Daily Archives: 27 Oct 2019

Erasmus: On Fools and their Folly

Are not they such Fools that

  • list themselves for Soldiers, and for the Sake of a poor Pay expose Body and Soul to Danger?
  • who make it their Study to scrape up Riches, when their Minds are destitute of all good Science?
  • who make their Cloaths and Houses fine, but let their Minds lie neglected and slovenly?
  • who are very careful to preserve their Bodies in Health, and take no Care of their Minds, that are sick of mortal Diseases?
  • and in the last Place, who for the Sake of enjoying the fleeting Pleasures of this Life, deserve eternal Torments?


Starbucks in Hong Kong…

Has my favorite drink and I can’t find it anywhere else in the world- black tea with ruby red grapefruit and honey.  It’s fantastic.

Next up, the day’s lectures.  The NT Background this morning and the Synoptics this afternoon.  A lot to cover, you say?  Yup.

Zwingli’s First Letter to Erasmus, And Erasmus’ Funny Reply

2zwingli_writing1.jpg“To Erasmus of Rotterdam, great philosopher and theologian, Huldreich Zwingli sends greeting: When I am about to write to you, Dr. Erasmus, best of men, I am on the one hand frightened by the lustre of your learning, which demands a world larger than the one we see; and on the other hand I am invited by that well-known gentleness of yours which you manifested towards me, when in the early spring I came to Basel to see you, for it was an unusual proof of kindness that you did not despise a man who is a mere infant, an unknown smatterer. But you have granted this to the Swiss blood (which I perceive is not so greatly displeasing to you); you have granted it to Henry Glarean, whom I see you have taken into intimacy with yourself.

“You may have wondered greatly that I did not remain at home, since [when I got to Basel] I did not even seek the solution of some most difficult questions (as your own vain talkers are wont to do from you). But when you discover by reflection that what I looked for in you was that far-famed efficiency of yours, you will cease to wonder. For, by Hercules, I admire boldly and even shamelessly this which you have in perfection, together with a friendliness of manner and pleasantness of life. So that when I read your writings I seem to hear you speaking and to see you, with that finely proportioned little body of yours, gesticulating with elegance. For without boasting you are so much beloved by me that I cannot sleep without first holding converse with you.

“But why am I wearying your most learned ears with these uncouth sounds? For I am not ignorant that jackdaws should eat from the ground. Well, that you may know how far it was from being the fact that I was sorry for the journey that I made to see you (as did those Spaniards and Frenchmen, who, as the divine Jerome says, once went to Rome to see Livy), I think that I have made a great name for myself and make my boast in nothing else than this, that I have seen Erasmus—the man who has deserved most highly of letters and the secret things of Sacred Scripture, and who so burns with love to God and men that he thinks that whatever is done for the cause of good letters is done for himself. All good men ought to pray that God will preserve him in safety to the end that sacred literature freed by him from barbarism and sophistry may increase to a more perfect age and that the tender shoots bereaved of their great father may not be left without protection and care.

“But now, to bring this tragedy to a close, I in return for all those kindnesses which you have shown me have given you what Æschines gave to Socrates,—though not an equal value,—myself.1 But you do not receive this gift which is not worthy of you! I will add, more than the Corinthians did when scorned by Alexander—that I not only will give it to no other but never have done so. If you do not accept it even thus, it will be sufficient to have been repelled by you. For nothing will more contribute to the correction of one’s life than to have displeased such men. So whether you are willing or unwilling, you will, I hope, restore me in improved condition to myself. Finally, when you have used your possession in whatsoever manner is pleasing to you, farewell.

“GLARUS, April 29, 1515.”

And Erasmus sends back this response:

erasmus2“Erasmus of Rotterdam to Huldreich Zwingli at Glarus, a philosopher and theologian most learned, a friend beloved as a brother: Greeting.

“The fact that you are so well disposed towards me has been a very great delight to me, as is your letter, equally sprightly and learned. If I respond in short measure to this last, you must not lay it up against me. For by these labours, which seem to me as though they would never be finished, I am often compelled to be less kind than I would be to those to whom I least wish to be so; but to myself I am by far the most unkind, draining the resources of my intellect which not even a quintessence may restore. That the results of my lucubrations are approved by you, so approved a man, greatly rejoices me, and they are on this account less displeasing to me.

“I congratulate the Swiss, whose genius I particularly admire, upon the fact that you and men like you will embellish and ennoble them by your most excellent pursuits and customs, with Glareanus as leader and standard-bearer, who is not less pleasing to me on account of his marked and varied erudition than on account of his singular purity and integrity of life—a man, too, entirely devoted to yourself.

