“With both feet firmly planted in mid-air, he takes off in several directions.” -- Moira Creede
"My grandmother once instructed me when I was quite young about how to clean a spot out of a textile. She said, “When you have a spot you have to remove, do not start by rubbing directly on the spot. Start out at the edge and work in from all around -- because if you rub on the spot, you will get the spot out and leave a ring around it. So you work from the outside in.” If I have a theological method, that is it: to walk around the question or the issue or the problem and see it as carefully as I can from several perspectives and then hope that the outcome is useful. Often it is, and often it is not." -- Joseph Sittler
Folks, it looks like the main site is going to have some downtime as we change servers and domain registry. We had hoped to avoid this, but it will only be a temporary service outage as the site is uploaded to the new hosting company and the domain registry changes hands.
Many thanks to David Scott and Roger Bottorff for helping us reach this point, and overseeing the transition!
(Thank you folks also, for your patience as we sort out any bugs that may come up from dumping 1997 code onto a new server.)
The ELCA has graciously hosted the Archives’ primary domain, http://www.josephsittler.org, since (I believe) the site went live some time in 1997. There are some perks to having a Presiding Bishop who is well up on his Sittleriana! In the time we’ve been with the ELCA, we’ve seen the site go from spare local capacity (with a Real Audio streaming server) to cloud-based hosting (with real MP3 files). But David Scott — our loyal web developer (in his spare capacity) through many rearrangements of the “chandelier” at Higgins Road HQ — has just informed us that they will have to divest themselves of their external hosting arrangements. (I have a hunch that this is what we call “reducing the attack surface.”)
What does this mean?
Well, of course, that we are to fear, love and trust God above all things! But also, that we’re looking into some alternative hosting arrangements for the main site. Hopefully, we’ll have as little down-time as possible, but in any case, we shouldn’t lose any of the data from the main site, and it isn’t hard to bootstrap somewhere else.
Just an FYI — thank you for your interest, as always, and thanks to the ELCA for many years of cooperation in keeping the Archives public!
Week 3 of Joe’s Lectures in Theological Method is done. It says something about the course that it has gone so far from Luther, to Calvin, to Schleiermacher, one week for each. And from what I can see, it goes on from here to Aulen (with detours into Pannenberg and Rahner), and thence on to Barth and Tillich. (Apparently also, at the end, back to Athanasius, though I don’t think I have that tape.) Along the way, so far, we’ve also touched Kierkegaard, and this week Bonhoeffer pretty heavily. Schleiermacher is here in the syllabus because “he belongs to the genetics by which you’re here at all.”
There’s a Barth quote key to this week, for all that Joe finds Tillich to be more directly Schleiermacher’s heir, to the effect that if you haven’t been seduced by Schleiermacher on these points, you may end up giving away your theological virginity too easily later on.
It’s been far too long since I digitized these, and when you’re multitasking, it becomes harder to devote sufficient time to the summary writing. So rather than let my guilt over that hold up the publication any longer, I’m just going to give them to you straight, no chaser, so we can get back to the game.
I came upon this at Jason Goroncy’s site, a man of reasonably impeccable taste. The linked post gives me no few reminders of Joe. I think he and Rowan Williams would have gotten along famously, for the love of poetry, literature, theology, and ecumenism. And if you don’t read Jason, or you want a faster way to the lecture he’s covering, you can find it here.
The recordings we have of the Lectures on Theological Method skip over session 5, which is also Calvin (but for which Joe was at Notre Dame), so today’s lesson is the second set of Friday class discussions, this week on Calvin. And since I’ve been doing what we call “summaries” for these recordings, I’m going to include the Summaries Document entry for today after the recording this week. Who knows, maybe it’ll catch on. ;)
More Luther/Calvin comparison today, as one might expect from a Lutheran teaching Calvin to Lutherans. Also quite a bit of Barth in this Calvin discussion. Quite a number of important pieces here for any discussion of creation.
Session VI, Friday, Oct. 11: Calvin, continued. 59 minutes. (1 tape, 2 copies) Prof. David also present today; Sittler presenting. “The Necessity of the Revelation” (book I, chapter 6) in the Institutes as a clear methodological section. Beginning with the Word of God, interpreting it as law. More Calvin vs. Luther. Calvin attempting to fill the authoritative role of the teaching office of the church in all the questions it answered, in its waning, with the Bible. [Skips in the recording throughout group discussions.] Calvin as pedagogical, not ontological, in his discussion of the nature of God – which is how he can go quite so long before he gets to Christ, who focuses the doctrine as mediator. Doing theology “from God through Christ to the Holy Spirit.” Discussion of Calvinist presuppositions in reading Christ into the Old Testament as misreading the Old Testament. Kierkegaard and The Concept of Dread; origin of evil – as Barth says, “das Nichtige” – in the freedom of being and its possibility for its own negation. Ontological dizziness and the “why not?” imagining the no as well as the yes. [Skip to whole class discussion.] A question about the natural (in)capacity for the good, and a reminder to keep in mind the questions and issues that Calvin is trying to answer. Calvin’s “massa perditionis” vs. Luther’s “tincture of sin in all that man does.” Whether man must be free to be faithful, or faithful to be free – the dialectical necessity of both. Repetition of Kierkegaard material. [Tape sides overlap with no lost material; recording ends before Sittler is done.]