Showing posts from September, 2006

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...I couldn't help it.

What Am I Reading? George Hunsinger

George Hunsinger, How To Read Karl Barth: The Shape of His Theology , (Oxford: OUP, 1991) – available on . This book is the polished product of Hunsinger’s dissertation under Hans Frei, the last dissertation that Frei ever read (per Hunsinger’s report). It does not represent my first interaction with Hunsinger by any means. I have had the privilege of studying under his tutelage for the past two years and am very pleased to be working with him in the current academic year as well. Also, I have read his other volume entitled Disruptive Grace , which I very highly recommend. However, I found this book to be very illuminating as it gathered up and carefully argued many of the insights that I have learned from Hunsinger through other venues. It is an excellent volume with which to begin one’s study of Barth as in the course of the volume Hunsinger touches upon all the most important aspects of Barth’s work at least once. It is also an excellent volume with which to conso


The Satire of Our Age Wyatt Mason currently has a very insightful and interested article in the New York Times Magazine entitled ”My Satirical Self” . In this article, Mason reflects on how satire has become mainstream in contemporary culture (think The Daily Show and The Colbert Report among other things) in light of the tradition of satire in ancient Rome, etc. I highly recommend reading it. Star Trek, the Next Interpretation Ronald D. Moore, former writer on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine , and current writer on Battlestar Galactica , has a short op-ed contribution in the New York times entitled Mr. Universe wherein he discusses the lessons he learned by growing up on the original incarnation of Star Trek and how it shaped his way of looking at the world and thinking about America’s role in it. Very interesting. Sweet, old, Chicago 36 Hours: Chicago - enough said. Read it. Terrorism, Trials and Torture Learn a little bit about what is going on in the go

Choice Quotations: What Is (Systematic) Theology?

While perusing my site information the other day I noticed that someone had found their way over to this corner of the internet by Google-ing the question, “What is systematic theology?” When I saw this I immediately remembered that when I commenced with theological education some 5 years ago (wow! It has been a long time…), I was exercised by that same question. So, I have decided to compile here, for the benefit of those who might be starting out in theological study, a number of quotes from various theologians on the nature of systematic theology. These quotes may be found below in roughly chronological order. Remember, that quoting almost at random from these theologians will not give one an understanding of the whole of their opinions on any given topic, much less on this topic. Also bear in mind that “systematic” theology is somewhat newer than mere “theology” and more ancient writers will not make a distinction. ================== -> St. Augustine * Note: I had hoped to

The Beginning of the End

Tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM, Princeton Theological Seminary will begin its Fall term of the academic year 2006-2007. The start of a new semester always fills me with excitement and trepidation. This year, both of those senses are highlighted as I begin my final year of seminary and look forward to writing a thesis and applying to PhD programs. Theological education is a funny thing. It is often hard to gauge one’s own progress in theological thinking. Sometimes we get glimpses of our growth, but the majority of the time we can see only the vast expanse that lies still ahead and calls us on to greater learning. But, I guess that is what happens when one studies a truly infinite Subject. To all those beginning their seminary journey here at PTS and elsewhere - via con Dios . May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God our Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and forever more. Amen.

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 1.6-9

As I have moved further into this epistle with Calvin, I have become aware of the exciting and yet daunting fact that Calvin has more to say than I have time to properly expound upon. Thus, do not be deceived into thinking that my accounts here are in any way exhaustive. My goal is to hit those points that seem to stand out to Calvin and that stand out to myself. I encourage you to use what I write as a guide to help you find your own way into the richness of Calvin’s comments on these Scripture passages. ========================= 1 Peter 1.6-9 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (7) These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (8) Though you have not seen him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, (9) for


Books & Culture Two very interesting reviews went up over the past days - one on Stephen R. Lawhead's new fictionalized Robin Hood (read it here) , and another on one of Jules Verne's less well know books entitled, The Begum's Millions (read it here) . Both are quite interesting. It's a shame that Lawhead get's ripped aprt - I very much enjoy his work. But, historical accuracy is a kind of important in historical fiction. Species of doctoral students Ben Myers over at 'Faith and Theology' has posted a fun little list (that he got from somewhere) discussing different kinds of doctoral students. Its pretty funny. I am as yet undecided as to which species I would most like to find myself categorized. Funny Lists Alex Thompson over at Sci-Fi Theology has a couple of really funny lists posted at the moment. The first is entitled "Fun With Your Roomnate" and the second is called "A Few Helps for Passing Exams" .

