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Showing posts from December, 2012

Bruce Gordon on the Relationship between Calvin and Bucer

I posted on Calvin and Bucer in the not too distant past. This relationship has sort of been on my mental back burner for the past year or so since one of my colleagues is working on a Bucer dissertation. So I was happy to come across the below discussion from Gordon’s book. I have redacted it a bit – i.e., you can look it up for yourself and learn still more than I have reproduced here. The end of what I have given you here is particularly good, I think. It is at least an interesting way to think about and characterize Calvin’s relationships with the other major reformers of his day. One also gets a sense in this material of just how much Calvin owed to Bucer, not only intellectually but career-wise as well.

Bruce Gordon, Calvin, 86.
Calvin was not really needed in Strasbourg. Bucer took him under his wing to teach him how to be a pastor, but his purpose was ultimately missionary. Calvin was to return to Geneva and resume his work.Gordon highlights here both how Bucer went out of his…

The Theologian's Almanac: December 10, 2012

In my research for today’s almanac, which aimed at honoring one individual in particular, I learned that this date marks not the death of one, but “The Death of Two Extraordinary Christians.” The December 20, 1968 issue of Time Magazine honored them thusly:

“One was a Protestant theologian who labored quietly in university towns of Switzerland and Germany for half a century. The other was a Roman Catholic monk who worked hermitlike on his writings in the hills of central Kentucky. But while Karl Barth gave his life to scholarship and Thomas Merton to contemplation, both men were Christian activists who found in the Word a command to do. Barth stood courageously against Nazi totalitarianism. Merton drove himself endlessly in championing the cause of the poor and oppressed. On their journey toward their deaths last week, each brought to his age, and to his fellow man, a message of love that was ardently Christian.”
“To believe in Christ has always been, as Kierkegaard put it, an inexplica…

Reckoning With Death: Humanity, Mortality, and the Ends of Life - Call for Papers

A friend from Virginia asked me to post this notice. It looks like a good event. Graduate student conferences are always fun. So be sure to submit a proposal if it's up your alley!


Virginia Graduate Colloquium on Theology, Ethics, and Culture
University of Virginia

April 5-6, 2013

Plenary Speakers:
Jeffrey P. Bishop, St. Louis University
Andrea C. White, Emory University
The 2013 Virginia Graduate Colloquium welcomes submissions of original research from graduate students on the topic “Reckoning With Death: Humanity, Mortality and the Ends of Life.” At once a subject for the loftiest theological and philosophical reflection and a pressing practical concern, death intrudes, eventually, into every human life. With this year’s theme, the colloquium organizers hope to foster a robust interdisciplinary discussion about how the fact of mortality structures our understanding of what it means to be human.

To that end, we welcome papers that approach death from a variety of different angles…

Bruce Gordon on Rhetoric in Calvin’s Theology

One of the things that I have always appreciated about Calvin is his rhetorical sensitivity. For my money, he developed this in both his humanist and legal studies – in the former with respect to rhetorical interpretation of texts, and in the latter with respect to his preaching and polemic (i.e., his argumentation). In the below quote, which is something of a summary of Calvin’s 1536 Institutes (i.e., the first edition: I have held an original in my hand, it was rather small – a true handbook! – and the title page had “heretique” written across it in red [unless memory deceives] ink), Gordon has occasion to reflect on this rhetorical side of Calvin’s work.

Bruce Gordon, Calvin, 61.
[Calvin’s] understanding of what it meant to be a theologian was in place in Basle. God has spoken to humanity in scripture, opened a relationship in which women and men should know and worship God – a worship not confined to religious services, but which embraces every aspect of human existence. The Word o…