Showing posts from June, 2012


As I think of how to best introduce myself, I am forced to reflect on my roots. Although usually when people ask about my Orthodox particularity the categories are “Cradle” or “Convert,” I am a mix of both. My mother’s family is Orthodox (Antiochian and Syriac), but I was not raised in that tradition. My German father and his Reformed heritage played a much more significant role in my theological upbringing. These two worlds actually collided and coincided cohesively. My Protestant grandfather adored the early Church. I have his Josephus text. He had extensive Greek lexicons and Hebrew aids. His penciled notebooks reflect his thoughts on Eusebius, in between teaching himself Spanish. He instilled this sense of wonder in my father, who dialogued with me about theology since I was young. When I began to practice Orthodoxy in college, I realized I never saw the Reformed side of my family clash with the Orthodox side. Truly, my path to Eastern Orthodoxy was forged by my grandfather and fa…

New Center for Barth Studies Book Review

Andrew Root reviewsRosalene Bradbury, Cross Theology: The Classical Theologia Crucis and Karl Barth’s Modern Theology of the Cross (Pickwick, 2011). If you are interested in exploring Barth's Lutheran side (I feel compelled to insert an asinine remark here, such as
"although I don't know why you would be" . . . but I'm not going to sink to such), then this book might be for you. Check out the review to see!

P.S. For those of you who don't already know, I am (and have long been) the Center for Barth Studies book review editor. So if you have written a book about Barth - or know of a good one - that has not yet been reviewed on the site, feel free to contact me with that information: barth [dot] reviews [at] ptsem [dot] edu.

Dan Migliore on the Munus Triplex, Part 1 – Soteriology

Ever since Gustaf Aulen’s seminal work, Christus Victor, dogmatic work on soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) has had to grapple with the brute fact that there is no single “official” way to think about Jesus Christ’s saving work in the theological tradition. While various streams of the tradition sink their roots in different patterns of thought or emphasis, none of these are exclusive and each must be brought into conversation with the others. Furthermore, there has been increased recognition that there are multiple ways of thinking about Christ’s saving work attested in scripture. So this multiplicity is not only in reception, as it were, but also in origin. This is, of course, to be expected given the nature of the event.

In any case, Migliore lays out very briefly one of the ways of handling this multiplicity within the Reformed theological tradition. And he does so by employing one of that tradition’s fun little Latin phrases. All the different theological traditions have t…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend…

…or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere.

Time for another set of links. To begin this time, I would call your attention once more to the little index I posted for David Guretzki’s dispatches from the Princeton Theological Seminary Barth conference, held at the beginning of this past week. There are some related posts in the works from DET contributors that will see the light in due course.

So, on to the links! It will just be one mad grab-bag today…

Why not begin on a high note? Kim Fabricius’s doodlings are always worth a read, and here is another instalment. As usual, here is a snippet: “In a dream I asked Jesus, “Will anyone go to hell?” And the Lord replied, “Over my dead body.””Ben Myers posted some links pertaining to the recent Princeton Theological Seminary Romans conference. Apparently you can watch video of many (perhaps all!) of the presentations. I wish I had more time on my hands to do so…While we’re on the topic o…

PTS Barth Conference - Some links

It's been quiet around here for a few days out of respect for this year's Princeton Theological Seminary conference on Karl Barth. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend (for the first time in approximately 7 years...), so the usual DET coverage of the conference was missing. Some of DET's contributors were there, however, and so some materials on the conference may find their way to sunlight in due course. But, until then, I want to point you all to a set of comments on the conference put together by long-time friend of the blog David Guretzki. David teaches theology at Briercrest.

Here are the links:
Day 1Day 2, Part 1Day 2, Part 2Day 3
A big thanks to David for the time and effort that went into these posts. Thanks for keeping we who were absent in body but present in spirit from going absolutely mad from lack of news!


Dan Migliore on What it Means to “Witness”

One important word in broadly Barthian discourse is “witness.” Hauerwas even uses it, although I happen to disagree with how he does so (cf. the contribution of Doerge and Siggelkow from the last KBBC). But it has been an increasingly contested question as to what exactly such a notion entails. Migliore discusses the church’s ask of proclamation, and then goes into different aspects of what proclamation is about. As part of that discussion he does a bit of an analytic exercise on the language of “witness” and what it means to be a witness. This is nothing like a final account of the matter, but it does lay some important foundation pieces.