Choice Quotations: Karl Barth to a Theological Student

In this letter, Karl Barth proceeds to rip this poor student a new one (a new what will be left to your own imaginations), and rightly so. May Barth’s censure in this letter stand as a warning to all who aspire to a professional life in theology. If we do not ourselves feel and fear the specter of that which Barth harangues against here, then we are indeed in dire danger of it. (Letter #11 in Karl Barth: Letters 1961-1968 ). When I then at your request recommended you for a Reformed Churches grant I simply assumed that you intended to improve your English in Edinburgh and especially to gain some acquaintance with the Anglo-Saxon theology represented there. If I had suspected you could now ask me, What shall I really do in the land of John Knox? I would certainly not have given my name in support of your application. Is it clear to you that you will bring censure on me – not to speak of others – if you do not do there what you proposed, and do it properly? If you do not do this, bu

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 1.3-5

1 Peter 1.3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, (5) who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. =================== THE COMMENTARY “Blessed be God” – This opening phrase gives Calvin the opportunity to reiterate one of the things that he set out in the earlier section concerning the argument of 1 Peter as a whole, namely, to raise us above the world, in order that we may be prepared and encouraged to sustain the spiritual contests of our warfare . To this end, Calvin thinks that it is important that Peter included further on in this passage a discussion of that which awaits us in heaven. The point is that we should be patient through earthly troubles


Link 1 This is a very fine little bit of pseudo-journalistic reflection that I heartily recommend to you all. It is entitled The Summer Next Time and occupies itself with pondering why it is that new crops of PhD’s are constantly minted when the academic life is quite demanding. This author’s solution? It is because academics are free to structure their own time. But, the piece really gets interesting when the author relates this notion with the condition of laborers in the 19th century, whom prove to be an interesting comparative study. Link 2 Here is another fun little pseudo-journalistic piece. Entitled Snakes on the Brain , this author wonders why humans have such a widespread and intense reaction to snakes. Answer? Human eyesight developed from the need of Old World Apes to identify poisonous snakes in their surroundings. I, for one, hate snakes of all shapes and sizes and plan on avoiding the recent Kino hit, Snakes on a Plane , for the entire duration of my life. Link 3

What Am I Reading? Thomas F. Torrance

Thomas F. Torrance, Divine and Contingent Order (Oxford University Press, 1981). You can find a paperback reprint here Reading T.F. Torrance’s work never fails to jar a few things loose in my head and to reconnect them in interesting ways. Though I read this book rather quickly (in less than 24 hours of total elapsed time), I cannot help but feel as though it has impacted me deeply. I only hope that the disruption and sense of wonder and excitement that I feel now will settle into forms of permanent intellectual development. Needless to say, I will read this book again – hopefully sooner than later. In any case, I highly recommend this volume. It is Torrance at his best (and worst – some really long sentences!). The bulk of the material is devoted to an exploration of the theological foundations of contemporary empirical science, the logic of which Torrance rehearses multiple times. Included in these discussions is commentary on the state of science and theology (and their

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 1.1-2

It is my pleasure to announce the commencement of a new series entitled: "Reading Scripture with John Calvin." I have been looking forward to begining this series for some time. Indeed, this series was 70% of the impetus for me to start this blog. How is that? The goal of posting this content here is an impetus for me to delve into it myself. Thus, what you are / will be reading is the result of my reading Scripture with Calvin, and I invite you to read Scripture with Calvin and myself. I will be commenting at different points both on the Scripture passage and on the material from Calvin’s commentaries, but primarily on the latter. In a way, I will be mediating Calvin to you. Assume that I am describing Calvin’s material unless I otherwise make it clear that I am offering my own reflections (speaking of Calvin in the third person or my explicit use of the first person would be hints of this). Quotations from Calvin will be given in italics or blockquotes. Translation


-> Link 1 Have any of you ever heard of Joshua Harris? I was made very familiar with him and his thought when I was a teenager. For those of you with no idea who he is, just put his name into and see what you get. Anyway, it seems that his two younger brothers are making a name for themselves through the use of new media. They have a website , complete with a blog and a conference schedule. Anyway, its interesting if you are familiar with the milieu. Thanks to Between Two Worlds for the heads up about this. -> Link 2 Would you rather be an optimist or a pessimist? Are you more an optimist or a pessimist? Should a Christian be more an optimist or a pessimist? You decide, but let the New York Times help you think about it. This editorial is about politics, but I find the discussion interesting at a number of levels. If you are inclined to pursue these notions further, Patrik over at God in a Shrinking Universe has some good thoughts posted about optimism he

Index: Serials

This is an the index for my posted serials. It will be updated as posts are added. =================== Helmut Gollwitzer on Theology's Engagement with Marxist Criticism of Religion 04.26.2011 - Part One 04.27.2011 - Part Two 04.28.2011 - Part Three 04.29.2011 - Part Four 05.02.2011 - Part Five 05.03.2011 - Part Six 05.04.2011 - Part Seven 05.06.2011 - Part Eight Wolfhart Pannenberg Mini-Series 10.29.07 -> Introduction to Systematic Theology, Chapter 1 11.5.07 -> Introduction to Systematic Theology, Chapter 2 11.12.07 -> Introduction to Systematic Theology, Chapter 3 11.19.07 -> Introduction to Systematic Theology, Chapter 4 Paul Tillich Mini-Series 8.13.06 -> Systematic Theology , Vol. 1, Pages vii-viii, 3-34, 59-66 8.18.06 -> Systematic Theology , Vol. 1, 106-137 8.30.06 -> Systematic Theology , Vol. 2, Pages 97-150 Paul Tillich: Six Theses These theses cover Tillich's Systematic Theology volume 3, pp. 1-161. 5.12.09 -> Thesis 1