An essay by Prof Mark A. Noll of Wheaton College in the collection Religion and the American Civil War (Oxford, 1998) outlines the place of the Bible in the American debate on slavery during the years leading up to the Civil War. Noll identifies the dominant view of the Bible on both side of the debate as “Reformed literalist.” Given that view of the Bible, the proslavery side seemed to have the upper hand. The Abolitionists were willing to move toward a “spirit not letter” type of interpretation, but all the orthodox saw this approach as a trajectory toward liberalism. Noll knows that “proslavery” — his term — is wrong, though a high view of the Bible is right; so he explores what might have gone wrong. He examines four alternative hermeneutical traditions that could have led to a different conclusion on slavery, while still holding to a high view of the Bible:(1) the “African American” way of reading the Bible; (2) the Roman Catholic; (3) High-church Lutheranism or Reformed; (4) the non-Southern Reformed, especially Charles Hodge. Only the last named of these had enough of a foothold in America to temper the discussion, but it fell short because of a root inconsistency in the American outlook which compromised the profession of sola scriptura and led to failure to draw a key distinction that would have unraveled the proslavery argument. Continue reading
The following is the first installment of an article on the philosophy of Gottlob Frege. Students of philosophy may find here something of interest.
The Unanswered Question – Six Talks at Harvard by Leonard Bernstein (1976) is a series on music appreciation that Leonard Bernstein delivered Continue reading
The greatest opera ever! Continue reading
I have prepared a chart showing the Romanov succession of czars, along with the preceding century, in a way that is proportional to elapsed time, and with a few noteworthy parallel events in history indicated. Go here. (May be helpful while reading the Solzhenitsyn selections.)
Eliza asked for a practical discussion of agrarianism Continue reading
Berlin was the city that anchored the start and end of my trip.
Now before getting to the question that is at the forefront of everyone’s thinking, namely: what were the women like? (and rightly so: Continue reading
First, let’s lay out the landscape of the phenomenology of Halloween as it is experienced in America. Then, let’s analyze its propriety. There are two axes of analysis that I will highlight. Continue reading
My colleague will be back… I’m quite sure. But here, we can see the basic problem. Continue reading
Paul Schneider was a German Reformed minister whose early ministry coincided with the ascendancy of the National Socialist movement in the 1930s. His critique of the folk’s movement in view of the Word of God as well as a series of stands for the independent rights of the church vis-à-vis the state led to continual conflicts with Party functionaries, and penalties of increasing severity. At length, the conflict culminated in consignment to the concentration camp at Buchenwald, where his life ended. Continue reading
Everyone expects me to say “Predestination” or something. But that’s so far down the list that I’ll forget to even mention it.
There are three things that prevent me from becoming a Methodist. Continue reading
A. J. Ayer’s view of ethical judgments, often dubbed “emotivism,” is that ethical statements are neither true nor false and therefore are without significance. Behind this stance is his empiricism. In order for a statement to be meaningful, it must lend itself to some sort of verification. Without any possible means of verification statements fail to have to express anything. But Ayer does distinguish ethical judgment from other meaningless talk such that of speculative metaphysics or theology in that the former have at least a semblance of meaning since they display the attitude of the speaker toward certain types of actions. When one says, for example, “treason is wicked,” he is, on Ayers view, not uttering a statement with any cognitive content, but is, displaying his strong disapproval of treasonous behavior. Continue reading
Perhaps the title is something of a stretch, but Wittgenstein does make numerous comments that fit within an agrarian outlook. Along with his distrust of science, his attitude towards culture, aesthetics, tradition, religion and life share much in common with Virgil, the Old South, the Inklings, the Vanderbilt agrarians, and to a certain extent, Jefferson. Continue reading
Not to be confused with another movie with the same title, this is a documentary about the Battle of Stalingrad which was fought between the German and Soviet armies during the fall and winter of 1942-43. Before making a few comments, a little background about the battle may be helpful. Continue reading
Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies
One of the few benefits of living in an era of insanity is that it makes the peddlers of the most prosaic and obvious truths appear like sages. The banality I will defend here is that almost every stereotype you have ever heard is true. Continue reading
The British were willing to negotiate with Napoleon, and in August 1806 made generous concessions, only asking for unmolested control of Hannover; Talleyrand favored the agreement, but Napoleon nixed it. Continue reading
The book entitled The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God expounds Gordon H. Clark’s view of science. The book proceeds by historical survey, and the three chapter divisions divide the history into the ancients, the Newtonians, and the 20th century. Roughly speaking, this corresponds to views of science that we could call rationalist, empirical-determinist, and empirical-indeterminist. Each of these is shown to come up short of the standard Clark has set for what science needs to accomplish Continue reading
Utilitarianism is famous for its many flaws (e.g. committing the naturalistic fallacy, positing a simplistic psychological theory, failing to come to terms with ethical distinctions). All these, and more, have been dealt with extensively elsewhere. Here I merely wish to show that if one of J. S. Mill’s arguments succeeds, then Utilitarianism fails. Continue reading
Two statements are often heard, to justify ongoing massive immigration. One hears them spoken by everyone from talking heads to politicians to folks chatting at backyard barbecues. They are meant to “end the argument.” But I submit, they are not valid. Continue reading
This article by Gresham Machen is must-read; as timely today as it was in 1936. I have seen almost all these same tricks used at every level, including congregational meetings.
There is nothing more wicked than cloaking power-religion with the form of godliness.
The return from Lutheran bare orthodoxy to inward change, known as Pietism, was begun by Jakob Spener, though anticipated in the earlier writings of Johann Arndt. It grew wings, however, as a result of the life of August Hermann Francke (1663-1727), and transformed the city of Halle in remarkable ways. This is a brief rehearsal of this amazing story. Continue reading
One of our correspondents raised a question about the ethics of nudity in movies in connection with a remark I made in reviewing Dreamlife of Angels. In trying to pen some preliminary thoughts, I soon realized that the topic deserved a thread of its own, both because more needs to be said than is appropriate in a little â€œcommentâ€ box, and also to provide a better stage for our readers to offer additional suggestions on how to address this topic. Here are a few random thoughts to prime the pump: Continue reading
Roger Williams, because of his views of freedom of conscience and Continue reading
My point in this endeavor is not to give a full exposition of either Mormonism or Wagner’s Ring cycle, but simply to compare and contrast Mormonism’s Jehove and Wagner’s Wotan for the purpose of reflecting on whether love for the story of Wotan is rational. Continue reading
Jena (pron. YAY nuh) is a quiet little town on the Saale River. The Saale forms the left segment that, with the Elbe, defines the triangle in which the Saxons finally Continue reading
Whenever I meet a Baptist or other Independent in a context where Continue reading