Periodically, I teach a course that requires a quick introduction to the task of history. It is usually just a brief initiation to how history is done.
Past semesters I used this video.
The distinction between the past and history is often new to students and this video does a great job making this point. In addition, we get to talk about interpretation and others ideas such as causation.
I’m pleased to announce that The Biblical Accommodation Debate in Germany: Interpretation and the Enlightenment (Palgrave Macmillan: 2017), has been published.
Here is the back cover:
This book redresses a misunderstanding in the history of biblical interpretation. Hoon J. Lee provides the first study of the biblical accommodation debate of the Enlightenment. The heavily contested doctrine spurred numerous biblical scholars, theologians, and philosophers to debate the nature of divine revelation communicated through human words. As biblical accommodation was coupled with historical criticism, the participants in this literary debate fought over the authority, inspiration, and inerrancy of the Bible.
Examining the wide range of writing on the doctrine of accommodation, Lee surveys the Dutch discussion of accommodation that leads up to the German debate. In doing so, he provides the historical development of Augustinian and Socinian accommodation.
Fourth-century Christianity is perhaps best remembered for the Trinitarian controversies that flared with the rise of Arius early on and continued until the Council of Constantinople in 381. In the East, some of the key figures involved in that controversy were the Cappadocian Fathers—Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa. Lesser known is the life of Saint Macrina (ca. 327–379), the eldest sister of Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa, yet her faith influenced her brothers in profound ways. And her brother Gregory memorialized her in an account of her life, The Life of Saint Macrina, which offers readers today a portrait of female piety in the early church.
It is hard to imagine a single text more influential than the Confessions. Of course there is the Bible or the Declaration of Independence, but, Confessions rivals any text apart from divine revelation or nation forming documents.
Contributing to the allure of the Confessions is the autobiographical nature of the work. Not entirely an autobiography, the first half recounts Augustine’s life. Secondly, there is a diversity of disciplines which are attracted to the Confessions. One only has to look at Rousseau’s Confessions to witness these two factors.
These elements are also present in Augustine’s Confessions: Philosophy in Autobiography (Oxford, 2014; source: publisher). The perspective of these philosophers provides a welcome contribution to the study of Augustine’s Confessions.
As Hamann arranged for the publication of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (1781) with his publisher Johann Friedrich Hartknoch, it was his hope that Kant’s reading of Hume would lead Kant to the same conclusions as Hamann. In 1780, Hamann had begun a translation of Hume’s Dialogues and Natural History of Religion (1779), but due to a rival translation he gave up the project. Despite never completing the translation, Kant requested it in its partial form while writing his first Critique. However, to Hamann’s disappointment the Critique was not what he had expected.
After specifically requesting the proofs to be sent separately from Kant’s package, to avoid awkwardness, Hamann immediately read and reviewed the work. He finished his review on the first of July, several weeks before receiving a copy directly from Kant. Despite completing his review Hamann never published it on account of their friendship and Kant’s financial generosity towards his son’s education.
Religion and Politics has an interesting interview with Charles Marsh.
Charles Marsh is author of Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Here is my review of Strange Glory.
I found this biography on Bonhoeffer insightful. Marsh does well to show the development of Bonhoeffer’s theology, especially how Bonhoeffer’s time in America contributed to a shift in his theology.
However, Marsh’s description of Bonhoeffer’s friendship with Eberhard is troubling. Marsh pushes the relationship towards a romantic nature. I just do not see that in the letters of Bonhoeffer and Eberhard.
Strange Glory adds to the already existing biographies of Bonhoeffer, and some readings may prefer it over the others. Bethge’s Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Biography is still the standard, but Ferdinand Schlingensiepen’s Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945 is also a good one.
Over at The New Atlantis, Alan Jacobs posted a piece on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Technopoly. He takes Bonhoeffer’s message in “After Ten Years” (Letters and Papers from Prison, 3-17) and applies it to our current predicament with the dominance of technology. Rather then burying our heads in the sand, Bonhoeffer calls us to take responsibility and action. Drawing from Charles Marsh’s Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jacobs suggests that Bonhoeffer’s “After Ten Years” should be read as an address to all society and not just a private letter.
We’re two historians and graduates of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School who are interested in Christianity, theology, and history. We embrace an evangelical identity and value scholarly endeavors to deepen our understanding of the world in which we live.
In this blog, we hope to reflect aloud on the Christian past to help others think clearly about those who have preceded us and how they have shaped our world today. We believe that engaging the past offers beneficial perspective for the present and the future.
We invite you to join us in exploring church history.
~ David P. Barshinger and Hoon J. Lee