Thursday, June 17, 2010

Progress on several fronts

Thesis: This afternoon I have a supervisor meeting. Hoping it goes well and I get some encouragement. I am now speculating that I could have a draft by the end of July. That would be excellent.

I have finally finished reading Weinandy's "Does God Suffer?", and will put up a few more posts about that in the next week or so. There is a lot of really good theologising in there.

I've also finally (and it's taken far longer!) read through the second volume of Hans Oerberg's Lingua Latina, "Roma Aeterna". Towards the end there were things I wasn't really making sense of. Reading Latin is in some ways harder than reading Greek, I think. Anyway, I will lay it aside and read some Vergil for awhile.

My Patristic reading schedule is currently Augustine's Confessions (manageable), and Ignatius' Letters (excruciating). I'm not particularly fond of Ignatius. His desire for martyrdom is, in my opinion, psychologically warped and not in line with the NT presentation of martyrdom. This morning I was reading his letter to the Romans, ch 5, and he is just out of control!

Lastly, I'm getting close to finishing Bentley-Hart's "Atheist Delusions". It's an excellent read. I'll try and post some thoughts on it once I'm done. It's good enough that I'm thinking of breaking budget to buy a copy for the years to come.

Also, I've stuffed-up my home laptop, which is why the Latin diary entries over at cotidie have dried up. Hope to get back into that practice soon. I did manage to sit in a seminar the other day and take my notes in Latin. Would like to get my Greek up to that point too.

Okay, back to work.


Anonymous said...

Ahh, I love Ignatius! I'm actually in the process of writing a defense of Ignatius' views on martyrdom. Perhaps I need to bounce some ideas off of you ;-).

Seumas Macdonald said...

Sure, would love to hear some ideas on Ignatius. My dislike for Ignatius doesn't by any means preclude a real desire to understand him.

Anonymous said...

I'll definitely admit that he's difficult at first. I'm basically arguing that he picks up on Pauline themes that we (modern western protestants) tend to miss. The 'participatory' reading of Paul that is coming into vogue is helpful here. For Ignatius, martyrdom is the supreme way to "share in the sufferings of Christ" (Phil 3, 2 Corinthians, etc.)

Also, it's helpful to note that he's writing in a rhetorical milieu (Asianism) that loves "wordplay, emotional effect, and bombast." That starts to explain things like "I will be ground up by the beasts," etc.

After chasing those two threads for a while, I'd argue that Ignatius ends up squarely in line with the NT, though T.F. Torrance would castigate me for writing that ;-).

Seumas Macdonald said...

Happy to grant that I'm not well accustomed to Asianistic styles of rhetoric, and that could lead me to over-read some of what Ignatius is saying. Nonetheless, what I hear Ignatius saying again and again is, "when I die as a martyr, then I will truly be found to be a disciple, I will truly find Christ", and so his appeals to the churches not to interfere are driven by a martyr-complex that is self-directed. So in Pros Romaious 5 he goes so far to say that he will goad and even force the wild beasts to devour him.

The point of real tension with the NT, for me, is that the NT sees suffering-as-martyrdom to be the result of the external agency of persecution, which follows on from discipleship of Jesus. One can expect persecution, but one can't or at least shouldn't generate or seek it. Ignatius seems to flip both categories: martyrdom is the result of his own agency to which external persecution is instrumental, and in fact forms the basis of discipleship rather than the external consequence of faithful discipleship.