“It is my intention to revisit Brabant immediately after the Feast of Pentecost; at least so things are tending. But I do not willingly tear myself away from these regions.

“Be careful, my Huldreich, to use the pen now and then, which is the best master of speech. I see that Minerva is favourable if the training is maintained. I have written this at dinner, at the request of Glareanus, to whom I can deny nothing, no, not even if he should tell me to dance stark naked! Farewell. From Basel.”

Let’s hope Glarean never asked him to do that.  Had Erasmus not been so afraid of Rome, he would have made a fine Reformer.  Fear paralyzes even the great.

If You Missed the Lecture on Bultmann in Zurich…

Watch it here.

More Erasmus

There remains one order of the clergy, who are so tied to religion by vows that, if they were inclined, they could no more shake it off, than the tortoise can get rid of the shell which he carries on his back, like a house. I should hope, if I had not been so often disappointed, that, among these persons, coming in the name of peace, I should gain a welcome reception. However, that I may leave no stone unturned, I go and try whether I may be allowed to fix my residence here. Do you wish to know the result of the experiment? I never received a ruder repulse. What indeed could I expect, where religion herself seems to be at war with religion. There are just as many parties as there are fraternities. The dominicans disagree with the minorites, the benedictines with the bernardines; so many modes of worship, so various the rites and ceremonies; they cannot agree in any particular; every one likes his own, and therefore damns all others. Nay, the same fraternity is rent into parties; the observantes inveigh against the coletae; both unite in their hatred of a third sort, which, though it derives its name from a convent, yet, in no article, can come to an amicable convention.

Martin Luther: On Those Jackdaw Preachers Who Steal Other People’s Sermons

lutherThere are some lazy pastors and preachers, who are no good themselves, those who count on getting their sermons from … other [people’s] … books. They do not pray, do not study, do not read, do not meditate on anything in Scripture, just as if on account of [these books] one did not have to read the Bible. They avail themselves of books such as the Formulary and the Calendar to earn their annual keep. And they are nothing but parrots or jackdaws that learn to repeat without understanding. — Martin Luther

Amen and amen.

Happy Birthday Erasmus

Born on this day in 1466, Desiderius Erasmus.

Erasmus as Forerunner of Luther and Zwingli

normal_Durer-Albrecht-Erasmus-Sun2016 ehrt die Reformationsstadt Basel Erasmus von Rotterdam. Denn der Humanist, der zeitlebens Katholik blieb, legte am Rheinknie die Basis für den Durchbruch von Luther und Zwingli.

2017 feiert die protestantische Welt Luthers Thesenanschlag am Kirchenportal zu Wittenberg. Der Akt bildet den Auftakt zur Reformation, die ganz Europa erschütterte. In Basel hingegen beginnt das Reformationsjubiläum schon 2016. Die Stadt ehrt Erasmus von Rotterdam. Der Theologe machte mit seiner Bibeledition und seinem Wirken die Reformation erst möglich. Trotzdem blieb er Katholik.

There is something to be said for Erasmus as ‘way-paver’ for the Reformation. He could, and would, never have gone as far as Luther and Zwingli, which is why he matter less. But he does matter and he’s worth remembering.

Brunner’s Ordination

October 27th, 1912, Emil Brunner was ordained. He had preached his first sermon earlier that year, on April 14th. His subject, “Jesus is the Divine Man’. In that sermon, which really serves as an indication of all his later work (though of course just in the slimmest of outlines), Brunner asserted that ‘Faith in the biblical sense is nothing other than an apprehension of the truth’. And faith in the theological sense is like ‘when a mother says to her son, I believe in you!’

The concept of faith remained important to Brunner his entire ministry.

Oh, and he was more brilliant than Barth to the same degree that the sun is more brilliant than a firefly.

Just a Few From this Evening

Because, frankly, I’m too tired to walk any more.  Tomorrow we start the day off with ‘The New Testament World’ and we end with the Synoptics.

It’s going to be fun.

And a Happy Servetus Day to You All…

@jdmccafferty – 27 Oct 1553: Michael Servetus anti-Trinitarian thinker burnt at #Geneva #otd on a pyre of his own books (McGovern).

Servetus was a theological dilettante.  He should have stuck with medicine.

Calvin never wrote a book on medicine.  Do you know why?  Because that wasn’t his field!  If only everyone were like Calvin and stayed in their own lane.

The Afternoon Rounds

8.86 miles, according to my fitbit.

The Evangelical Pope

“”Clearly says” is the evangelical equivalent of an infallible papal decree. The evangelical’s popish wielding of “clearly says” seeks to end all discussion and to anathematize those with less impudence and pride.” – Michael Svigel

It’s the same as the progressives ‘wrong side of history’ ‘argument.’ As though they are able to predict the future….