Monday, January 11, 2016

Thomas Brooks on being a better, not a hasty, reader

 "Remember that it is not hasty reading,
 but serious meditation on holy and heavenly truths,
 that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul.
 It is not the mere touching of the flower by the bee that gathers
 honey, but her abiding for a time on the flower that draws out the  sweet.
 It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most, that will
 prove to be the choicest, sweetest, wisest, and strongest Christian."
- Thomas Brooks (1608-1680)

Monday, February 16, 2015

John "Rabbi" Duncan's taxonomy

"I am first a Christian, next a catholic, then a Calvinist, fourth a paedobaptist, and fifth a Presbyterian. I cannot reverse this order." 
- John "Rabbi" Duncan (1796-1870)

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Atheist Julian Barnes on the modern fad of "my own personal idea of God"


Atheist Julian Barnes on the modern fad of "my own personal idea of God":
A common response in surveys of religious attitudes is to say something like, “I don’t go to church, but I have my own personal idea of God.” This kind of statement makes me in turn react like a philosopher. Soppy, I cry.

You may have your own personal idea of God, but does God have His own personal idea of you? Because that’s what matters.

Whether’s He’s an old man with a white beard sitting in the sky, or a life force, or a disinterested prime mover, or a clockmaker, or a woman, or a nebulous moral force, or Nothing At All, what counts is what He, She, It, or Nothing thinks of you rather than you of them.

The notion of redefining the deity into something that works for you is grotesque.

Friday, September 12, 2014

If Brad Pitt wants to make a movie, it will be made

From an article about the film "Moneyball" in Sports Illustrated (September 26, 2011, page 46):

"As long as Brad Pitt wanted to make this movie, it was going to get made."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ferris Bueller - Prophet?

It seems that Ferris Bueller was a prophet, speaking of many Camerons in our day:

Cameron has never been in love - at least, nobody's ever been in love with him. If things don't change for him, he's gonna marry the first girl he lays, and she's gonna treat him like shit, because she will have given him what he has built up in his mind as the end-all, be-all of human existence. She won't respect him, 'cause you can't respect somebody who kisses your ass. It just doesn't work.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Marx on Religion as the opium of the people

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.

(Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right)

It is interesting now living in an age where we have been for the most part freed of the trappings of "religion", where religious believers are demonized as ignorant bigots, yet there seems to be so little true happiness. I wonder how Marx thinks that, once freed from religion, there can be any happiness in a "heartless" world?

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A Complete Classical Christian School Reading List: Grades 1-8 [Via Justin Taylor]

I've copied and pasted this whole list, since it is so handy, from the following link: 


There are hundreds of thousands of books written for children. The challenge is discerning what is best for them to read, given so many options. I’m a sucker for good reading lists, so I’m grateful for the folks at Calvary Classical School—a classical Christian school in Hampton, Virginai, who have given me permission to reproduce this list below.

For outside reading, the books are divided into three levels. Books with a “+” denote that any title in that series would be acceptable.
I’ve done my best to link to the paperback or cheapest version at Amazon. I hope this proves helpful for a lot of parents and teachers!

First Grade Reading List
Read aloud by teacher in class:
Leaf, Munro. How to Behave and Why
Leaf, Munro. How to Speak Politely and Why
Lloyd-Jones, Sally. The Jesus Storybook Bible
Taylor, Helen. Little Pilgrim’s Progress
Leithart, Peter. Wise Words: Family Stories that Bring the Proverbs to Life
Brown, Jeff. Flat Stanley
Dalgliesh, Alice. The Courage of Sarah Noble
Silverstein, Shel. A Light in the Attic
Outside Reading
Level 1
Bulla, Clyde. Daniel’s Duck
Changler, Edna. Cowboy Sam +
Frasconi, Antonio. The House that Jack Built
Graham, Margaret. Benjy’s Dog House +
Hoff, Syd. Sammy the Seal
Hoff, Syd. Danny and the Dinosaur+
Krauss, Ruth. The Carrot Seed
Lionni, Leo. Inch by Inch
Littledale, Freya. The Magic Fish
Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Are Friends +
Offen, Hilda. A Treasury of Mother Goose
Seuss, Dr. Beginner Books +
Seuss, Dr. Bright and Early Books +
Tabak, Simms. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
Wood, Audrey. Quick as a Cricket
Level 2
Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar +
Davoll, Barbara. The Potluck Supper +
Daugherty, James. Andy and the Lion
Duvoisin, Roger. Petunia
Flack, Marjorie. Angus and the Ducks
Freeman, Don. Corduroy +
Galdone, Paul. The Little Red Hen
Galdone, Paul. The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Hoban, Russell. Bedtime for Frances +
Hunt, Angela. A Gift for Grandpa
Keats, Ezra. Peter’s Chair
Marshall, James. George and Martha +
McGovern, Ann. Stone Soup
Minarik, Else. Little Bear +
Numeroff, Laura. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie+
Parish, Peggy. Amelia Bedelia +
Rey, Margaret & H.A. Curious George +
Richardson, Arleta. A Day at the Fair
Sharmat, Marjorie. Nate the Great +
Zion, Gene. Harry the Dirty Dog +
Level 3
Buckley, Helen. Grandmother and I
Burton, Virginia. Maybelle the Cable Car
Coerr, Eleanor. The Josefina Story Quilt
De Regniers, Beatrice. May I Bring a Friend?
Ets, Marie. Just Me
Gramatky, Hardie. Little Toot +
Hader, Berta. The Big Snow
Keats, Ezra. Whistle for Willie
Lewis, Kim. Floss +
Lowry, Jannette. The Poky Little Puppy
McCloskey, Robert. Make Way for Ducklings
Piper, Watty. The Little Engine that Could
Potter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit +
Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are
Turkle, Brinton. Thy Friend, Obadiah +
Ward, Lynd. The Biggest Bear
Wilder, Laura. My First Little House Books +
Williams, Vera. A Chair for My Mother

