Almighty God, whose Son was revealed in majesty before he suffered death upon the cross, give us faith to perceive his glory, that being strengthened by his grace we may be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
What is faith? I’m currently reading a recent academic article by Timothy Troutner (a doctoral student at Notre Dame) that takes up the question of silence or language in Beatitude. Halfway through he presents an excursus that discusses the linguistic turn that has come to define the postmodern philosophy of Derrida, Wittgenstein and others. Such a turn cannot but lead to despair and nihilistic doubt, because it concludes that all communication is a repeating series of significations that can never achieve a “thing signified” outside of it. Famously (or infamously), il n’y a pas de hors-texte.
“Little Apocalypse”: Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-37
In all three Synoptic Gospels, Jesus launches into the “Little Apocalypse” immediately upon predicting the destruction of the Temple. This suggests that the passage was written or included as a response to this very event in 70 CE. This is closer to the “post-facto prediction” that we see in Daniel and Enoch than in Revelation. However, all three occurrences place it at the beginning of Holy Week, shortly after Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple and with the Crucifixion and Resurrection in view: we should keep in mind Jesus’ prediction near the beginning of John’s Gospel, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19)
St. John immediately departs from the Apocalyptic tradition of pseudonymous centuries-old prediction: the very first verse indicates that Revelation describes “what must soon take place.” While the book does do some future-predicting, this “must soon take place” combined with past-tense narration (in English at least) suggests a preoccupation with present first-century realities in a way that is related to but distinct from what we’ve encountered in this course so far. This focus on the present leads him to explore more universal claims that are as relevant to the twenty-first century as they were to the first.
Four genres? Isn’t the Revelation to St. John the Divine a part of the Apocalyptic tradition? Well yes, it is indeed an Apocalypse-proper. It uses many of the images and conventions that we’ve encountered so far in this course: the Heavenly throne room, an angelic guide, the use of animals and even stranger beasts to talk about politics, a heavy dose of the numbers three, six and seven to name a few examples. And it is ultimately about God’s intervention into the created order to bring about the end of history and the birth of a “new heavens and a new earth.” (21:1) But as the pre-eminent and canonical Christian apocalypse, it also consciously recapitulates much of the Christian biblical canon. And it does so by appealing to three other genres (see note 1) that are prominent in Scripture: Epistle, Prophecy and Gospel
This summer I’m taking Wycliffe’s Ministry and Technology course online. Every two weeks we’re to write a 1000-word response to a given prompt that we have first worked through in discussion forums, and submit that response for grading. There is no requirement to share these papers online, but I thought I’d post my thoughts anyways. (“Course notes” refers to Dr. Power’s online required reading. “Class discussion forum” was the text discussion, and “zoom discussion” was the video conversation.)
This summer I’m taking Wycliffe’s Ministry and Technology course online. Every two weeks we’re to write a 1000-word response to a given prompt that we have first worked through in discussion forums, and submit that response for grading. There is no requirement to share these papers online, but I thought I’d post my thoughts anyways. (“Course notes” refers to Dr. Power’s online required reading.)
Just a brief note: I’ve been volunteering on the ministry team at St. Stephen’s, Maple here in the Diocese of Toronto. I took the lead on adapting the website to The Circumstances and I’m grateful for the opportunity to offer that valuable ministry at this time.
One of the new things we’re doing is a weekly blog called Around the Table, which, among other things, is meant to interact with the readings for the upcoming Sunday.
My first contribution to the blog, for Trinity Sunday, is available here. Enjoy, and may the Love of the Triune God fill your hearts and minds.