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Personal Note

Well, about two years ago I said, “I’ll be back soon,” and I haven’t done a whole lot since then.  I usually work on my Theological German over the summer.  Two years ago after my father passed away I spent a lot of time with my mother.  Since then I’ve spent a lot of time with my grandchildren, partly because I realize how important my dad was to my own kids.  I have a little different perspective on the importance of things.

But Bonhoeffer reminds me that even  penultimate things have a relative importance in their place.  Theological German is one of those penultimate things for me.  It is still important to have a broader perspective on theology than an English-only perspective would give.

I agree with those who say “don’t just learn theological German, learn German.”  I would say, take a class, visit a German speaking country, or better yet, study at a German or Swiss university.  In fact the best thing would be to do what Chris Tilling did: Move to Germany and marry a beautiful German-speaking woman.  But if you can’t do that, do what you can.

My other hobby is bicycle riding.  I like to watch the Tour de France and imagine myself racing up the mountains in the middle of the peleton, sharing a conversation in German with the rider on my ride and in French with the rider on my left, and saying “Andiamo!” to the slow Italian behind.  In wirklichkeit, I can’t go as fast downhill as the pros go up the mountains.  I plod along in the picturesque-but-modest-by-alpine-standards flint hills where I live at an average of about 13 mph.  Still cycling is good for me, and enjoyable, and the more I engage in it the more I believe in it.

Last week my wife and I watched the Tour de Suisse on TV.  The program was in English but the American network got there feed from German language TV, so the captions were in German.  The leader was the “Spitze” (point or tip).  The king of the mountain prize was the Bergpreis, and the highest mountain climb (hors categorie, excuse the French, but even German TV uses it) was the Glaubenberg.

I teach undergraduate Bible, including Greek and Hebrew, at Manhattan Christian college in Kansas (the “Little Apple).  Occasionally I gather two or three students to read some German once a week.  I also teach a masters level summer term course on OT Research at Kentucky Christian University.  As part of my preparation I just finished reading A Brief History of Old Testament Chriticism: from Benedict Spinoza to Brevard Childs by Mark S. Gignilliat (Zondervan, June, 2012).  Major chapters devoted to DeWette, Wellhausen, Gunkel, and von Rad reminds me how important German continues to be for research in Biblical studies.

Four years ago I attended the International Bonhoeffer Congress in Prague.  The next quadrennial Congress is about to begin in Sweden.  I am not able to attend this year, but a colleague Robert Ford is on his way.  If he finds good internet connections, he is going to send me email updates, which I will post here.

Meanwhile I hope to have a few more posts from Schlatter’s study of Glauben.  Just arrived in the mail is a copy of von Rad’s Predigt-Meditationem, which I look forward to perusing and posting in the coming weeks.  I also have a commentary on Ephesians by Snackenburg that I’m reading in preparation for a fall class on the Prison Epistles.  Hopefully I will bring a few posts from that also over the next few weeks.

I am spurred on by Gerhard von Rad’s motto:

“Meine Aufgabe als akademischer Lehrer war und ist: Lesen zu lernen und lesen zu lehren.”

Mark

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I noticed the following news item in the Münsteraner Forum für Theologie und Kirche (http://www.theologie-und-kirche.de/):

Zum 60. Geburtstag des existentialistischen Philosophen Charlie Brown

cartoon from from Faz.net

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I’ll Be Back Soon

My father passed away on Memorial Day, May 31.  I have been spending a lot of time with my mother and my own grandchildren over the summer.  My wife and I have experienced the loss of several family members over the last year, aunts, uncles, cousins; and her mother is in poor health.

I’ve been sad but not depressed, just attending to more important matters.

I hope to be back to doing serious posts in September: a few more from Barth, then maybe Gerhard von Rad.

Before then I may include a couple more selections from the Evangelische Gesangbuch.

Alles Gute,

Mark

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Conservative, Old or New

Here is a quotation from a German blog, “Credo ut intelligam”:

Ich selbst verstehe mich insofern als konservativ, als dass ich die orthodoxe Lehre der Kirche interessant finde und ihr anhänge. Allein mit ihr können wir auch missionarisch tätig sein.

Aber ich bin alles andere als strukturkonservativ. Oder, um ein anderes Wortpaar zu nehmen: Ich bin altkonservativ, nicht neokonservativ.

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Perseus Update

The Perseus Project has a new look.  Perseus is a fabulous project for classical studies.  The site provides access to Greek and Latin texts, in the original and in translation, as well as images from archaeological sites, and plenty of other helps.  The front page also has a link to the the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut.

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Jerry Coyle

I’m attempting to translate Rudolf Bultmann’s “Der alte und der neue Mensch in der Theologie des Paulus” (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1964). On page 8 the following sentence appears:

“Nun liegt es ja in der Tat nahe, zu sagen: die δικαιοσύνη ist bei Paulus ein eschatologisches Heilsgut, und der δικαιωθείς ist der neue Mensch der Heilzeit, für den diese Welt mit ihren Möglichkeiten des Handelns und des Sündigens nicht mehr in Frage kommt.”

I’m looking for a definition of “die Heilsgut” in this sentence. The closest I can come is something like “salvation good,” or “material pertaining to salvation,” or maybe even “salvation.” Can you get me to a more precise definition than this? Thanks.

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Atheist Crusades

Gerhard Baitinger gives this report in the Philos Newsletter:

»Mit an Sicherheit grenzender Wahrscheinlichkeit gibt es keinen Gott – hört auf euch Sorgen zu machen und genießt das Leben.«

Dieser und ähnliche atheistische Slogans sind auf Hunderten von Bussen zu sehen, die auf Strassen in Großbritannien und im strenggläubigen Spanien durch die Gegend rollen. In Italien, Kanada und Australien sind ähnliche Atheistenkampagnen in Planung.

In Deutschland wollen die Städte auf Bussen keine Werbeflächen für religiöse Glaubensbekenntnisse zur Verfügung stellen. Ausgelöst wurde die Kampagne in Großbritannien vermutlich durch Christen, die auf Bussen Ungläubige mit Höllenstrafen bedrohen, wenn sie nicht ein gottgefälliges Leben führen.

Nun wissen wir spätestens seit Immanuel Kant, dass Gott sich zwar weder hundertprozentig belegen noch widerlegen lässt, dass aber die Vernunft unserer Urteilskraft andernfalls .in einen bodenlosen Abgrund fällt, wenn sie nicht die Annahme trifft, dass so etwas wie eine höhere Macht tatsächlich existiert.

For more, or to subscribe to the Philos Newsletter, go to the Philos-Website.

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