Second Grade Reading List
Read in class or assigned for outside reading:
Andersen, Hans C. The Emperor’s New Clothes
Brown, Marcia. Dick Whittington and His Cat
Burton, Virginia. The Little House
Burton, Virginia. Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel
Cauley, Lorinda. The Ugly Duckling
Cleary, Beverly. The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Cleary, Beverly. Ribsy
Dalgliesh, Alice. The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
Lewis, C. S. The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe
McCloskey, Robert. Time of Wonder
Steig, William. Doctor De Soto
Warner, Gertrude. The Box-Car Children (vol. 1)
Williams, Marjorie. The Velveteen Rabbit
Outside Reading
Level 1
Cannon, Janell. Stellaluna
Galdone, Paul. The Gingerbread Boy
Galdone, Paul. The Three Bears
Galdone, Paul. The Three Little Pigs
Kessel, Joyce. Squanto and the First Thanksgiving
Roop, Peter and Connie. Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie
Slobodkina, Esphyr. Caps for Sale
Yolen, Jane. Owl Moon
Level 2
Anderson, C. W. Billy and Blaze +
Bemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline +
Bontemps, Arna & Conroy Jack. The Fast Sooner Hound
Calhoun, Mary. Cross-Country Cat
DeBrunhoff, Jean. Babar +
Flack, Marjorie. The Story about Ping
Gag, Wanda. Millions of Cats
Gauch, Patricia. Thunder at Gettysburg
Haywood, Carolyn. Betsy & Billy +
Hope, Laura Lee. The Bobbsey Twins +
Leaf, Munro. The Story of Ferdinand
Loveless, Maude. Betsy-Tacy +
Milne, A. A. When We Were Young
Milne, A. A. Now We are Six
Politi, Leo. Song of the Swallows
Steig, William. Doctor De Soto Goes to Africa
Taha, Karen. A Gift for Tia Rosa
Warner, Gertrude. The Boxcar Children +
Ziefert, Harriet. A New Coat for Anna
Level 3
Aardemas, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears
Harness, Cheryl. Three Young Pilgrims
Le Gallienne, Eva. Seven Tales by H. C. Andersen
McCloskey, Robert. Blueberries for Sal
McCloskey, Robert. One Morning in Maine
McCloskey, Robert. Lentil
Mowat, Farley. Owls in the Family
Nesbit, E. The Railway Children +
Sobol, Donald. Secret Agents Four
Sproul, R. C. The King Without a Shadow
West, Jerry. The Happy Hollisters +
Williams, Jay. Danny Dunn +

Third Grade Literature List
Read in class or assigned for outside reading:
Atwater, Richard. Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Barrie, James. Peter Pan
Farley, Walter. The Black Stallion
Fleischman, Sid. The Whipping Boy
Gannett, Ruth. My Father’s Dragon
Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows (Scholastic Jr. Classic)
Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book (Scholastic Jr. Classic)
Lewis, C. S. The Horse and His Boy
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Stories (Scholastic Jr. Classic)
White, E. B. Charlotte’s Web
White, E. B. Stuart Little
Winterfeld, Henry. Detectives in Togas
Outside Reading
Level 1
Bulla, Clyde. A Lion to Guard Us
Bulla, Clyde. Shoeshine Girl
Cleary, Beverly. Henry Huggins +
Dalgliesh, Alice. The Courage of Sarah Noble
Gardiner, John. Stone Fox
Hall, Donald. Ox-Cart Man
Kellogg, Steven. Paul Bunyan
MacGregor, Ellen. Miss Pickerell +
MacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall +
McSwigan, Marie. Snow Treasure
Scieszka, Jon. The Time Warp Trio: Sam Samurai
Sobol, Donald. Encyclopedia Brown Series +
Stanley, Diane. The True Adventure of Daniel Hall
Warner, Gertrude. The Box-Car Children (excluding vol. 1) +
Level 2
Collodi C. Pinocchio
Edmonds, Walter. The Matchlock Gun
Henry, Marguerite. Misty of Chincoteague
Herriot, James. James Herriot’s Treasury
Hope, Laura Lee. The Bobbsey Twins +
Hurwitz, Johanna. Aldo Applesauce
Lindgren, Astrid. Pippi Longstocking +
Milne, A. A. Winnie the Pooh
Nesbit, E. The Railway Children +
Richardson, Arleta. In Grandma’s Attic +
Roddy, Lee. Family Adventures +
Rupp, Rebecca. Dragon of Lonely Island
Wilder, Laura. Little House on the Prairie +
Level 3
Bailey, Carolyn. Miss Hickory
Bond, Michael. Paddington +
Butterworth, Oliver. The Enormous Egg
Cleary, Beverly. Ramona +
D’Aulaire, I. E. Benjamin Franklin +
Estes, Eleanor. The Moffats
Fritz, Jean. The Cabin Faced West
Holling, H. C. Paddle-to-the-Sea +
Jackson, Dave & Neta. Trailblazer Series +
Kipling, Rudyard. Just So Stories
Lawson, Robert. Rabbit Hill
McCloskey, Robert. Homer Price
Nesbit, E. The Story of the Treasure Seekers
Peretti, Frank. The Door in the Dragon’s Throat
Reece, Colleen. American Adventure Series +
Streatfeild, Noel. Ballet Shoes

Fourth Grade Literature List
Read in class or assigned for outside reading:
Blackwood, Gary. The Shakespeare Stealer
Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
D’Aulaire, Ingri & Edgar. Leif the Lucky
Daugherty, James. The Magna Charta
de Angeli, Marguerite. The Door in the Wall
Du Bois, William Pene. Twenty-one Balloons
Estes, Eleanor. Ginger Pye
Henry, Marguerite. King of the Wind
Green, Roger Lancelyn. King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table
Konigsburg, E. L. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basel E. Frankweiler
Lewis, C. S. Prince Caspian
Norton, Mary. The Borrowers
Prum, Deborah M. Rats, Bulls, and Flying Machines
Rebsamen, Frederick. Beowulf
Sis, Peter. Starry Messenger: Galileo
Stanley, Diane and Peter Vennema. Bard of Avon
Stanley, Diane. Joan of Arc
Vernon, Louise A. Thunderstorm in the Church
White, E. B. The Trumpet of the Swan
Level 1
Alexander, Lloyd. The Book of Three +
Armstrong, William. Sounder
Babbitt, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting
Burnett, Frances H. A Little Princess
Carlson, Natalie. The Family Under the Bridge
Estes, Eleanor. The Hundred Dresses
Knight, Eric. Lassie Come-Home
L’Engle, Madeliene. A Wrinkle in Time +
Lenski, Lois. Prairie School +
Lenski, Lois. Strawberry Girl
Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars
McSwigan, Marie. Snow Treasure
Seredy, Kate. The Good Master
Speare, Elizabeth. The Sign of the Beaver
Taylor, Sydney. All-of-A-Kind Family
Thurber, James. Many Moons
Verne, Jules. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Wilson, N. D. 100 Cupboards +

