Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Post-secularity Revisited

A few years ago, I wasn't sure how "post-secular" visions were in any way really different from the repristination-of-the-pre-secular readings of movements like Milbank's "radical orthodoxy." But, having been pushed back into reading Carl Schmitt this morning, I have an idea of how I may actually be post-secular.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"I didn't expect a kind of Lutheran Reformation!"

"Nobody expects the Lutheran Reformation!

Our chief weapon is surprise. Surprise, and the gospel. (The gospel and surprise...) Our two weapons are the gospel and surprise, and vigorous disputation. Three! Our three weapons are the gospel, surprise and vigorous disputation, and an almost fanatical devotion to the real presence in the Eucharist. Four!

Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as the gospel, surprise, vigorous disputation, an almost fanatical devotion to the real presence in the Eucharist, and nice choral hymnody. Oh, damn!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Economic Platform

I've had an economic screed in me for some time, but lately it's been crystallizing into something usable. So, here we go, my economic platform for the United States of America. For what it's worth! Shoot what holes in it you can, but only after actually reading it. Real flaws, however stupid, are good. I am eager to learn and do better. Cheap shots, on the other hand, will be treated appropriately.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Listening and Text Criticism

Alright, so I've just handled the Alands and Metzger on text-critical criteria for judging among texts. But I've been doing my own work, of course, and a lot of it on internal criteria. Two posts have resulted directly, on the impact of orality and performance critical concerns on understanding grammar and syntax. And in the first of those, I basically asked the question, "what are the rules here?" So, what have I been doing?

Criteria in "Lower" Criticism

So I've been doing a lot of my own text-critical work lately, and it behooves me to go back and check my method. It has, after all, changed a bit over the course of making decisions—even over just three chapters of Hebrews, not to mention the time I've been playing with scriptural texts and manuscripts, period.

So today I'm going to meditate a bit on the text-critical criteria and rules of Bruce Metzger and Kurt and Barbara Aland. Two great and very important books, both entitled "The Text of the New Testament," and both deeply relevant to the state of contemporary text-critical scholarship in the New Testament. If you've used the Nestle-Aland or UBS Greek texts, you owe your textual basis to these folks and their colleagues—and their critical judgments.

(The Hebrew scriptures are another mess entirely, with no longstanding tradition of eclectic critical texts, because that canon has no such broad and varied basis of manuscript evidence available. The BHQ is not seriously changing this status quo, though it enlightens the variant situation considerably since BHS. But then, the Masoretic Text is not analogous to the text of the Byzantine majority, either.)

It's important to understand the principles with which one makes decisions between textual variants among the manuscripts. You'll have principles, even if you don't set them out and understand them solidly, and naive principles, once they solidify into bad habits, can be an intractable mess to sort out. These, at least, are time-tested good ideas, and they have a good bit of humility and self-criticism built in, because they understand the nature of the object.