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Following Kristallnacht, Dietrich Bonhoeffer marked the date of the pogrom beside Psalm 74:8 in his personal Bible. This annotation has been frequently cited; however, though scholars have recognised historical implications of associating this psalm text with Kristallnacht, the discourse has yet to examine this annotation thoroughly in the context of Bonhoeffer's figural interpretation of the Psalms during this period. This article will establish the context of Bonhoeffer's figural approach to the Psalter in order to address this question: by connecting Psalm 74:8 with Kristallnacht, what theological claim might Bonhoeffer have been making about the events of November 1938?
The study examines the radicalisation experienced by one group of religious exiles in the middle of the sixteenth century. The English-speaking congregation in Geneva formed in 1555 produced a Bible, metrical psalter and order of worship that shaped the Anglophone Reformed tradition. Study of the congregation's output shows how watching the martyrdoms in England generated a dynamic anger and fresh interpretations of persecution, tyranny and resistance. Conveyed by the worship texts, this radical legacy passed into the identities of Reformed Protestants in the British Isles, the Atlantic world and subsequently across the globe.
Since at least the time of Albert Schweitzer's attempt to move justification from die Mitte to the margins, the question of the centre of Paul's theology has included a criticism of the Reformation's classification of justification as ‘the lord, ruler, and judge’ of theology. For the reformers, however, this designation is not so much a claim about the centrality of the vocabulary of justification as it is a claim about the grammar of the gospel: justification, because it is articulated as an antithesis, says both what the gospel is not and what the gospel is. With this understanding of the theological function of justification in view, the role of justification in Paul's letter to the Galatians can be reconsidered: the antithetical grammar of justification is a critical and hermeneutical criterion in Galatians, both identifying and negating the ‘other gospel’ even as it picks out and proclaims ‘the gospel of Christ’.
This article argues for the importance of attending to the subjective dynamics involved in retrieval of past theological traditions for contemporary purposes. Building on a close analysis of Martin Luther's distinction between the ‘substance’ of a thing and its ‘use’, the article makes a theological case for the importance of attending not just to what we retrieve from tradition, but also to how and why we retrieve it. Analysis of Luther's distinction suggests (1) that the meaning of theological claims remains unexpectedly fluid until such claims have been located within the ethical drama of ‘use’, and (2) that one of the best ways to get theological traction on the dynamics of ‘use’ is to attend to the affective economies in which theological reasoning is always located. It concludes by drawing attention to specific areas in contemporary ethics where new light can be shed through attention to the dynamics of ‘use’.
The question of Karl Barth's attitude towards universalism has been a topic of debate since his own day. By examining a twofold two-way determination of the actuality of world-history in Christo that Barth construes in the actualistic hamartiology of CD IV/3, §70, I will contend that he does not describe the prospect of the final condemnation of humankind as an empty threat, even though the whole of his theological witness to Christ clearly testifies to universal salvation. This dialectical aspect of Barth's actualistic hamartiology leads to an attitude towards the apokatastasis that George Hunsinger aptly describes as ‘reverent agnosticism’.
The study of Thomas Torrance is undergoing a revival, but has neglected to highlight one significant influence: the insights of the Scottish philosopher John Macmurray. This article focuses on three respects in which Torrance affirmed Macmurray's work: in overcoming dualism, in creating an integrated realist philosophy and in expounding the form of the personal. This study will bring to light Macmurray's contributions to Torrance's thought, surveying the works of Torrance to reveal where Macmurray contributed key epistemic and systemic points to Torrance's developing scientific theology. This brief summary intends to reveal both Torrance's overt acknowledgement of Macmurray and the need for more exploration of their connections in order to enrich the study of both scholars.