Level 2
Farley, Walter. The Black Stallion +
Funke, Cornellia. Inkheart +
George, Jean C. My Side of the Mountain
Grahame, Kenneth. The Reluctant Dragon
Hanes, Mari. Two Mighty Rivers
Jacques, Brian. Redwall +
Lofting, Hugh. The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle +
Morey, Walt. Gentle Ben
Peretti, Frank. The Cooper Kids Adventure +
Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief +
Smith, Dodie. The 101 Dalmations
Street, James. Good-bye My Lady
Travers, P. I. Mary Poppins +
Wilson, N. D. Leepike Ridge
Level 3
Adamson, Joy. Born Free
Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women +
Burnford, Sheila. The Incredible Journey
Field, Rachel. Calico Bush
Lawson, Robert. Ben and Me
Robertson, Keith. Henry Reed, Inc. +
Robinson, Barbara. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty
Sidney, Margaret. Five Little Peppers +

Fifth Grade Literature List
Read in class or assigned for outside reading:
Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe
Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain
Lathan, Jean. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
Lewis, C. S. The Silver Chair
Lewis, C. S. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Speare, Elizabeth. The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels (excerpts)
Level 1
Beatty, Patricia. Turn Homeward, Hannalee
Brink, Carol. Caddie Woodlawn
Byars, Betsy. The Summer of the Swans
Cleary, Beverly. Dear Mr. Henshaw
De Jong, Meindert. The Wheel on the School
Enright, Elizabeth. Thimble Summer
Gates, Doris. Blue Willow
Gipson, Fred. Old Yeller
Hanes Mari. Two Mighty Rivers
O’Brien, Robert. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Rawls, Wilson. Where the Red Fern Grows
Selden, George. The Cricket in Times Square
Level 2
Cameron, Eleanor. Mushroom Planet +
De Jong, Meindert. The House of Sixty Fathers
George, Jean Craighead. Julie of the Wolves
Montgomery, Lucy. Anne of Green Gables
O’Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphin
Pearce, Philippa. Tom’s Midnight Garden
Porter, Eleanor. Pollyanna +
Rawks, Wilson. Summer of the Monkeys
Spyri, Johanna. Heidi
Wyss, Johann. Swiss Family Robinson

Level 3
Alcott, Louisa. Little Men
Burnett, Frances. Little Lord Fauntleroy
De Jong, Meindert. Journey from Peppermint Street
Dodge, Mary. Hans Brinker
Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows
MacDonald, George. The Princess and Curdie
MacDonald, George. The Princess and the Goblin
North, Sterling. Rascal
Seredy, Kate. The White S?tag
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island
Terhune, Albert. Lad: A Dog
Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit
Verne, Jules. Around the World in Eighty Days
Verne, Jules. Journey to the Center of the Earth

Sixth Grade Reading List
A couple of notes on the nomenclature below: “+” indicates that any title in that series would be acceptable.
Some titles also contain a label:
  • L – Language
  • V – Violence
  • C – Coarse actions
  • M – Mature theme
Read in class or assigned for outside reading:
Adams, Richard. Watership Down
Bishop, Claire. Twenty and Ten
Crane, Stephen. The Red Badge of Courage
Doyle, Arthur Conan. Sherlock Holmes (excerpts)
Lewis, C. S. The Magician’s Nephew
Lewis, C. S. The Last Battle
Orwell, George. Animal Farm
ten Boom, Corrie. The Hiding Place
Level 1
Alexander, Lloyd. The Prydain Chronicles +
Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles
Kjelgaard, James. Big Red +
Lester, Julius. The Tales of Uncle Remus
Rawlings, Marjorie. The Yearling
Sorensen, Virginia. Miracles on Maple Hill
Speare, Elizabeth. The Bronze Bow
Van Leeuwen, Jean. Bound for Oregon
Level 2
Baum, Frank L. The Wizard of Oz
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451
Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol
Eareckson, Joni. Joni
Fisher, Dorothy. Understood Betsy
Irving, Washington. Rip Van Winkle
Irving, Washington. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Jacques, Brian. Marlfox +
London, Jack. White Fang
Marshall, Catherine. Christy
O’Hara, Mary. My Friend Flicka
Sterling, Dorothy. Freedom Train
Taylor, Theodore. The Cay
Trapp, Maria Augusta. The Story of Trapp Family Singers
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Level 3
Field, Rachel. Hitty: Her First Hundred Years
Henty, G. H. By Right of Conquest
Henty, G. H. In the Reign of Terror
Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book
London, Jack. The Call of the Wild
Orczy, Emmuska. The Scarlet Pimpernel
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Kidnapped
Taylor, Mildred. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Tunnell, Michael. Candy Bomber
Twain, Mark. The Prince and the Pauper
Verne, Jules. Around the World in Eighty Days
Wells, H. G. War of the Worlds
Yates, Elizabeth. Amos Fortune, Free Man

Seventh Grade Reading List
Following is the list of adopted titles used for the seventh grade reading program. Although certain titles are assigned to specific grades, when necessary, teachers may use a list of titles above or below their grade. It is desired that at least 5 adopted books are read each year. Some books will be assigned and read in class, and others will be assigned for outside reading. Every effort has been made to pick the best available literature. As with everything, each book must be read with scripture as our final standard. All Landmark books are acceptable on the literature list.
Aldrich, Thomas. The Story of a Bad Boy
Brother Andrew. God’s Smuggler
Bunyan, John. The Pilgrim’s Progress (original)
DeJong, Meindert. The House of Sixty Fathers
DeKruif, Paul. Microbe Hunters
Dickens, Charles. Nicholas Nickleby
Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist
Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte Cristo
Dumas, Alexandre. The Three Musketeers
Eaton, Jeanette. David Livingstone, Foe of Darkness
Field, Rachel. Calico Bush
Forester, C. S. Horatio Hornblower
Freedman, Ben. Mrs. Mike
Grant, George. The Last Crusader
Henry, O. The Best Short Stories of O. Henry
Henty, G. A. By Pike and Dyke +
Henty, G. A. In Freedom’s Cause +
Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables
Kipling, Rudyard. Captains Courageous
Latham, Jean Lee. This Dear-Bought Land
Lewis, C. S. Out of the Silent Planet
Lewis, C. S. Perelandra
Lewis, C. S. That Hideous Strength
Little, Paul. Know What You Believe
Little, Paul. Know Why You Believe
MacDonald, George. The Baronet’s Song
O’Dell, Scott. Streams to the River, River to the Sea
O’Dell, Scott. The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt By Day
Orczy, Baroness. The Scarlet Pimpernel
Seredy, Kate. The Good Master
Speare, Elizabeth George. The Bronze Bow
Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Black Arrow
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Thomson, Andy. Morning Star of the Reformation

