Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Vote for DET!

We interrupt this brief blog hiatus to bring you this important announcement: VOTE FOR DET!!!


Click that little up-arrow, right there on the bottom left side.

That is all.

(Seriously, vote!)

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

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

…or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere.

Summer is almost over.

*sighs

Professional structures return to my life on Monday, as new students hit our campus for orientation and faculty return for a series of meetings designed to build community and communicate information about institutional developments. Then there’s that whole thing about getting syllabi done, lectures dusted off, etc. What does this mean for you, gentle readers? It means no more DET until September. That’s right, we’re going on hiatus. You’ll survive, I promise.

But, before going dark for a couple weeks, I want to be sure to give you plenty of good links to keep you occupied. First, a couple special service announcements:

The first one is shameless: my book is now in print, which means that you can go order a copy. For anyone who has forgotten, the book is on Karl Barth and infant baptism. If you followed any of those links, you’ll also find that the first chapter and a few other bits are available as samples on the website. You should really order a copy if you haven’t yet. And if you have ordered one, why not get a backup? Or one to share with your theologically interested friend? Or one for each of your children (if you have any)? Really, there’s no reason why everyone in world shouldn’t have a copy…

Second, and I’ve mentioned this before, you should consider throwing in a few dollars to support this very interesting research project: A Fantastic Affair”: Karl Barth in America, 1962. If you like Barth at all, you definitely want this project done sooner rather than later, and done right. This is your chance to help make that happen. I’m excited to say that it looks as though the project has met its base-line funding goal, which is great! But there are 23 days left, so why not go for more and get this book in print even sooner?!?!

Now, on to what’s been going on at DET since the last link post:


And now for the wider riches of the theo-blogosphere:


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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Gollwitzer on Christianity, Atheism, and the Existence of God

Once more onto the Gollwitzer band-wagon, shall we?

Gollwitzer is perhaps best known for being on the receiving end of Jüngel’s attention in God’s Being is in Becoming. Well, I went back and read the book from Gollwitzer that Jüngel criticizes there and found some interesting tidbits. You’ll have to wait for a further discussion, but here is one passage that I found interesting to tide you over. Given that so many folk in North America these days are interested in changes in religious demographics, and in trying to convince people that God exists (usually as a cornerstone for social conservatism in politics), I think Gollwitzer here offers a fresh and compelling take on the relation of Christianity and atheism.

Helmut Gollwitzer, The Existence of God as Confessed by Faith (Westminster, 1965), 244–45. As usual, bold is mind.
The seriousness of the contradiction between the Christian and the atheist does not lie in the fact that the atheist is a worse man than the Christian—the contrary is just as often to be seen.[*] The ‘unchristianness’ of Christians is at all events a worse thing than the immorality of athetists (Matt. 5.3ff), and the assertion than morality would perish without religion is an apologetic argument which would be better dropped. . . . Nor does the seriousness lie in the fact that the atheist, if he persists in his atheism to his last breath, will be damned; that is an anticipation of the divine judgment which is as frequent as it is premature, and against which Christians ought to find a warning in Jesus’ saying that the first can be last and the last first. The seriousness of the contradiction consists rather in the fact that where the Christian expresses relief, thanks and praise, but where he also trembles and fears, there the atheist sees cause neither for joy nor for fear. The contradiction is serious, because it means self-exclusion from the fulfilment of life in faith. To that extent it can well be said that the atheist misjudges not only God, but actually misjudges man—this, however, does not mean that he misjudges the proper anthropology, but that he misjudges himself as the man who should in fact long ago have been taking part in this fulfilment of life. For the call, ‘God is’—it is, as we have seen, a call of promise that awakens joy and fear, and not a static indicative—calls us to fulfilment of life.
*Ed. note: So shockingly true today…

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Thank You" - Paul Ricoeur and Karl Barth

A footnote in Paul Ricoeur between Theology and Philosophy:

Frederick Lawrence tells of a lecture that Ricoeur gave at Boston University in the 1970s. A questioner, objecting to an argument of Ricoeur's, angrily denounced him as a "Barthian," and was deflated when Ricoeur merely responded: "thank you." (195n4)

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Friday, August 09, 2013

My Most Recent Publication

My addiction to writing book reviews apparently knows no bounds, although I will say that I have spoken with an “accountability partner” about this . . . In any case, it works out to your benefit, gentle readers. Once again, this review is with that admirable publication, Reviews in Religion and Theology. If you haven’t yet gotten in the habit of regularly perusing it’s pages, well, you have my sympathies. Here is the most pertinent info:

W. Travis McMaken, review of Gesa Elsbeth Thiessen, Apostolic and Prophetic: Ecclesiological Perspectives (James Clarke, 2012). Click here for the review (if you have the appropriate permissions…).

