Wittgenstein once wrote, “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.”
While he was concerned with the limits of our language as it relates to philosophical insights about ethics and aesthetics, I simply mention Wittgenstein here to point out a much more prosaic fact. Life has been overwhelmingly busy and complex lately. Not being able to give much thought and prayer to issues related to this blog, I have chosen to by and large limit myself to silence which has been occasionally interrupted by random jocular posts.
As the fog lifts, I hope to return to more intentional blogging, but for now..as the French would say, “C’est la vie.” One must know when to embrace reality and live within its limits.
“I want to know one thing: the way to heaven, how to land safe on that happy shore. God himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end he came from heaven. He has written it down in the book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri [a man of one book]. Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone-only God is here. In his presence I open, I read his Book for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read? Does anything appear dark or intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of lights: ‘Lord, is it not your Word, “If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God”? You “give liberally and upbraidest not” [Jas. 1.5]. You have said, “If any be willing to do your will, he shall know.” [Jn. 7.17] I am willing to do, let me know your will. I then search after and consider parallel passages of Scripture, ‘comparing spiritual things with spiritual’ [1 Cor. 2.13]. I meditate thereon, with all the attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable. If any doubt still remains, I consult those who are experienced in the things of God, and then the writings whereby, being dead, they yet speak. And what I thus learn, that I teach.” [From John Wesley (Library of Protestant Thought) edited by Albert C. Outler, 89-90]
April 18th is the Tax Day. Right now we all scramble to figure out where all of our Burger King receipts are for tax deductions. Here is a list of ideas for what to donate to charities for tax deduction purposes.
Emmaus Secondhand Superstore reported these top 10 strangest donations:
1. Prosthetic Leg
2. An urn containing human or animal ashes
3. Bag of human hair
4. A birds nest (complete with Earwigs)
5. A coffin
6. Used and unwashed underwear
7. A set of dentures
8. 10 blown light bulbs
9. Sacks of potatoes
10. A personal diary with entries
This inspired my list of Top 10 Strangest Donations for PhD students in Biblical Studies:
10.Your German Vocabulary Flash cards
9.Starbucks Gold Card [without any balance on it]
7.A pile of xerox copied reviews of Brevard Childs’ The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture
6.Expired library card
5.Bible Adventures Nintendo Video Game
4.Your PhD rejection letter from the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford
3.Sing Along CD for “Biblical Hebrew” by Victoria Hoffer and friends
2.SBL Annual Meeting Program Handbook
1.Your picture with Raphael Golb
Bernhard Lauardus Duhm [10/10/1847 – 11/1/1928] was a German Old Testament scholar and theologian. He studied theology at the University of Göttingen, where he had as instructors Albrecht Ritschl, Heinrich Ewald and Julius Wellhausen. In 1873 he became a lecturer at Göttingen and subsequently an associate professor of Old Testament studies. In 1888 he relocated to the University of Basel, where he was one of the more influential Old Testament scholars of his time. Today he is remembered for his pioneering work in Isaiah studies. While the multiple authorship of the book of Isaiah was already a theory in circulation, Duhm’s commentary outlined the three-part division of the book as 1st Isaiah [Isaiah 1-39] , “Deuterojesaja” [Isaiah 40-55], and Tritojesaja” [saiah 56-66].
Now…meet another pioneer, the Bernhard Duhm of the Monster Truck world: Ryan Anderson, who became an Monster Truck sensation since he performed the first ever flip in Las Vegas during the recent Monster Jam World Finals. This is amazing. Almost as amazing as the impact of Bernhard Duhm on Isaiah studies.
“Suffering is the shout of “No” by one’s whole existence to that over which one suffers- the shout of “No” by nerves and gut and gland and heart to pain, to death, to injustice, to depression, to hinger, to humiliation, to bondage, to abandonment. and sometimes, when the cry is intence, there emerges a radiance which elsewhere seldom appears: a glow of courage, of love, of insight, of selflessness, of faith. In that radiance we see best what humanity was meant to be.