Seventh Grade History List

This year in history the students will be studying Explorers to 1815. Students will be reading numerous books from this time period in class. Outside reading is also encouraged, especially historical fiction which engages the imagination and makes the time period come alive. We encourage you to read aloud with your children from books that may be above their reading level. Suggestions for reading are offered below. We are endeavoring to purchase as many of these titles as possible for the classroom.
Four books must be read from the following list:
Bliven, Bruce. The American Revolution (Landmark) – H
Blos, Joan. A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal – H, NN, YC
Bond, Douglas. Guns of Thunder
Bond, Douglas. Rebel’s Keep
Calabro, Marian. The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party - H, NN
Carter, Alice. The American Revolution
Collins, David. Noah Webster: Master of Words
Cooper, James Fenimore. The Last of the Mohicans – H, NN, YC
Cousins, Margaret. Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia (Landmark) – H
Cox, Clinton. Mark Twain – H, NN, YC
Cox, Clinton. Undying Glory: True Story of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment – H, NN
Dafoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe – H, NN, YC
Daugherty, James. Of Courage Undaunted – H, NN
Daugherty, James. The Landing of the Pilgrims – CCS, H
de Trevino, Elizabeth. I, Juan de Pareja – H, NN, YC
DK Eyewitness. North American Indian – NN
Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain – CCS, H, NN, YC
Forbes, Esther. Paul Revere and the World He Lived In – H, NN
Foster, Genevieve. George Washington’s World – H
Freedman, Russell. Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille – H, NN, YC
Fritz, Jean. The Double Life of Pocahontas – H, NN, YC
Fritz, Jean. Why Not, Lafayette? – H, NN, YC
Hamilton, Alexander, et al. The Federalist Papers – H, NN, YC
Haugaard, Erik. Cromwell’s Boy – H
Jackson, Shirley. The Witchcraft of Salem Village – H, YC
Lasky, Kathryn. Jahanara: Princess of Princesses – H, NN, YC
Lawton, Wendy. The Captive Princess
Lawton, Wendy. The Tinker’s Daughter – CCS
Mansfield, Stephen. Forgotten Founding Father: George Whitefield – CRPC
McPherson, Joyce. The Ocean of Truth: The Story of Isaac Newton
Murphy, Jim. A Young Patriot – H, NN, YC
Newman, Shirlee. The African Slave Trade – H, NN, YC
O’Dell, Scott. Streams to the River, River to the Sea – H, NN
Roosevelt, T. and Lodge, H. Hero Tales from American History
Savery, Constance. The Reb and the Redcoats
Schanzer, Rosalyn. How We Crossed the West – NN, YC
Severance, John. Thomas Jefferson: Architect of Democracy – H, NN
Speare, Elizabeth. George. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – CCS, H, NN, YC
Speare, Elizabeth George. Calico Captive – H, NN, YC
Speare, Elizabeth George. The Sign of the Beaver – CCS, H, NN, YC
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Kidnapped- H, NN, YC
Stevenson, Robert Louis. Treasure Island – H, NN, YC
Vaughn, David. Give Me Liberty – CRPC, YC
Yates, Elizabeth. Amos Fortune, Free Man – H, NN, YC

Eighth Grade Reading List
Following is the list of adopted titles used for the eighth grade reading program. Although certain titles are assigned to specific grades, when necessary, teachers may use a list of titles above or below their grade. It is desired that at least 5 adopted books are read each year. Some books will be assigned and read in class, and others will be assigned for outside reading. Every effort has been made to pick the best available literature. As with everything, each book must be read with Scripture as our final standard. All Landmark books are acceptable on the literature list.
Austen, Jane. Emma +
Austen, Jane. Northhanger Abbey +
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice +
Braithwaite, Edward. To Sir, with Love
Chesterton, G. K. The Complete Father Brown
Chesterton, G. K. The Best of Father Brown
Colson, Charles. Born Again
Defoe, Daniel. Robinson Crusoe
DeKruif, Paul. Microbe Hunters
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities +
Dickens, Charles. David Copperfield +
Douglas, Lloyd C. The Robe
Forester, C. S. Horatio Hornblower +
Gilbreth & Carey. Cheaper By the Dozen – L
Gilbreth & Carey. Bells on Their Toes – L
Henry, O. Best Short Stories of O. Henry
Herriot, James. All Creatures Great and Small – L
Herriot, James. All Things Bright and Beautiful – L
Herriot, James. All Things Wise and Wonderful – L
Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird – M
Lewis, C. S. The Screwtape Letters
Scott, Sir Walter. Ivanhoe
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet
Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth
Shakespeare, William. Much Ado About Nothing
Shakespeare, William. Othello
Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night
Sheldon, Charles. In His Steps – C
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels
ten Boom, Corrie. The Hiding Place – V
Twain, Mark. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – L
Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – L
Wallace, Lew. Ben Hur
White, T. H. The Sword in the Stone

