Showing posts from November, 2008

Ben Myers: Why I Think TF Torrance is Not a Barthian

Some of you may have seen the (short-ish) video that Ben Myers put together for the Theology & Praxis group, entitled Why I Think TF Torrance is Not a Barthian. As someone who reads both Torrance and Barth, I naturally have an opinion about what Ben has put together, and I intend to circulate – one way or another – a response to his video. Indeed, I am looking forward to sitting down with Ben sometime soon (he is currently in Princeton) to have a chat about these things. But, in the meantime, I wanted to provide a service for those of you who may not have time to watch the video and take careful notes. So, what follows are my notes on Ben’s presentation, offered here as a way of encouraging and furthering the conversation.

Ben is right that TF towers over English language Barth interpretation and was a very important and perhaps the primary conduit through which Barth was mediated to the English speaking world. [=As my own insertion, I want to point you to Alister McGrath’s T…

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 5.8-11

1 Peter 5.8-11

[8] Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. [9] Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your fellow believers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. [10] And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. [11] To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.


COMMENTARY: There are a few interesting tidbits in this section. First, Calvin understands the admonition of verse 8 as intended to keep Christians from letting down their guard, or from indulging some of their lesser vices due to the apparent absence of spiritual trouble. Have the breathing space to face these temptations is certainly a welcome thing, but – as Calvin says – “we too often turn peace into sloth” (150).

Here is one of Calvi…

Gregory of Nyssa on Paul and Boxing

Gregory of Nyssa, On the Beatitudes: An English Version with Commentary and Supporting Studies, Proceedings of the Eighth International Colloquium on Gregory of Nyssa, Paderborn, 14-18 September 1998 (Edited by Hubertus R. Drobner and Albert Viciano; Boston: Brill, 2000), 2.3; 35-6.It seems to me that not everything that is done gently should be considered equally virtuous, if only softness and slowness are indicated by the word. The gentle is not better in races than the speedy, nor in boxing does the slow-moving win the garland against his opponent. If we run for the prize of our upward calling, Paul advises us to increase our speed, saying, ‘Run so as to win’ (1 Cor 9,24). He himself by constantly greater effort would grasp what lay ahead, purposely forgetting what lay behind (cf. Phil 3,14). As a boxer he was quick, for he could spot his opponent’s move, and, firm in his stance, with hands as weapons, he did not fling the armour in his hands about at something empty and insubs…

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 5.5-7

1 Peter 5.5-7

[5] In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourself to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.” [6] Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. [7] Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.


COMMENTARY: The three pages of Calvin’s commentary on these verses are quite fascinating, at least to me, and I will here try to lift up the threat that I see running through it and trying to identify why it intrigues me as best I can.

Calvin begins by commenting on the exhortation that the ‘younger’ are to obey the ‘elder,’ and he argues that this exhortation is made with reference to physical age. Those who have accumulated fewer years are to submit to those who have accumulated more. There is certainly a common-sense plausibility to this reading, but I wonder if it might …

Thomas Lynch for All Saints' Day

I seldom do this at DET, and by 'this' I mean throw up a post that is basically a link. But, rules are made to be broken, or so they say. Thomas Lynch - whom I know from his book, "The Undertaking," although he was written other things - is an undertaker, writer, and poet from my native Michigan. We also share Irish descent. In any case, he has written an op-ed for the New York Times to commemorate All Saints' Day, and I highly recommend it to you. Here is a taste:The dead get buried but we seldom see a grave. Or they are burned, but few folks ever see the fire. Photographs of coffins returned from wars are forbidden, and news coverage of soldiers’ burials is discouraged. Where sex was once private and funerals were public, now sex is everywhere and the dead go to their graves often as not without witness or ritual.