Allegory and the Old Testament

It is safe to say that the allegorical method has fallen upon hard times in the scholarly world. What was once considered a discovery of the deeper meaning of the Old Testament text is now almost universally derided in the academic halls as the arbitrary and perhaps even perverse ingenuity of commentators with altogether too much time on their hands. To quote but one scholar’s evaluation of the method (as used for…

Why We Need a God of Wrath

Every age faces the temptation to remake the true God in its own image—or in other words, the temptation to idolatry. The brutal ages of barbarian northern Europe tended to refashion God into a kind of Christian Viking, a warrior God, one who disdained weakness, a God who did not allow Himself meekly to be nailed to a cross, but who boldly mounted the wood Himself. The same area of Europe much…

First Light

When Mary of Nazareth first emerged from her mother as a newborn infant and uttered her first newborn cries, few then present could have had any inkling what that child would mean to human history. After an extended period of infertility and difficulty in conceiving, of course her parents were delighted—even if the child was a girl and not a boy. The social stigma of childlessness had been removed, and there was…

A Tiny Footnote to a Big Debate

Just to be clear: I am no fan of the Filioque—i.e. I believe that the insertion of the words “and from the Son” into the Latin version of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 325/ 381 was a mistake and that the insertion should be excised wherever it is found. The original of the Creed proclaimed the full divinity of the Holy Spirit against those who denied it. Though it stopped just short of…

Part Four: Not Like Religion – Clean and Unclean

In his final post of this series (the first three may be viewed here, here, and here) we will look at the category of clean versus unclean in the Christian Faith, and its difference from the use of that category in religion. The category of “clean versus unclean” is basic to religion. St. Paul refers to such a category as one of the stoicheia, the basic building blocks of religion (Galatians 4:3,…

Part Three: Not Like Religion – Christian Sacred Space

In previous posts in this series (accessed here and here) we looked at the difference between the Christian Faith and all the other religions, and suggested that the main difference lay in the fact that Christianity was not a religion, but rather the saving presence of Christ in the world, and through His Spirit, our participation in the powers of the age to come. We Christians share certain external similarities with the…