Eighth Grade History List
This year in history the students will be studying 1815 to Present. Students will be reading numerous books from this time period in class. Outside reading is also encouraged, especially historical fiction which engages the imagination and makes the time period come alive. We encourage you to read aloud with your children from books that may be above their reading level. Suggestions for reading are offered below. We are endeavoring to purchase as many of these titles as possible for the classroom
Four books must be read from the following list:
Abernathy, Alta. Bud & Me: The True Adventure of the Abernathy Boys
Ambrose, Stephen. The Good Fight: How WWII Was Won – H, YC
Beatty, Patricia. Turn Homeward, Hannalee – H, YC
Bierman, Carol. Journey to Ellis Island – NN, YC
Bliven, Bruce. Invasion: The Story of D-Day – H
Bradley, James. Flags of Our Fathers – H, NN, YC
Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee – CCS classroom, H, NN, YC
Catton, Bruce. A Stillness At Appomattox – CCS classroom, H, NN, YC
Cornelissen, Cornelia. Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears – NN, YC
Crockett, Davy. Davy Crockett: His Own Story
Derry, Joseph T. Story of the Confederate States – H, NN
De Vries, Anne. Journey Through the Night
Doswell, Paul. War Stories: True Stories from the First and Second World Wars
Frank, Anne. The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition – H, NN, YC
Freedman, Russell. Immigrant Kids – H, NN
Grant, George. Carry a Big Stick: The Uncommon Heroism of T. Roosevelt – CPRC
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea – H, NN, YC
Henty, G. A. With Lee in Virginia
Hersey, John. Hiroshima – H, NN, YC
Hunt, Irene. Across Five Aprils – H, NN, YC
Ingold, Jeanette. Hitch – NN, YC
Irwin, James. Destination: Moon
Kantor, MacKinlay. Gettysburg – H
Lester, Julius. To Be A Slave – H, NN
Levitin, Sonia. Journey to America – H, YC
Linnea, Sharon. Raoul Wallenberg: The Man Who Stopped Death – NN
Mansfield, Stephen. Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill
Marrin, Albert. The Yanks Are Coming – H, YC
Marrin, Albert. Stalin: Russia’s Man of Steel – NN
Marrin, Albert. Hitler – H, NN
Marrin, Albert. America and Vietnam: The Elephant and the Tiger – H, NN
McMurdie, Jean McAnlis. Land of the Morning
McMurdie, William. Hey, Mac!
Murphy, Jim. The Boys’ War: Confederate & Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War – H, NN, YC
Nolan, Peggy. The Spy Who Came in from the Sea
O’Grady, Captain Scott. Basher Five-two – NN, YC
Prins, Piet. The Lonely Sentinel (The Shadow Series) +
Raven, Margot. Theis Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot – H, NN, YC
Reynolds, Quentin. The Wright Brothers – H, NN
Serraillier, Ian. Escape From Warsaw
Sperry, Armstrong. All Sail Set – H
Steele, William. We Were There on the Oregon Trail – NN
Steele, William. We Were There with the Pony Express
Taylor, Theodore. Air Raid—Pearl Harbor! – H, NN
Taylor, Mildred. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry- H, NN, YC
ten Boom, Corrie. The Hiding Place- CRPC, CCS, H, NN, YC
Trapp, Maria Augusta. The Story of Trapp Family Singers – H, NN, YC
Van Leeuwen, Jean. Bound for Oregon – YC
Velde, Vivian. A Coming Evil
Wilkins, J. Steven. Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee
Winik, Jay. April 1865: The Month That Saved America – H, NN, YC
York, Alvin. Sergeant York and the Great War — CCS

Friday, December 27, 2013

Perhaps atheism is an intellectual luxury for the wealthy

Quotes from

"Perhaps atheism is an intellectual luxury for the wealthy"

"Soon I saw my atheism for what it is: an intellectual belief most accessible to those who have done well."

"I also see Richard Dawkins differently. I see him as a grown up version of that 16-year-old kid, proud of being smart, unable to understand why anyone would believe or think differently from himself. I see a person so removed from humanity and so removed from the ambiguity of life that he finds himself judging those who think differently. I see someone doing what he claims to hate in others. Preaching from a selfish vantage point."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Christian faith is NOT a leap into the dark...

The Bible never describes the Christian faith as a leap into the dark, but a step into the light.


Sunday, December 01, 2013

Rudolph Bultmann Reader's Guide

Rudolph Bultmann Reader's Guide - This is too important to lose, so I copied and pasted a portion of the following link below!


