Monday, October 31, 2011

C.A. Wannamaker's Remarks Concerning Philippians 2:6ff

Hi everyone,

Just a short quote from C.A. Wannamaker's article on Phil. 2:6ff.

"In this passage Paul maintains that Christ's universal sovereignty derives
from the Father and that ultimately the Son shall be subject to the Father
when he returns his present sovereignty to God. The subordinationist
character of 1 Cor. 15:24-28 demonstrates quite clearly that Paul did not
believe in Christ's absolute equality with God" (Wannamaker 187-188).

Observations from Wannamaker's article are found in my Christology and Trinity book, which can be purchased on See the links on this blog to obtain further details.

Cf. C.A. Wannamaker (NT Stud. Vol. 33, 1987, pp. 179-193).

Take care,

Edgar Foster

Friday, October 28, 2011

Samuelsson's Description of Jesus' "Crucifixion"


Just click on the title of this blog post.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Copy of My CV (October 2011)


Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. University of Glasgow (2003-2008) in Theology and Religious Studies.

Area of Specialization: Ecclesiastical History

Dissertation: Metaphor and Divine Paternity: The Concept of God's Fatherhood in the Divinae institutiones of Lactantius (250-325 CE).

Supervisor: Dr. Ian Hazlett

M.Th. University of Glasgow (2001-2002) in Theology and Religious Studies.

B.A. Lenoir-Rhyne College (1998 – 2001) in Classical Languages and Philosophy, graduated cum laude.

Awards Received:

Voigt Cromer Award for outstanding work in Classical Languages (2001).

Lenoir-Rhyne College President's Award for promoting intercultural understanding on campus (2001).

Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar to the University of Glasgow (2001-2002).

One of only ten students nationally who attended the Summer Institute of Philosophy at Rutgers University (2000).

Claudia Kincaid Academic Achievement Award (1998).

Teaching Experience and Positions Held:

Catawba Valley Community College (2008-Present):

Adjunct Instructor

Courses taught: Old Testament and New Testament

Lenoir-Rhyne College (2006-Present)

Visiting Assistant Professor

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Courses Taught: Ethics, Philosophy of Human Nature, Medieval Philosophy, African-American Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind.

University of Glasgow/GOALS Program (2001-2003)

Worked as a Tutor (Teacher)

Taught critical thinking and essay writing skills to incoming university students. Presented historical surveys on influential ethical theories (existentialism, deontology and utilitarianism).

Conducted university seminars on ethics.

Delivered lectures on ethics to groups of more than 200 students.

Languages: Latin, Greek, and German (reading proficiency).

Publications: Introduction to Ethics. A packet used by the University of Glasgow's GOALS Program (2003).

Angelomorphic Christology and the Exegesis of Psalm 8:5 in Tertullian's Adversus Praxean. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006.

Metaphor and Divine Paternity: The Concept of God's Fatherhood in the Divinae institutiones of Lactantius (250-325 CE). Edwin Mellen Press (Forthcoming).

Book Review of Tom Christenson's book Questioning Assumptions (Forthcoming in Dialog Journal).

Conference Presentations

"Setting the Stage: DaniƩlou and Angelomorphic Christology," presented at the Burn in Edzell, Scotland on March 15-17, 2002.

"The Doctrine of God the Father in the Thought of Lactantius" (250-325 CE). University of Edinburgh ecclesiastical history conference in Perth, Scotland on February 22, 2003.

"Metaphors, Symbols, Analogies and God the Father," presented at Lenoir-Rhyne College, Center for Theology Colloquium, March 10, 2005.


Dr. Larry Yoder
Lenoir-Rhyne University
School of History, Philosophy and Religion
P.O. Box 7349
Hickory, N. C. 28601

Dr. David Ratke
Lenoir-Rhyne University
School of History, Philosophy and Religion
P.O. Box 7210
Hickory, N. C. 28601

Dr. Ian Hazlett
Professor of Ecclesiastical History
School of Divinity
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ
Scotland U.K.
Tel. 44-141-330-4223

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Is the Moral Law Evidence for A Creator?

One line of evidence for a reality that transcends human existence and grounds morality is the moral law itself. Relativists deny the existence of moral absolutes. "There is no moral black and white," they say, "only shades of gray." However, the apostle Paul speaks of an inward law that governs Christians, Jews and pagans--believers and non-believers alike (Romans 2:14-16). This law is capable of accusing or excusing humans since it bears witness between their motives and thoughts. Frank Turek and Norman L. Geisler discuss this moral principle while making an observation that has not gone unnoticed by others:

"So the Moral Law is not always apparent from our actions, as evidenced by the terrible things human beings do to one another. But it is brightly revealed in our reactions--what we do when we personally are treated unfairly" (I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, page 175).

