, has occasioned great misgivings. Both editor and publisher, therefore, wish to make clear at the very outset that publication of this treatise is being undertaken only to make available the necessary documents for scholarly study of this aspect of Luther’s thought, which has played so fateful a role in the development of anti-Semitism in Western culture. Such publication is in no way intended as an endorsement of the distorted views of Jewish faith and practice or the defamation of the Jewish people which this treatise contains.*

Luther’s book doesn’t just make us squirm today, it was also viewed negatively in Luther’s own day, among his own supporters!

Already upon its first appearance in the year 1543, Luther’s treatise caused widespread dismay, not only among contemporary Jews but also in Protestant circles. Melanchthon and Osiander are known to have been unhappy with its severity. Henry Bullinger, in correspondence with Martin Bucer, remarked that Luther’s views reminded him of those of the Inquisitors. And a subsequent document prepared by the churches of Zurich declared (speaking specifically of the treatise Vom Schem Hamphoras, published later in 1543), that “if it had been written by a swineherd, rather than by a celebrated shepherd of souls, it might have some—but very little—justification.”*   [The Zurich document is cited in WA 53, 574. For the views of Melanchthon, Osiander, Bullinger, and other Reformers, see Lewin, Luthers Stellung zu den Juden (cited above, p. 96, n. 35), pp. 97 ff.]


(WA 53,574)

*Luther’s works, vol. 47: The Christian in Society IV.