Reading List for English Speakers
There are any number of reasons to read Bultmann. Those interested in New Testament biblical studies already know how important it is to understand his work. I am writing primarily for those who want to understand Bultmann as a theologian. He is widely underappreciated by those in the theological guild, and this is no doubt due, in part, to the influence of Barth. And yet Bultmann is a formidable theologian in his own right, someone who deserves to be taken much more seriously than he currently is. So for those English-speakers looking to dive into Bultmann’s theology, consider this a step-by-step reading list.
First, though, a tip on how to read Bultmann’s essays. Bultmann mastered a particular art of essay writing that may confuse American readers who are used to a rather different style. One has to remember that the majority of his essays were originally lectures, and thus they exhibit standard marks of classical rhetoric. In particular, readers will notice that some of his essays begin by establishing a certain rapport with a figure or text or idea that he wishes to problematize or criticize. And so he will make statements up front that may strike one as questionable. That is intentional on his part. At some point later, maybe at the midpoint, and sometimes not until near the end, Bultmann will pull a rhetorical twist that reveals his actual position. This is most apparent in polemical or controversial writings, such as those dealing with the natural theology or natural revelation.
Now for the list. I have arranged this in a very intentional order to facilitate the greatest possible understanding. I have also grouped them by theme, in the order in which they should be read.
Two works in particular should be read and consulted constantly and thus don’t belong in a specific place in the reading list.
Karl Barth – Rudolf Bultmann Letters, 1922–1966. The translation of the first edition of the Barth-Bultmann correspondence is an invaluable resource. Many important insights into Bultmann’s own theology are revealed here. Unfortunately, this translation is only a selection. Many of the letters are only summarized by Bromiley in a brief paragraph, justified by him on the grounds that “many of them contain matters of practical or academic or political interest that do not directly advance the main argument.” Essential reading include the letters on the following dates: Dec. 31, 1922; June 8, 1928; Feb. 5, 1930; Nov. 11–15, 1952; Dec. 24, 1952.
This World and the Beyond: Marburg Sermons. Bultmann’s collected sermons from Marburg, delivered between 1936 and 1950, provide one of the best entryways into his theology. Bultmann’s entire theology serves the church’s proclamation. His sermons show what his talk of hermeneutics actually means for the life of the church. Most of these sermons were preached within the context of Nazi rule, and they should be read with that sociopolitical context in mind.
Part 1: Revelation
1. “Science and Existence” (1955) in NTM. This may seem an odd place to start. This essay, originally in GuV 3, is not well known or highly regarded, and yet it zeroes in on the key issue underpinning his entire theological project with admirable clarity. Here Bultmann focuses on the issue of “objectification” (Objektivierung) and the need for a nonobjectifying God-talk. The essay closes with one of the single best paragraphs in his entire corpus, presenting God as one who never stands still, who is always running ahead of us, whose futurity is transcendence.
2. “What Does It Mean to Speak of God?” (1925) in FaU. Among Bultmann’s most famous pieces of writing and deservedly so. It forms the perfect counterpart to “Science and Existence” and shows that Bultmann’s entire career orients around a single problem: How can we think and speak responsibly of God so that our God-talk is genuinely about God? Bultmann’s answer involves differentiating between “talk about God” (Reden über Gott) and “talk of God” (Reden von Gott); pay very close attention to the use of “about” and “of”! Also pay attention to the phrases “picture of the world” and “view of the world” or “worldview.” These are translations of Weltbild and Weltanschauung, respectively, and they ought to be consistently translated as “world-picture” and “worldview.” The terms must be strictly differentiated, a point that becomes very important if one is to understand the program of demythologizing. Finally, this essay is most famous for the oft-quoted but little understood line: “It is therefore clear that if one wishes to speak of God, one must evidently speak of oneself” (my translation). It is simply false to claim that Bultmann is here reducing theology to anthropology. A little later in the essay he adds the all-important zugleich (“at the same time”): “In any case, talking of God, if it were possible, would necessarily be talking at the same time of ourselves” (emphasis mine). The point is the inseparability of God and the self (not the reduction of God to the self), that is, the inability to talk of God outside of faith, outside of the relation of obedience to God. Moreover, for Bultmann, there is no natural existence that forms a given starting-point for theology outside of revelation, since “our existence is grounded in God and is nonexistent outside God.” The opposition to natural theology is a point established more clearly elsewhere, but it’s important to keep it in mind from the beginning.
3. “The Question of Natural Revelation” (1941) in EPT. In 1940 Bultmann gave this lecture before a group of theologians in the Confessing Church. The following year he published it along with his programmatic essay on demythologizing, which was given before the same group. The two essays together are a response to the political situation of Nazi Germany. One has to keep in mind this sociopolitical context when reading both essays. In the case of “The Question of Natural Revelation,” the context is explicit, since he embeds within the argument a strong criticism of those who would try to make German culture a criterion of revelation. Bultmann walks a very fine and nuanced line in this piece, arguing in the end that all appeals to nature and natural revelation are false. Christianity “asserts that all answers apart from the Christian answer are illusions,” and thus to speak of God outside of God’s revelation in Christ is “actually sin.” He concludes: “This finally is the significance, therefore, of the revelation in nature and history: it constantly refers us to the revelation of the forgiving grace of God in Christ. But it is only in doing this that it is revelation for us; and that means that, apart from Christ, it is not revelation for us. But when we do start from Christ, the whole of the world in nature and history can receive the illumination of revelation.” In this lecture, Bultmann reveals himself to be a consistent and unwavering theologian of the word of God.
4. “Theology as Science” (1941) in NTM. Having set down the foundation for understanding Bultmann through some choice appetizers, we can now turn to the main courses. We begin with “Theology as Science,” which I regard as the best of all Bultmann’s essays, and certainly my personal favorite. It is actually a lecture that he gave at the very same conference in Alpirsbach where he gave the famous demythologizing lecture, “New Testament and Mythology.” Unfortunately, he never published it, and it was only finally made publicly available in 1984. The essay constitutes a brief theological encyclopedia. The term encyclopedia in German refers to something that programmatically sets out the nature of a particular discipline. In theology the classic example is Schleiermacher’s Brief Outline of a Field of Study. This essay has two halves. The first summarizes his understanding of the object of theology, viz. God. The second examines the procedure of theology, as NT theology, systematic theology, OT theology, church history, and practical theology. This lecture rewards multiple readings and should be read carefully. Embedded within are many of his best insights.
5. “Liberal Theology and the Latest Theological Movement” (1924) in FaU. Bultmann’s first essay in GuV is also one of his most important. In this lecture he expresses his clearest agreement with the dialectical theology of Barth and Gogarten. The essay is a difficult read, which is why I did not put it earlier. It contains some of his trademark ideas, including his rejection of the quest for the historical Jesus on the basis that historical criticism as only negatively useful for theology, given that God is only revealed to faith in the word of God. The final section is the most important. That’s where he delivers his axiom: “God is not a given entity.”
6. “The Significance of ‘Dialectical Theology’ for the Scientific Study of the New Testament” (1928) in FaU. An excellent counterpart to the 1924 essay. This one is especially important for the insight it gives into Bultmann’s understanding of dialectical theology and of theology as such. He articulates his existential concept of truth, in which truth is not something timeless and static, but rather a response to the question posed by a concrete situation. Truth is an event—the event of God’s word heard in faith. One of the earliest instances of Bultmann’s use of the term “preunderstanding,” which he started using in the spring of 1927.
