quod pro nobis traditum est

Thursday, October 06, 2011

A.D. 2011

In recent years, when I teach an occasional religion, Christian history or theology class I have noticed a change in how the calendar is depicted in textbooks. The traditional B.C. and A.D. are being replaced with B.C.E. and C.E. There is always the need to draw this change to the students' attention, explain the change and then question and critique the change.

It is with interest that I came across an online article showing the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano criticizing the BBC for making the change. The article describes well some of the challenges to the traditional rendering of the calendar.

The change is unnecessary. Challenging this change also draws attention to the fact that Christianity is very much in favor of history, for it has just as much to do with our future.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

unity in theology

A recent reading from the liturgy says,

Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: " . . . They will hallow My name, And hallow the Holy One of Jacob, And fear the God of Israel. These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, And those who complained will learn doctrine.” (Is. 29)

The last line of this reading stands out. There is a tendency to pit doctrine against the liturgy and vice versa. These words show that there is no need for such a false dichotomy - the liturgy here sees doctrine as a good thing. Hence the lex orandi, lex credendi.

Traditionalists rightly point out that this reading is not part of the lectionary. Only the Gospel and Epistle are read. Even "traditionalist" Lutherans do not always follow the traditional route. That may be a Lutheran thing.

On a related note, I read something historical which helps provide a clue to the mystery why there seems to be a tension between exegetes and the liturgy, something I attributed in the past to merely a difference in focus. This is something with much history:

"It is with Origen that devotion to the letter of Scripture and concern to refer to the original text come to take on a new importance. Science will gain from this. But the living relationship between Scripture and tradition is on the way to being compromised." (Danielou, Couratin and Kent, 54)

This helps to explain the false tension today between liturgy is prayer and liturgy as mere structure. Rather, the liturgy calls on us to both "hallow [God's] name" and "learn doctrine." After all, faith "comes from hearing."