Friday, October 13, 2006

Calling All Early Modern Scholars: Free Conference

I want to highlight another upcoming (free!) conference that may be of interest.

Our friend Crawford Gribben is co-hosting an inter-disciplinary conference next month on 10 November in Manchester entitled Teaching Religion in Early Modern Studies. The day will not focus on research per se but teaching strategies in early modern study. This is an ideal opportunity for those who anticipate teaching in this field.

Here is a description of the event:

This event, a collaboration between three Subject Centres (English; History, Classics & Archaeology; Philosophy and Religious Studies) will explore interdisciplinary perspectives in the teaching of early modern religion. Charting the spectrum of student commitments, the workshop will feature discussion on such topics as 'Secularism, fundamentalism and the teaching of early modern religion', 'Teaching the reformation', 'Teaching religious literature', 'Teaching theology and religious ideas' and 'Teaching religious institutions and communities'.

Participants will include Michael Brown, Brian Cummings, Alan Ford, Jeremy Gregory, Crawford Gribben, Graeme Murdock, Gerald Hammond, Sandra Hynes, Peter Marshall, Alex Walsham and Lucy Wooding.

For more information, click here. Once again, the conference is FREE of charge. So don't delay; you don't have to pay!

The Lone Conventicler

As many of you know, tomorrow is the Annual Meeting of the Christianity & History Forum at the Rutherford House here in Edinburgh. Our own Chris Ross will be presenting a paper with the intriguing title "Catholic Contemplation through a Puritan Grid.'

Regrettably, I know a couple of us are unable to attend. Will any readers or members of The Conventicle be going? Or will Chris be the lone conventicler?

Chris - if you're not putting the finishing touches on the paper - could you provide us less fortunate folk with a synopsis of your presentation?

Thanks brother for your humble example of scholarship that is 'unto the Lord.' All the best tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

American Gospel

This skirts just shy of our historical period but has some pertinence nonetheless. Darrell Bock has posted a short and helpful review of a new book by Jon Meacham: American Gospel: God, The Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. Here's part of what he said:
This book is one of the clearest and most interesting books I have read recently. Meacham takes us through a history of religion and the USA from the arrival of the pilgrims all the way to the present. The book is loaded with citations by the key players, in some cases several of them so the context of the citations is clear. In particular, Meacham focuses on the founding fathers who contributed to both the Declaration of Independence, where God is mentioned with various terms (from Creator to Nature's God) and the Constitution which does not mention him at all. The key idea of the book is that the US was designed to be a pluralistic state with no establishment of a particular religion or belief at its base, but with a respect for what Meacham calls "popular religion" which does and should have a role in our nation's public life ...
See the full review here at Bock's Blog.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Five Solas?

Dan Phillips from Team Pyro has raised an important and difficult question regarding the origin of the so-called five solas of the Reformation (a somewhat unusal and confusing pluralization of the Latin!). He asks, "Who first used the Sola's? What was the earliest documented use?"

While the truths expressed by the five solas were strongly defended by the Reformers, the formula as we know it most likely has recent origins.

In a review of Terry Johnson's excellent The Case for Traditional Protestantism, Chad B. van Dixhoorn, Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge University and Director of the Westminster Assembly Project, states the matter provocatively.

The popular delineation of these five solas is not a Reformation idea but a modern one. That is to say, if the Reformers were told to list their core doctrines they might as readily have spoken about salvation by the Holy Spirit alone in the church alone (Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology 23.1 [2005]: 119).

Likewise, several months ago at the reformation21 blog, our friends Derek Thomas (in Reformation "solas") and Phil Ryken (in The "Solas" as a Synthesis) gave similar answers.

This still does not answer the question as to who was the first to summarize the teaching of the Reformers in this way (perhaps James M. Boice and R. C. Sproul?). There is need for greater historical, theological reflection on this issue. Surely someone needs to set the record straight! Anyone up for the challange?


Books, Books, and More Books...

Justin Taylor tells how to get the newly edited, unabridged edition of John Owen's Overcoming Sin and Temptation for 40% off!

Monergism Books is also offering a reduced price for pre-ordering the Geneva Bible (1599 ed).

Monday, October 9, 2006

Muller: Reformation Prolegomena

In his discussion on the development of theological prolegomena in the early Reformation, Richard Muller makes the following four conclusions:

  • Early Protestant reflection upon theological prolegomena did not completely establish a uniform method for organizing a theological system.

  • Early Protestant reflection upon theological prolegomena does anticipate later developments by the Reformed orthodox.

  • Early Protestant reflection upon theological prolegomena provides ‘a useful gauge’ of the development of Reformed orthodoxy and its continuity with the Reformation.

  • The greatest contribution of the early Reformation to theological prolegomena was its reflection upon the problem of knowledge of God and human finitude and sin.
For more discussion, see my notes on PRRD I.96-108.


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