7. “On the Question of Christology” (1927) in FaU. Bultmann’s response to Emanuel Hirsch, and a good counterpart to “Theology as Science,” particularly with respect to the distinction and relation between the fides quae creditur (“the faith that is believed”) and the fides qua creditur (“the faith by which it is believed”). Provides important insight into Bultmann’s own theology.
8. What Is Theology? (1984). If I had to recommend one book to read by Bultmann to get a sense of his theology, it would be this one, the posthumously published edition of his lectures on theology that he gave between 1926 and 1936. In a way, this is the book-length version of “Theology as Science.” Some of the material can be found elsewhere—certain passages are repeated verbatim in “On the Question of Christology”—but much of this material is new and incredibly illuminating. I’ve long believed that had this material been in print during Bultmann’s lifetime, the debates about his theology would look very different today. In any case, people ought to read this book in its entirety, but the two key chapters are “Revelation as Historic Event” (§11) and “Faith as Historical Deed” (§14). I also recommend the discussion of the object of theology in §§4–6 and §9.
9. “The Question of ‘Dialectic’ Theology” (1926) in The Beginnings of Dialectic Theology. This essay will be harder for many to obtain, but it is well worth the effort. In 1925 a dispute broke out over Erik Peterson’s criticism of dialectical theology. Barth and Bultmann joined forces in the pages of Zwischen den Zeiten to respond to Peterson. Bultmann’s contribution is a marvelous synthesis (or anticipation) of many of the themes addressed in the above writings.
Part 2: Hermeneutics
10. “The Problem of Theological Exegesis” (1925), in The Beginnings of Dialectical Theology. Now that we have a basic understanding of Bultmann’s account of God and revelation, we can turn to look at his hermeneutics. The best place to begin is Bultmann’s 1925 lecture on Sachkritik/Sachexegese—“material [or content] criticism/exegesis,” terribly translated as “objective criticism/exegesis” for reasons that cannot be explained here—which is one of his most important statements about exegesis and hermeneutics. It’s important to note the year that this was written. Not only is 1925 a pivotal year in the Barth-Bultmann relationship, but it also precedes the turn to a more rigorous existentialist hermeneutic, initially in 1927 and fully in 1934. This means that many key concepts, such as preunderstanding, do not appear. The concept of self-understanding appears in the form of “self-interpretation” (Selbstauslegung). This article rewards repeated readings. I cannot help but think that the demythologizing debate would have looked rather different had more people paid attention to this lecture.
11. “Is Exegesis without Presuppositions Possible?” (1957) in NTM. While Bultmann was a hermeneutical theologian from the start, he only set out to systematically clarify his hermeneutical program in the 1950s. This involved a substantial amount of ground-clearing, and the best example of that is his little essay on whether presuppositionless exegesis is possible. Short answer: no. But exegesis should still be without prejudice. We cannot avoid presuppositions, but we can avoid dictating the outcome of the exegesis in advance.
12. “The Problem of Hermeneutics” (1950) in NTM. A classic treatment of the topic. Bultmann sets out the concept of preunderstanding here in more systematic detail, though this essay read in isolation from other writings can be misleading. It closes with one of Bultmann’s most important criticisms of Barth, a criticism that, to my knowledge, Barth never addressed.
13. History and Eschatology, chaps. 8 and 10. Bultmann’s Gifford Lectures are full of wonderful historical and theological insights and deserve to be read in their entirety. I have highlighted chapters 8 and 10 because there he summarizes his hermeneutical position. It is important to see that Bultmann differentiates between two aspects of historiography (p. 117): (a) the perspective of the historian who is situated within a particular historical situation and (b) the existential encounter with history. These two aspects correspond to Bultmann’s key concepts: preunderstanding (Vorverst?ndnis) and self-understanding (Selbstverst?ndnis). The 1957 essay (#10 above) only focuses on the first aspect, while Bultmann is very clear that an authentically Christian interpretation of scripture concerns the second aspect, a point that is often misunderstood.
14. “The Task and the Problems of New Testament Theology (the Relation between Theology and Proclamation)” (1950) in Theology of the New Testament, vol. 2 (epilogue). Every NT theology, hermeneutics, and systematic theology course should have this essay, or at least the first section of it, assigned as required reading. It was originally published in a 1950 Festschrift as “The Problem of the Relation of Theology and Proclamation in the New Testament,” and it constitutes his most important statement on the relation between theology and scripture. As he says, “there can be no normative Christian dogmatics.” This provides the ideal segue into demythologizing.
Part 3: Demythologizing, or, the Question of God’s Action in History
15. “New Testament and Mythology” (1941) in NTM. We turn, finally, to the programmatic lecture on demythologizing, the so-called Entmythologisierungsvortrag. I have put it off until now, because it is important to see that demythologizing is nothing new; it is the consistent outworking of basic theological convictions that he shares with Barth. Demythologizing is simply the hermeneutical extension of dialectical theology. This particular essay, however, is not the clearest or best expression of his program, but it launched the discussion, so I have placed it first in this section of the reading list. I already pointed out that Bultmann delivered this lecture before the Confessing Church, and that he published it with his 1940 lecture on natural revelation. We must see his demythologizing program as an attempt to oppose the contemporary political myths of Nazi Germany at their hermeneutical root.
16. “On the Problem of Demythologizing” (1952) in NTM. This is among the most important of all Bultmann’s writings, and it may be the single most significant thing he wrote regarding demythologizing. In this essay one finds a synthesis of his mature hermeneutical theology, arranged in three parts: (a) the concept of myth and the program of demythologizing, (b) the role of existentialist philosophy, and (c) the nature of divine action. Of these, the first and third are the most important. In the first section Bultmann gives his most extensive clarification of the concept of myth and defines demythologizing as a task with two aspects: negatively, critique of the mythical world-picture (for more on Weltbild, see below); positively, existentialist interpretation. Understanding what each of these mean is the subject of my own research and is a topic for another day, but it is significant how Bultmann frames his program in this essay. The third section is important for many reasons. There we find the most extensive description of “paradoxical identity,” one of his most important concepts. And, to cap it all off, we have the concluding paragraph, where he declares: “In point of fact, radical demythologizing is the parallel to the Pauline-Lutheran doctrine of justification through faith alone without the works of the law. Or, rather, it is the consistent application of this doctrine to the field of knowledge.” Study this essay carefully. NB: The 1961 essay with the same name is a kind of précis of the 1952 essay, though it has its own merits and is well worth reading on its own.
17. Jesus Christ and Mythology. In October and November 1951, Bultmann gave the Shaffer Lectures at Yale Divinity School and the Cole Lectures at Vanderbilt University. These were published in 1958 as Jesus Christ and Mythology, whose main text is really just an expansion of the material from the 1952 essay (or rather the 1952 essay is an abridgment of the 1951 lectures); chapters 3–5 cover the material in the 1952 essay, while chapters 1 and 2 add important historical and exegetical context for his program. This short book—the main text is only seventy-five trade-size pages—should be read cover to cover. One of its most important features is the way Bultmann situates demythologizing within the rediscovery of the apocalyptic eschatology of Jesus and the early church. Bultmann is often viewed as carrying on the legacy of Wilhelm Herrmann. There is some truth in that, but my own work contests this on the grounds that the most central aspect of Bultmann’s theology is the role of eschatology: his theology, and really dialectical theology as such, is eschatological theology. But this is precisely what Herrmann lacks, and Bultmann repeatedly criticizes him for it. This is why Bultmann is really the descendant of his earlier teacher and mentor, Johannes Weiss. And Jesus Christ and Mythology is significant for the way it emphasizes the importance of Weiss to his hermeneutical project. The last chapter on divine action also should be read with care, since it is so central to Bultmann’s theology.
