Here’s a new way I’m thinking of for developing the faculty seminar on Christian humanism I’m doing for my friend the Think Tank Director. I like this one better than the more chronological one shared earlier. I’ll share this in a couple of chunks because I went a little crazy with editorializing on it.
This reworking suggests that we use the seminar to explore the hypothesis that Christian humanism has found ways to keep together key dyads: divine-human, faith-reason, virtue-grace, heavenly-earthly, reason-imagination (or truth-beauty). And that the REASON the tradition has been able to do that is its strong grounding in the Incarnation.* We could look at each of those dyads through readings across the different periods, in a way that could attend to historic development without bogging down in the chronology/history.
* Arguably it’s not just the Incarnation but the almost shocking organic unity of the God-human relationship in early soteriology that grounds this whole thing: that is, the theosis understanding of salvation. But interestingly, both Luther and Calvin were similarly quite mystical and organic about the human-God relationship – there are great readings from both that show this.
NOTE: Stupid WordPress has no idea how to deal with the automatic numbering in MS Word, and I don’t have time to go in and change it. So please ignore the plethora of “1s” in the following!
Boethius imprisoned (from 1385 manuscript of the Consolation) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A while back I gave, at the Madison, Wisconsin C S Lewis Society’s conference, sponsored by the Bradshaw-Knight Foundation, a much fuller version of the take on Lewis’s “Boethianism” than the one I had originally tried out on the Medieval Congress CSL crowd at Kalamazoo. Here’s the Madison paper.
There’s more here on Boethius’s philosophical influence on Lewis, as well as a refinement on the ways in which Boethius seems to have influenced Lewis vocationally. I did, however, truncate the end from what I had prepared to give. I’ll add my original pre-conclusion ending, which reflects on fortune and eudaimonism using Lewis’s last published essay, “We have no ‘right to happiness,'” after the paper proper.
Probably the author who influenced me most in my expansion of the Kzoo paper was Adam Barkman. Serendipitously, I discovered a few days before the conference that he was to give the paper right after me. It was an honor to get to know him and hang out with him at the conference. Everyone interested in Lewis and philosophy, or really, everyone seriously interested in Lewis from any perspective, needs to buy Adam’s book, C. S. Lewis and Philosophy as a Way of Life.
“Lewis the Boethian,” paper for Bradshaw-Knight CSL conference Oct. 2012, Madison, Wisconsin
Copyright 2012 by Chris R. Armstrong. THIS PAPER IS DISTRIBUTED WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THOSE READING IT WILL NOT CITE OR QUOTE IT WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR.
He was a philosopher first, and then a master of literature, with his Christianity informing both. Continue reading →
Here is a brief summary and commentary on the sixth lecture of Nicolaus Ludwig Count von Zinzendorf, Bishop of the Church of the Moravian Brethren, from Nine Public Lectures on Important Subjects in Religion, preached in Fetter Lane Chapel in London in the Year 1746. Translated and Edited by George W. Forell, Iowa City, University of Iowa Press, 1973.
Again, this was from early in my graduate experience, 1994-1995, in Dr. Richard Lovelace’s class on the Pietist Renewal at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Lecture VI–That It Is Blessedness and Happiness to Be a Human Soul
‘In the sixth it is clearly proved that being a human soul is in and of itself a blessing for which one can never thank his Creator enough.’ (xxxii)
Text: John 1:11-12 ‘He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.’
[NOTE: are we here to find that stress on adoption that Packer finds so woefully missing from much of historical theology? In a non-theologian? Perhaps this is not so surprising, if it is true. Certainly, Zinzendorf appears to dwell on the fringes of, if not within, a lively sense of the overmastering wonder of adoption!] Continue reading →
Here is a brief summary and commentary on the fifth lecture of Nicolaus Ludwig Count von Zinzendorf, Bishop of the Church of the Moravian Brethren, from Nine Public Lectures on Important Subjects in Religion, preached in Fetter Lane Chapel in London in the Year 1746. Translated and Edited by George W. Forell, Iowa City, University of Iowa Press, 1973.
Again, this was from early in my graduate experience, from 94-95, in Dr. Richard Lovelace’s class on the Pietist Renewal at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Lecture V–That Aspect of Faith Which Actually Makes One So Blessedly Happy
‘In the fifth, I have spoken of the main point which makes a believer blessedly happy [selig].’ (xxxii)
Text: I Cor 13:2 alt [Last phrase is end of 3rd verse.] ‘And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I gain nothing.’ Continue reading →
For the complete story of the mill and brewery operator, mother of 14, and “lay mystic” Margery Kempe (1373 – 1438), see my Patron Saints for Postmodernsor the fascinating website “Mapping Margery Kempe.” Why should we care about Margery? Lots of reasons, but here are a couple that particularly struck me, excerpted from the chapter on Margery in Patron Saints:
God in Flesh and Bone
At the start of the chapter I made a connection between Margery and
Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. What was it about Gibson’s
movie that has galvanized so many modern (or if you like, postmodern)
Western Protestants? After all, of representations of Christ’s life there
has been no end. Why did this one, in particular, speak so deeply to so
many? I think there are two answers to this question, and that both of
them can help us understand and benefit from the life of this odd English
mystic, Margery Kempe. Continue reading →
This blog contains over 720 posts as of Oct 2020 (also over 518,000 views from 210,000 unique visitors since inception in June 2010). If you read something you like, odds are there are at least one or two other posts dealing with similar topics. Which is why there’s a search box right below this message. :)