Monthly Archives: September 2010

I won!

Many thanks to author of Diglotting for choosing me as the winner of the book giveaway about which I posted earlier!



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N.T. Wright’s exegesis of Humpty Dumpty


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More on Matthew Fox

I really hate to belabor this point, but I still cannot understand why Matthew Fox has been invited to speak at ECU this fall at our annual Jarvis lecture series. I received this in an email today:

Matthew Fox, the next Jarvis Lecturer, was prohibited from teaching in the Roman Catholic Church. That is a part of his story, and it is important for understanding both his life and his writings. Bringing Fox in for the Jarvis Lecture, however, does not imply on the part of the Religious Studies Program, or on my own part, any particular view of Roman Catholicism. I wanted to make this point up front, because his unhappy relationship with the Pontificate in Rome will come out both in the summaries of his life and work that I provide over the next couple of months, and perhaps in his presentation.

I can sort of buy this, I guess. While I don’t think ECU’s religion program is outright hostile to Catholicism, inviting someone like Fox is in some way, however minimal, a legitimization of the things he says about Catholicism. And that’s really all he has – every book we read of his last semester was basically whining about how everyone doesn’t understand how much of a genius he is. Inviting him to a serious, scholarly forum only legitimizes his whining as ‘scholarly.’

The main criteria that guide the selection of our speakers is that the person be a recognized and respected scholar and that they have the ability to communicate well to the diverse Jarvis Lecture audience. Of course, they also have to be affordable on our tight budget.

If this is their main criteria, they should drop Matthew Fox and find someone who is “a recognized and respected scholar.” Who is out there taking Matthew Fox seriously? Who is out there championing him as a ‘respected scholar’? Unfortunately, I think someone like Fox is being brought to this lecture series (a series which has had such speakers as Marcus Borg, Lawrence Cunningham, and Walter Brueggemann) because of the shock value of Fox’s statements and nothing more. His attempts at scholarship have been mostly ignored, and when noticed, have been critiqued pretty severely. See, for instance, Barbara Newman’s critique of Fox’s revisionism of Hildegard’s life and thought. There are basically two ways that would legitimize Fox’s invitation: 1) He becomes a scholar and starts doing the work of a scholar 2) The lecture series stops saying that it is an academic forum and instead begins inviting people who are just shouting loud enough.

I’m ashamed that my alma mater is providing a platform for this kind of nonsense.


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Counting errors in Augustine and the Bible

I’m reading through a book I picked up at the book sale on campus and I’ve found two counting errors within a few pages of one another. The book, Augustine and the Bible, is translated from French (Saint Augustin et la Bible), so I wonder if the error exists in French (if you have a French copy, please check if you have time) or if this is the translator’s fault.

The two errors are:

p. 29 – “The two portions of the list are forty-four books of the Old Testament and the twenty-eight of the New Testament.” There aren’t 28 books listed in the NT list that the article quotes (Augustine’s list in ‘De Doctrina Christiana’)

p. 31 – “The Pauline epistles are numbered fourteen plus one.” In fact, they aren’t. The text she quotes in the essay comes from the Council of Carthage where 14 Epistles are attributed to Paul (“thirteen..,an epistle by the same author to the Hebrews,…”).

If someone has the French version, I would appreciate them looking these up. I don’t believe we have a French copy in our library and I’m obsessive, but not enough to ILL it just to check.

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Book Giveaway!

Who doesn’t love free books?

So today, I just received a review copy of Holy Writings, Sacred Text by John Barton. However, I forgot that I had asked for a review copy and did not know that one was on the way to me, so I purchased a copy of it from Amazon.

Divine providence, most likely. Go here and sign up for the book giveaway (and read the blog, too!).

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Discount books

For both today and tomorrow, University of Notre Dame Press is selling its overstock books in Hesburgh library for around 65% off. After my Latin class today (which meets in our awesome Medieval Institute in the library) I found three books that I think I’m going to enjoy:

Reading and Wisdom: The De Doctrina Christiana of Augustine in the Middle Ages (ed. Edward English)

Augustine and the Bible (ed. and trans. Pamela Bright)

Reading in Christian Communities: Essays on Interpretation in the Early Church (ed. Charles Bobertz & David Brakke)

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Henry Chadwick on Tertullian

I have been tortured by enjoying some of Tertullian’s Apologeticum as of late and I found this quote in Henry Chadwick’s The Early Church that rings true:

“In the fiery zeal of his moral essays there is an intense ethical seriousness and passion which go far to reward the reader who can be patient with his tortuous arguments and his merciless impaling of his opponents.” (p. 92-93)

“Torturous arguments” is spot on. If you need a refresher on counterfactual statements in Latin, just read the Apologeticum.

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