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Wednesday, August 07, 2013

All truth is God’s truth: Calvin on philosophy and theology

Calvin wrote a letter to his mentor, Martin Bucer, that seems to date from early 1549. Bucer had been displaced from Strasburg by the Interim - the Schmalkald League having been defeated by the Holy Roman Emperor in 1547 – at which point he travelled to England and became Regius professor at Cambridge. These circumstances provide the backdrop for Calvin’s musing about the relationship between philosophy and theology.

John Calvin, Tracts and Letters, 5.212-13. As usual, bold comes from me:
As truth is most precious, so all men confess it to be so. And yet, since God alone is the source of all good . . . whatever truth you anywhere meet with, proceeds from him. . . . For it is sinful to treat God’s gifts with contempt; and to ascribe to man what is peculiarly God’s is a still greater impiety. Philosophy is, consequently, the noble gift of God, and those learned men who have striven hard after it in all ages have been incited thereto by God himself, that they might enlighten the world in the knowledge of the truth. But there is a wide difference between the writings of these men and those truths which God, of his own pleasure, delivered to guilty men for their sanctification. In the former, you may fall in with a small particle of truth, of which you can get only a taste, sufficient to make you feel how pleasant and sweet it is; but in the latter, you may obtain in rich abundance that which can refresh the soul to the full. In the one, a shadow and an image is places before the eyes which can only excite in you a love of the object, without admitting you to familiar intercourse with it; in the other, the solid substance stands before you, with which you may not only become intimately acquainted, but may also, in some measure, handle it. In that, the seed is in a manner choked; in this, you may possess the fruit in its very maturity. There, in short, only a few small sparks break forth, which so point out the path that they fail in the middle of the journey, - or rather, which fail in indicating the path at all, - and can only restrain the traveller from going farther astray; but here, the Spirit of God, like a most brilliant torch, or rather like the sun itself, shines in full splendour, not only to guide the course of your life, even to its final goal, but also to conduct you to a blessed immortality.
I think Calvin’s comments here raise a number of questions, chief among them is this: Granted that all truth is God’s truth, are there perhaps different kinds of truth? Might not theological truth and philosophical truth refer to (potentially) overlapping but fundamentally different alethic spheres? Furthermore, what exactly is the relationship between God as the source of all truth and those truths themselves? Is this a logically necessary relation, or is it contingently so?

Calvin never fails to provide good food for thought.

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Monday, August 05, 2013

Highlights from the DET Archives

Summer is a good time to click around on websites, and I hope that some of you, gentle readers, have been clicking around here at DET. However, if you have not yet had occasion to do that, I thought that I would present you with such an occasion today. But I would be remiss if, before I pull out some of the more interesting posts (to me) from deep in the DET archives, I failed to point out some archival collections nearer to hand. For instance, the tabs at the top of the site contain many interesting materials, especially the Serials index page and the Karl Barth Blog Conference index page. Just to give you an idea of what’s in there: the former contains multi-part examinations of figures like (in no particular order) Pannenberg, Tillich, Turretin, Calvin, Gollwitzer and Congar; the latter, of course, contains four years of blog conference posts and discussions.

Beyond that, there is the sadly neglected Classic Posts page, with some of my favorite more random DET posts from through the years. Want to know what Calvin thought about doing theology in the pub? It’s in there. Have you always wondered just what “perichoresis” means? That’s in there too. You get the idea.

Finally, I did a “flashback” post once before that highlighted some other interesting posts. Some of these overlap with the Classic Posts page, but there are some unique entries as well. Everyone knows that Barth liked Mozart, but was there something of Beethoven in him as well? Yep, got that covered. Ever wonder how Barth thought older people should relate to younger? Right this way.

Anyway, here are some other interesting (to me, and hopefully to you) posts that have not been collected anywhere else. So happy reading!

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Saturday, August 03, 2013

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

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

…or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere.

Well, then. The last link post was three weeks ago, and quite a bit has happened since then. Before we get on to the usual fare, here are a couple random plugs.

The first one is shameless: my book is now in print, which means that you can go order a copy. For anyone who has forgotten, the book is on Karl Barth and infant baptism. If you followed any of those links, you’ll also find that the first chapter and a few other bits are available as samples on the website.

Second, and I’ve mentioned this before, you should consider throwing in a few dollars to support this very interesting research project: A Fantastic Affair”: Karl Barth in America, 1962. If you like Barth at all, you definitely want this project done sooner rather than later, and done right. This is your chance to help make that happen.

Ok, now for the usual link fest. Here’s what’s been going on here at DET. There has been a decent bit of commenting going on in some of these threads, so be sure to check that out as well:


Here are some links from the wider theo-blogosphere:


Enjoy!

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