Daniel L. Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding, 276.
Several features of the act of witness stand out. First, the witness is sword to tell the truth. Second, faithful witnesses draw attention not to themselves but to someone or some event distinct from themselves. Third, the need of witnesses arises from the fact that what they tell us is quite diff…

John Calvin to Peter Viret, on the Exegesis of other Reformers

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been reading through some of Calvin’s correspondence for a handful of reasons. This is another gem that I wanted to lift out. Some of you may be familiar with what Calvin has to say about the exegesis of other important Reformation figures in the preface to his commentary on Romans, and this bit from his correspondence links up with that. But there are different figures in question here, and the comments are more particular – i.e., Viret asked where he could find helpful commentary on the book of Isaiah. Here is what Calvin had to say.

Coincidentally, this letter comes from that period during which Geneva had begun to desire Calvin’s return but Calvin had not yet given himself over to the idea. 

Letter of John Calvin to Peter Viret in May of 1540, as represented in John Calvin, John Calvin: Tracts and Letters, 4.188.
Capito, in his lectures, has some things which may be of much use to you in the illustration of Isaiah. But as he does not dicta…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend…

…or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere.

Hey, look at that – it really has been a fortnight this time! Sit back, relax, and prepare for some links worth visiting.

Perhaps you remember my post from just over a fortnight ago entitled “Roman Catholicism in the News, with some Protestant Reflections”. My first unit today will bring you an update on that whole situation.

All these links come from the NYTimes, so let’s begin with an editorial they published recently - The Politics of Religion. Here is a quote:The First Amendment also does not exempt religious entities or individuals claiming a sincere religious objection from neutral laws of general applicability, a category the new contraception rule plainly fits. In 1990, Justice Scalia reminded us that making “the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land” would mean allowing “every citizen to become a law unto himself.”By way of application, the presen…

Pannenberg on Change: Or, on Getting Older

Roughly a week ago, I reached a somewhat significant milestone; I turned 30.  While normally this would not elicit a blog post, around the time of my birthday I reread this passage in Pannenberg's early work Theology and the Kingdom of God which resonated with me:
The perverse (in the literal sense of that word) apperception of the divine reality in religious experience is only one more form assumed by the perversion of man's relation to the future. The perversion, of course, is the conventional perspective of experience in which the future is understood as a prolongation of what is already existing, rather than being understood as the creative origin of reality ... All conservative persistence in established securities will be shattered and surpassed by historical change.  The process of history is God's instrument in the education of humanity, bringing man to the awareness of his historicity and thus completing his creation. (68-9) As I reflect more on this passage, it se…

Dan Migliore on Reading Scripture for the “Whole Gospel”

Anyone who knows me, or has been a regular reader here at DET for any amount of time, knows that I’m a Barthian (of a particular stripe). But such folks also know that I’m only a Barthian because I was a Calvinist first. And I don’t mean either this kind of Calvinist, or this kind of Calvinist. I mean that I read (both past and present tenses) and love Calvin himself, and I am still convinced that – were it not for Barth – Calvin would be the best theological option on offer. One important piece of my thinking in drawing that conclusion is the biblical timbre of Calvin’s theology. More than anyone else, Calvin attempts (he does not always succeed, but he attempts) to say everything that he hears the Bible saying regardless of how neat, tidy, or comfortable it is for his theology. It is Calvin’s good faith effort to incorporate the entire biblical witness in his theology that sets him apart. 

Of course, part of what distinguishes Barth from Calvin is a different approach to the scope o…

Karl Barth: Rational vs. Rationalistic

There is a rather well-known story about Karl Barth (well-known within Barth studies, anyway) and reason, although I am unfamiliar with the source (if there is one). When asked about the place of reason in his theology, Barth is purported to have replied: “I use it!”

For whatever reason I decided to read a few pages in CD 1.1 this morning and, coming across the following buried in a fine-print section (as so many of Barth’s best comments are), decided to share it here for whatever you, gentles readers, think it may be worth.

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics 1.1, 296-7:
All dogmatic formulations are rational, and every dogmatic procedure is rational to the degree that in it use is made of general concepts, i.e., of the human ratio. It can be called rationalistic, however, only when we can show that the use is not controlled by the question of dogma, i.e., by subordination to Scripture, but by something else, most probably by the principles of some philosophy. If it is clearly understood t…