18. “The Christian Hope and the Problem of Demythologizing” (1953), in Expository Times 65, nos. 8–9 (1954): 228–30, 276–78. This article may be hard to find, but it’s worth the effort. In July 1953, Bultmann, Günther Bornkamm, and Friedrich Karl Schumann gave papers on the question of Christian hope and demythologizing. These papers and a conversation between the three of them were published together. Bultmann’s contribution to this forum was translated for a journal. It is especially helpful for the way it makes explicit how demythologizing has been going on throughout the life of the church, and even in scripture itself.
19. “Theology for Freedom and Responsibility” in The Christian Century (August 27, 1958): 967–69. Another article worth the effort to find. This one extends demythologizing into the realm of sociopolitical responsibility. According to Bultmann, “Theology must be sharply on guard against any identification of the Christian faith with a political program.”
Part 4: Christology
We have already touched on christological themes many times in the above essays, but I want to close this list by tracing Bultmann’s thinking on this most central of theological topics. I’ve ordered the list in terms of whether the emphasis is on the “historical Jesus” or the kerygmatic Christ, beginning with the “historical Jesus” of Jesus and the Word and ending with the magnificent account of the kerygmatic Christ in The Gospel of John. I put historical Jesus in scare quotes because Bultmann does not believe we have direct access to the actual Jesus of history; what we have are the synoptic accounts of Jesus, accounts that originated in a later Hellenistic Christian community. That does not mean Bultmann thinks we have no knowledge whatsoever about the Jesus of history, simply that our access is entirely mediated through accounts shaped by later traditions and cultural conceptualities.
20. Jesus and the Word. Bultmann’s 1926 book, titled simply Jesus in the German, is one of his most beautiful and compelling documents. The methodology behind the book was set out in his earlier form-critical study, History of the Synoptic Tradition. Jesus and the Word presents the message of Jesus as we can discern it in the synoptic tradition. Bultmann presents us with a radically eschatological Jesus, who confronts his hearers with the demand of God’s coming future. One of the most important arguments of the book is that Jesus’ teaching of the coming reign of God does not conflict with but rather complements Jesus’ teaching of God’s will
21. “The Significance of the Historical Jesus for the Theology of Paul” (1929) in FaU. Bultmann’s essay on Paul and Jesus is a classic study on the topic and highlights one of his central theses: namely, that what Jesus expected as future, Paul confessed as something already past and present. In this distinction lies the differentiation between the Jewish Jesus and the Christian Paul, between the proclamation of Jesus and the kerygma of the church.
22. “The Primitive Christian Kerygma and the Historical Jesus” (1960) in The Historical Jesus and the Kerygmatic Christ: Essays on the New Quest of the Historical Jesus, edited by Carl E. Braaten and Roy A. Harrisville (Abingdon, 1964). In the late 1950s, Bultmann was facing criticism from his former students, in particular Ernst K?semann, Gerhard Ebeling, Ernst Fuchs, Günther Bornkamm, and others. All of them in one way or another were arguing for a new quest for the historical Jesus on the grounds that Bultmann’s theology needs to show that kerygma is historically grounded in the Jesus of history. By 1960, Bultmann had had enough and decided to break his silence. His paper, technically titled “The Relation of the Early Christian Christ-Message to the Historical Jesus,” was a bombshell dropped on the new questers. It single-handedly brought the dispute to an end and forced his former students to recast their argument in a different manner. The essay remains one of Bultmann’s most important writings, in particular the remarkable concluding paragraphs, where he states that “there is no faith in Christ which would not also be faith in the church as the bearer of the kerygma; that is, using the terminology of dogmatics, faith in the Holy Spirit.” The final paragraph provides one of his clearest affirmations of the Christus praesens, that is to say, that Christ is genuinely and actively present in the kerygma.
23. “The Christological Confession of the World Council of Churches” (1951) in EPT. In 1951 Bultmann was asked to comment on the confessional statement of the World Council of Churches. His response is perhaps his most important writing on christology proper, i.e., on the theology of the kerygmatic Christ as opposed to the question of the historical Jesus. This ranks with the very best of his articles, combining exegetical reflection with creative and provocative theological judgments. In section 3 he presents one of his most important questions: “Does [Christ] help me because he is God’s Son, or is he the Son of God because he helps me?” Bultmann sides with the latter and puts forward what we might describe in retrospect an “actualistic ontology,” namely, that Christ is what he does. This becomes clear in the final section, where he develops his notion of Christ as an event and not as a metaphysical entity. Humanity and deity both are active events, not substances: “Humanity can be interpreted as a φ?σι? just as little as what we call ‘deity’ may be.” This article warrants close attention.
24. The Gospel of John: A Commentary, esp. “The Prologue,” “The Judge,” “The Hiddenness and Contingency of the Revelation,” “The Mystery of the Death of Jesus,” “The Community in the World,” and “The Believers’ Future as the Eschatological Situation.” I conclude this part of the reading list with what I consider to be Bultmann’s greatest work. Do not listen to those who would dismiss this commentary on the grounds that Bultmann’s source criticism is outdated, or that his claims about Gnosticism have been falsified. None of that is relevant to the theological significance of this commentary, which is enormous. I believe it is the greatest piece of theological exegesis since Barth’s Epistle to the Romans, and indeed The Gospel of John is to Bultmann what Epistle to the Romans is to Barth. I cannot begin to do it justice here, but let me give some context. The commentary was released in parts between 1937 and 1941, when it was finally released as a single volume. That this is the same year as his demythologizing lecture is no accident. In many respects, it is the commentary that drives the program, not the other way around. Nor is it accidental that Bultmann wrote this commentary in the context of Nazi Germany. Just as Barth’s Romans is an exegetical exorcism of the liberalism that led to the German church’s warmongering in 1914, so too Bultmann’s Gospel of John is an exegetical exorcism of the liberalism that led to the German church’s racist and nationalist propaganda in 1932 and beyond. Bultmann’s interpretation of the Jews in John as symbolic of the “unbelieving world” is part of his attempt to undermine the anti-Semitic ideology of his day. And his interpretation of Pilate as symbolic of the state is a thinly-veiled critique of the Nazi state. But the primary reason to read this commentary is for Bultmann’s profound and often beautiful theological exposition, particularly as it pertains to the eschatological invasion of the world in Christ and the eschatological existence of believers. Jesus is “the one who always breaks the given to pieces, who always destroys every security, who always irrupts from the beyond and calls into the future,” and consequently faith can never be stabilized and petrified as an element of culture, a philosophical theory, or a religious worldview.
Concluding Thoughts
There is so much more worth including on this list. The entire Theology of the New Testament should be read by anyone seriously interested in Bultmann, though I have left it off this list because much of the key material can be gleaned from other, shorter writings. His commentaries on the Johannine epistles and 2 Corinthians are also full of exegetical and theological gems, but they can be hard to find amidst the dense analysis of the Greek text. For those who wish to dive into the deep end of the pool, however, surprising treasures await.
I have not addressed matters of translation or the issue of Bultmann’s conceptuality, which may be foreign to most English readers. In the future I plan to put together a brief glossary of key terms that should prove useful to new readers. Unfortunately, much of the confusion regarding Bultmann’s theology is due to mistranslations and concepts that carry false connotations in English. But for those who approach with an open mind and a receptive spirit—for those who are prepared to encounter in Bultmann a powerful witness to the word and claim of God—the translations above should more than suffice.