That radiance which emerges from acquaintance with grief is a blessing to others is familiar, though perplexing: How can we treasure the radiance while struggling against what brought it about? How can we thanks God for suffering’s yield while asking for its removal? But what I have learned is something stranger still: Suffering may be among the sufferer’s blessings…in the valley of suffering, despair and bitterness are brewed. But there also character made. The valley of suffering is the vale of soulmaking.
But now things slip and slide around. How do I tell my blessings? For what do I give thanks and for what do I lament? Am I sometimes to sorrow over my delight and sometimes to delight over my sorrow? And how do I sustain my “No” to my son’s early death while accepting with gratitude the opportunity offered of becoming what otherwise I could never be?” [Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament For a Son, 96-97]
Ellen Davis reports a time when she was a part of a discussion with scholars representing a broad spectrum of Christian traditions. One question on the table, “Identify the kinds of theological inquiry that should be pursued and funded in order to provide solid intellectual grounding for this stage of the church’s life.” In other words, what is the biggest need that the Church faces today? Davis’ answer is stunningly simple, “To learn again to read and teach the Bible confessionally.” What does that mean? “The need for the church to learn afresh to acknowledge the Bible as the functional center of its life, so that in all our conversations, deliberations, arguments, and programs, we are continually reoriented to the demands and the promises of the Scripture. Reading the Bible confessionally means recognizing it as a word that is indispensable if we are to view the world realistically and hopefully. We acknowledge it as a divine word that is uniquely powerful to interpret our experience. But more, we allow ourselves to be moved by it, trusting it is the one reliable guide to a life that is not, in the last analysis, desperate. Reading the Bible confessionally means reading it as the church’s Scripture.” [from The Art of Reading Scripture, 9-10]
“Greeting in God, my most excellent sir, and venerable son Gregory, from Origen. A natural readiness of comprehension, as you well know, may, if practice be added, contribute somewhat to the contingent end, if I may so call it, of that which any one wishes to practise. Thus, your natural good parts might make of you a finished Roman lawyer or a Greek philosopher, so to speak, of one of the schools in high reputation. But I am anxious that you should devote all the strength of your natural good parts to Christianity for your end; and in order to this, I wish to ask you to extract from the philosophy of the Greeks what may serve as a course of study or a preparation for Christianity, and from geometry and astronomy what will serve to explain the sacred Scriptures, in order that all that the sons of the philosophers are wont to say about geometry and music, grammar, rhetoric, and astronomy, as fellow-helpers to philosophy, we may say about philosophy itself, in relation to Christianity.”
“Do you then, my son, diligently apply yourself to the reading of the sacred Scriptures. Apply yourself, I say. For we who read the things of God need much application, lest we should say or think anything too rashly about them. And applying yourself thus to the study of the things of God, with faithful prejudgments such as are well pleasing to God, knock at its locked door, and it will be opened to you by the porter, of whom Jesus says, To him the porter opens. And applying yourself thus to the divine study, seek aright, and with unwavering trust in God, the meaning of the holy Scriptures, which so many have missed. Be not satisfied with knocking and seeking; for prayer is of all things indispensable to the knowledge of the things of God. For to this the Saviour exhorted, and said not only, Knock, and it shall be opened to you; and seek, and you shall find, but also, Ask, and it shall be given unto you. My fatherly love to you has made me thus bold; but whether my boldness be good, God will know, and His Christ, and all partakers of the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. May you also be a partaker, and be ever increasing your inheritance, that you may say not only, We have become partakers of Christ, but also partakers of God.” [Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe.]
Biblical Studies Carnival LXI – March Madness Edition is out. It is definitely worth checking out. Darrel Pursiful has done a tremendous job putting it together. March Madness theme is a nice touch that allowed him to group posts in a creative fashion. There is a variety of depth and theological perspectives represented here. I look forward to taking some time to work through these links.