On (Not) Obeying the Sabbath: Reading Jesus Reading Scripture

Nik Ansell. “On (Not) Obeying the Sabbath: Reading Jesus Reading Scripture,” Horizons in Biblical Theology 33/2 (Fall 2011): 97–120

This essay examines the sabbath controversy of Mark 2:23-28 to see how Jesus faces the challenge of biblical interpretation as he models what it means for his disciples to image God in freedom. In dominant approaches to the Gospels, the interpretive process set in motion by this passage, which I characterize as ‘reading Scripture reading Jesus reading Scripture,’ is confined to its earlier stages—a reductionism that calls for hermeneutical reflection. If a narrative has a ‘life of its own’ beyond authorial intention (indispensable though the author may be), can we say the same about a character who is central to a narrative? If so, is ‘the Jesus of Mark’s Gospel’ ‘more than’ the ‘Markan Jesus’ of much scholarly concern? This essay seeks to develop an intertextual, Christocentric hermeneutic by attending to the implicit as well as explicit ways in which Jesus’ reading of Scripture takes place ‘within’ the Gospel narrative.

Sin Has Its Place, But All Shall Be Well: The Universalism of Hope in Julian of Norwich

Sweetman, Robert. "Sin Has Its Place, But All Shall Be Well: the Universalism of Hope in Julian of Norwich (c. 1342-c. 1416)." In "All Shall Be Well": Explorations in Universalism and Christian Theology from Origen to Moltmann, pp. 66-92. Ed. Gregory MacDonald. Eugene OR: Cascade Books, 2011.

This study of the Shewings of Julian of Norwich explores the nature of the medieval anchoress’ “universalism.” It places the literary forms she used to contruct her text within the framework of medieval rhetorical theory. It does so in order to lay bear the fundamental dynamic of the text. She is not interested in providing our intellects a theodicy by which to fit all of the units of existence within a universal conceptual frame. Rather, she is interested in providing just that basis of plausibility which can ground and so enable hope’s characteristic motion. And Christian hope as she shows is universal in its extension even as graced will is measureless.

Faith Order Understanding: Natural Theology in the Augustinian Tradition - Foreword

Sweetman, Robert. "Foreword." In Faith Order Understanding: Natural Theology in the Augustinian Tradition, by Louis H. Mackey, pp. xi-xxiii. Toronto: Pontifical Institute for Mediaeval Studies Publications, 2011.

This piece attempts to locate the posthumously published study of natural theology in the Augustinian tradition which follows it within the life work of the American historian of philosophy Louis H. Mackey. It places the study within Mackey’s lifelong attraction to the Augustinian tradition both in its theological and philosophical expressions. It accounts for his attraction in terms of the light that tradition shines on the intersection of philosophy and literature in and through the self-consciously literary way it works with the relationship between language, meaning and reality. It is in this way that the tradition participates in the perennial dialectic of faith and reason. The study shows how Mackey uses the medieval chapters of the Augustinian tradition to identify an “anatomy” of the as yet unbroken tradition within Western philosophy, an anatomy that one finds again in his other philosophical interests: Kierkegaard and Derrida.

Artificial Respiration: On Life, Environment, and Machine

Hoff, Shannon. “Artificial Respiration: On Life, Environment, and Machine.” In Wood: a Compendium of the Blackwood Gallery’s Exhibitions and Projects in 2009, pp. 78-87. Ed. Christof Migone. Toronto: C. J. Graphics, 2011.

This essay reflects on two exhibitions hosted by the Blackwood Art Gallery in 2009—“Fall In” and “Fall Out.” In interaction with the artworks, it explores the ways in which the human being is not simply itself, circumscribed by its physical and psychological boundaries, but is rather an exchange between inside and outside, between “itself” and its prosthetic extensions—family, environment, technology, other people, laws, customs, and language.

On Law, Transgression, and Forgiveness: Hegel and the Politics of Liberalism

Hoff, Shannon. “On Law, Transgression, and Forgiveness: Hegel and the Politics of Liberalism.” Philosophical Forum, XLII (Summer 2011): 187-210.

