how oddly holiness situated itself among the things of the world

Glory had kept most of the habits of her pious youth. Morning and evening she took her Bible out to the porch and read two or three chapters. …What a strange old book it was. How oddly holiness situated itself among the things of the world, how endlessly creation wrenched and strained under the burden […]

Jesus’ own mind was the defining locus of humanity’s capacity to hear and obey the historical summons of God

In other words, the Old Testament and the redemptive work of Christ are not related simply by way of objective semantic reference, but also through the living subjective experience of the Redeemer—Jesus’ own understanding of Holy Scripture. The conjunction of the Sacred Text and the redemptive event was originally discerned in the active, self-reflective understanding […]

each stitch was such a ponderous ritual that he couldn’t bear to watch

Various passages from The Book of Strange New Things: A Novel by Michel Faber: Overall, though, he had to admit that the scenery here was less beautiful than he’d seen in, well, quite a few other places. He had expected mind-boggling landscapes, canyons shrouded in swirling mists, tropical swamps teeming with exotic new wildlife. It […]

tools for recovering the real Jesus

Even fundamentalism, for all its official emphasis on “the Bible alone,” owes its end-time obsessions to the extracanonical innovations that Cyrus Scofield’s influential Study Bible wove into the scriptures it was supposedly dispassionately interpreting. “Unlike most commentators,” Paul Boyer points out in his history of end-times beliefs, When Time Shall Be No More (1994), “Scofield […]

concience as captive to the Word of God

While many of the criticisms that Roman Catholics and the Orthodox direct at Protestant use of the Bible are legitimate, both the Catholic appeal to magisterial teaching authority and the Orthodox appeal to unbroken liturgical tradition appear to me to have just as serious problems in using Scripture as Protestants do–though their problems are admittedly […]

when I came forth out of Egypt

This extended passage about a prayer from the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus (“a little book with prayers for the Eucharist, baptism, ordination, and other rites reflecting practice in Rome at the end of the second century”) is again from Wilken’s The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God (32-36). Although Wilken defends a Catholic conception of Christ’s re-sacrifice that […]

tame as canaries

When posting about the Bible as “a cornucopia of scenes and images” yesterday, this poem came to mind (much thanks to Christine Perrin for introducing it to my class and me). It recalls the burning bush as well as the tree of life, the great tree of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the prophet Daniel, and the mighty mustard […]

a cornucopia of scenes and images

Another one of “the most distinctive features of Christian intellectual life” is the influence of God’s word. However, Wilken stresses that the scriptures provided far more than an intellectual basis for the early church. Christian thinkers were not in the business of establishing something; their task was to understand and explain something. The desire to […]