Wednesday, October 19, 2016

'If our bodies are temples, we should not fear to fill them with smoke."

     Matthew Schmitz, response to Curt R. Craton in "Blowing smoke," "Letters," First things no. 267 (November 2016):  14 (13-14).  "Now, incense is not tobacco, and I consider smoking a beautiful indulgence but an ugly habit.  Still, . . ."  (What is more, smoking does not do to a temple what it does to a body.)

Gotta serve somebody

"you have delivered us into the hand of our [(ἡμῶν)] enemies, because [(ἀνθ᾽)] we honored their [(αὐτῶν)] gods.  You are righteous, O Lord!"

     Esther C:17-18 (Old Greek) =4:17n, NETS, italics mine.  C:17-18 (21) (Alpha) =4.17n, NETS:  "you delivered us into the hands of our enemies if we honored their gods.  You are righteous, O Lord!"  14:6-7, RSV:  "thou hast given us into the hands of our enemies, because we glorified their gods."  (The NETS follows the Göttingen edition, which see for "if".)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Vive le Christ Roi!

"Some French Catholics saw Hitler as a bulwark against atheist Bolshevism:  The last line of defense as the Red Army advanced on the bunker beneath the Chancellery in Berlin was manned by Frenchmen from the Charlemagne Division of the Waffen SS, who rose from their trenches to meet the Russian tanks with the cry of 'Long live Christ the King!'"

     Piers Paul Read, "What the novelist knows," First things no. 267 (November 2016):  36 (33-38).  I have not independently verified this claim.

"So, brethren, let us long, because we are to be filled."

Ary Scheffer,
St. Augustine and his mother
St. Monica
The Louvre, Paris.
"The whole life of the good Christian is a holy longing [(sanctum desiderium)].  What you long for, as yet you do not see; but longing makes in you the room that shall be filled, when that which you are to see shall come.  When you would fill a purse, knowing how large a present it is to hold, you stretch wide its cloth or leather:  knowing how much you are to put in it, and seeing that the purse is small, you extend it to make more room.  So by withholding the vision God extends the longing, through longing he makes the soul extend, by extending it he makes room in it.  So, brethren, let us long, because we are to be filled. . . . Let us stretch ourselves out towards him, that when he comes he may fill us full."

     St. Augustine, In epistulam Johannis ad Parthos tractatus decem 4.6 (407), trans. Burnaby (LCC 8, 290), underscoring mine.  Also WSA III.13; FC 92; NPNF 7.  Latin:  SC 75.  Also NBA 24/2; ed. Reale (1994); PL 35, cols. 2008-2009.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The servility of the intellectuals

"amongst those who clamour for independence of thought, how many have this faith, and above all, the sincere desire to realize it?  How many are really the servants of truth, loyal, disinterested and determined to go to the very end of truth? . . .  the intellectuals, the great majority of them, were unfaithful to their duty, unequal to their task, and . . . the independence they professed was conditioned by their real servility to the masters of public opinion, the dispensers of honours and of benefits.
     "The war had shown their versatility, their lack of character, their herd-instinct.  But it also brought to light a minority of men who knew how to withstand the test; and one could hope that the minority would be, after the war, as a solid core round which an army could gather determined to defend against future assaults the claims of truth, which are not different from those of social justice:  for social justice is but truth in action."

     Romain Rolland,"Panorama," I will not rest [(Quinze ans de combat (1919-1934))], trans. K. S. Shelvankar (New York:  Liveright Publishing Corporation, 1987), 17.  I was put onto this by Douglas V. Steere, "On the power of sustained attention" (1960), Gleanings: a random harvest (Nashville, TN:  The Upper Room, 1986), 52 (37-53).
     Yet Nobel laureate Rolland was apparently a fairly uncritical admirer of Josef Stalin right through to his death in 1944.  See, for example, Michael David-Fox, "The 'heroic life' of a friend of Stalinism: Romain Rolland and Soviet culture," Slavonica 11, no. 1 (April 2005): 3-29 (which I have only skimmed).

"shallow modern responses to shallow modern assumptions"

"Religious fundamentalisms are . . . 'shallow modern responses to shallow modern assumptions'."

     Lucy Beckett, Times literary supplement, 27 November 2015, as quoted by Rupert Shortt, in God is no thing:  coherent Christianity (London:  Hurst & Company, 2016), 95.  (But the reference to the TLS is off.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"The eternal action of Jesus Christ grounded in His resurrection is itself the true and direct bridge from . . . Himself in His time to us in our time."

"All honour to the human and historical pragmatism of recollection, tradition and proclamation. But in relation to the divine history of this repraesentatio and oblatio it can be considered only as an epiphenomenon, with a significance which is only secondary, and indirect, that of an instrument and witness. The eternal action of Jesus Christ grounded in His resurrection is itself the true and direct bridge from once to always, from Himself in His time to us in our time. Because as crucified and dead He is risen and lives, the fact of His death on the cross can never be past, it can never cease to be His action, the decision which God makes hic et nunc to His own glory and in our favour, summoning us on our part to responsibility, as is brought out so impressively and in a way to stir the conscience in Heb. 1019-29. 'Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our hope without wavering, for he is faithful that promised' (Heb. 1022-23). Jesus Christ Himself lives. His obedience pleading for our disobedience. His blood shed in obedience speaks against us and for us to-day as it did on the day of Golgotha. He receives "or us to-day as on Easter Day the grace of God which we have not deserved. For this reason the judgment fulfilled by Him, the sacrifice offered by Him, is effective for us. Not therefore in some answer of ours to our questions: What are we going to make of it? How can we bring home this matter to ourselves and other men? Or how can we bring ourselves and other men to this matter? Where and how do we experience and prove its efficacy? There is a relative place for these questions and answers, but only in the light and in strict explanation of the one question and answer which God Himself has put and given in Jesus Christ, which indeed He does put in eternity and therefore to-day, and which He answers in the antithesis of the obedient Son and the gracious Father. Our answer and our question have to be sought (Col. 31) 'above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.' But this means in prayer, prayer in the name of Jesus, prayer which we expect to be heard onlybut without doubt or hesitationbecause God has loved and loves and will love the one who offers it as a lost sinner in Jesus Christ, because, therefore, Jesus Christ has come between this one and God, and is there between to-day and every day."

     Karl Barth, CD IV/1, 315 =KD IV/1, 347.