In this paper, I explore specifically the relationship between forgiveness and law, for the purposes of illuminating the significance and also the limitations of the culture and politics of liberalism, of rights-based agency and the political authority that bolsters it. This critical analysis of liberalism does not contain a proposal for a particular political regime or for an “ultimate” form of human community. Rather, what Hegel offers us is a new understanding of the relation between the individual and a social whole organized in terms of laws and common practices that could allow us to better shape the existing political communities in which we find ourselves.

This Is Her Body: Judges 19 as Call to Discernment

Nik Ansell. “This Is Her Body . . . : Judges 19 as Call to Discernment” in Tamar’s Tears: Evangelical Engagements with Feminist Old Testament Hermeneutics, ed. Andrew Sloane (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2011), chapter 5, 112–70

This study responds to Phyllis Trible’s claim that Judges 19 is a “Text of Terror” in a double sense because it not only portrays events that are truly horrifying, but does so in a way that adds to the betrayal of the unnamed woman. Consequently, in her view, God’s call to compassion comes to us by means of a text that is itself in need of redemption. Building on one of Trible’s underdeveloped insights, this essay explores the intra-textual relationship between Judg 19 and the Achsah-Caleb-Othniel paradigm of Judg 1 to see how Old Testament “wisdom thinking”––in which patriarchal gender symbolism is subtly yet powerfully undermined––can help us discern the redemptive-historical potential of this unnerving narrative.

Turning Memory into Prophecy: Paul Ricoeur and Roberto Unger on the Human Condition between Past and Future

Kuipers, Ronald A.. “Turning Memory into Prophecy: Paul Ricoeur and Roberto Unger on the Human Condition between Past and Future,” in The Heythrop Journal 52/2, 2011: 1-10.

In The Self Awakened: Pragmatism Unbound, Roberto Unger consistently maintains that, in any democracy worthy of the name, ‘prophecy’ ought to speak louder than ‘memory’. Precisely what Unger means by these two evocative terms is not immediately or manifestly clear, although one could be forgiven for getting the impression that, in making this claim, Unger is offering his unique expression of pragmatism’s uneasy and ambiguous feelings about the past; among other things, this claim constitutes a warning against the temptation of succumbing to an enervating conservatism with which the past always presents us. But beyond offering such a warning, what precisely does Unger mean by ‘memory’ and ‘prophecy’? How does he think we ought to understand the relationship between this prophecy that ought to speak louder than memory, and the past from which, he admits, it always emerges? Finally, are there different ways of considering this relationship than the one Unger offers, ways that also resist the temptations of conservatism, yet while in so doing preserve a more edifying role for memory (not to mention tradition or history)? With the aid of the hermeneutical phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur, my purpose in this essay is to explore these questions.

Art in Public: Politics, Economics, and a Democratic Culture

Art in Public: Politics, Economics, and a Democratic Culture. Lambert Zuidervaart. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

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Why should governments provide funding for the arts? What do the arts contribute to daily life? Do artists and their publics have a social responsibility? Challenging questionable assumptions about the state, the arts, and a democratic society, Lambert Zuidervaart presents a vigorous case for government arts funding, based on crucial contributions the arts make to civil society. He argues that the arts contribute to democratic communication and a social economy, fostering the critical and creative dialogue that a democratic society needs. Informed by the author’s experience leading a nonprofit arts organization as well as his expertise in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, this book proposes an entirely new conception of the public role of art with wide-ranging implications for education, politics, and cultural policy.

Theodor W. Adorno

Zuidervaart, Lambert. "Theodor W. Adorno," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Substantive revision of an entry first published in 2003.

This essay summarizes the life and work of one of the most important philosophers and social critics in Germany after World War II. It discusses his social philosophy, aesthetics, epistemology, and ethics. An earlier version appears as an appendix in my book Social Philosophy after Adorno (Cambridge UP, 2007), 183-201.