When someone steals from us or does not exercise justice in our case, it often shows that even moral relativists believe at least some absolutes exist. Assuming that some human acts either are objectively wrong or right, good or bad, evil or virtuous, it seems that the only way to ground absolute morals is to posit a supreme being who is a transcendent statute-giver.

Immanuel Kant argued that one must believe in God to ground morality; even Nietzsche conceded that if God is dead, there are no absolutes. It does, in fact, seem that morals cannot obtain without the existence of a divine being. The apostle Paul argues that even those who do not have law, do by nature the things of the law. What or who is responsible for the strong feelings of justice that humans time and again express? Has evolution brought it about that righteous indignation or grief are commonly displayed over agreed upon injustices or atrocities? Has the "blind watchmaker" of evolution caused humans to conduct themselves altruistically (i.e., selflessly, with no regard for one's own benefit) toward others or to universally oppose the heinous act of murder?

Maybe some individuals can bring themselves to accept such naturalistic explanations of morality. However, it seems that no natural immanent force could ever "cause" morals to obtain, much less bring it about that unselfishness or altruistic behavior exist. It certainly appears that no blind natural force caused life to obtain in the material order since life usually begets life.

Friday, October 21, 2011

From Ockham to Wyclif Link


Was John Wycliffe A Heretic?

I think it could safely be said that Wycliffe played
a major role in making the Bible available to
the common person. He also raised a number of
important theological issues that provoked
the ire of some of those among his contemporaries. I simply do
not think that one can easily dismiss Wycliffe as a
heretic, although I know there are aspects of his system
that many would no doubt criticize. The
foregoing having been stated, I want to cite
information from a study that takes an extensive look
at Wycliffe's accomplishments. For the sake of time, I'm going to summarize some points made in this work.

The book I am quoting from is entitled
"From Ockham to Wyclif," edited by Anne Hudson and
Michael Wilks (it's an anthology).

The points I want to make are as follows:

(1) Wycliffe thought that popes function as the CAPUT
PARTICULARIS ECCLESIAE: I.e. a pope is head of the
Roman Catholic Church, and this church is one among
many. Wycliffe therefore maintained that a Christian
should obey the Pope as long he submitted to
God and faithfully expounded God's Law (LEX). In this
way, Wycliffe was militating against the notion that
the Pope is appointed head of both Church and
state as well as of the Church Universal. He
instead proposed a notion of ECCLESIA REGIS, which
has its own set of problems (pp. 154-158).

(2) Wycliffe also insisted that the Church is comprised of
the "body of the saved." He denied that the Church is
an institution or that the Pope and his curia are
the EKKLHSIA TOU QEOU. This view undoubtedly angered
those who viewed the Pope as the Universal Church's head (CAPUT).

(3) While Wycliffe did not deny the "real presence"
in the Eucharist, he did reject the belief that
the elements of the Eucharist change per their
substance but not per accidens. He reasoned that
accidents must have a subject. For otherwise,
how could the bread change as to its substance and still maintain the
appearance (i.e. accidents) of bread without a subject?
Wycliffe thus delineated what would later become known as
consubstantiation(pp. 218-219, 292).

(4) Wycliffe was also surely condemned for preaching
in the vernacular, especially since he spoke about the
Eucharist in the vulgar tongue. The putative heretical nature of
this act is clearly observed when one reads a 15th century work by a
certain Dominican who is thought to be Thomas Palmer.
Whoever the Dominican is or was, he writes that the
"holy mysteries" should not be exposed to the
"unsophisticated language of the laity." In other
words, the writer of the document urges that the
English language is incapable of communicating the
"opacity of the eucharistic doctrine." Some examples
and a few others. At any rate, the point is that a
common attitude among clerics of the time was that any
discussion about the Eucharist had to be done in Latin
in order to keep the common folk from discussing such
holy mysteries. But Margaret Aston writes: "It is
surely one of the most remarkable achievements of the
Wycliffites that in the course of a generation they
changed all this." Yes, Wycliffe pointed to
Acts 4:13 as a model for all Christians (pp. 303-314).
Thus, he paved the way for other vernacular
translations of the entire Bible. A heretic? Probably

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Seven Reasons for Excluding the Deuterocanonicals from the Biblical Canon

I have found Neil R. Lightfoot's work about the Bible canon to be a helpful resource. (But for a more detailed account, see Bruce Metzger's work on the NT canon.) Lightfoot outlines seven reasons to "reject" the Deuterocanonicals (also known as the Apocrypha):

1. The books "were never" included in the OT canon.
2. Lightfoot also writes: "These books, as far as the evidence goes, were
never accepted as canonical by Jesus and his apostles." Neither the apostles
nor Jesus quoted from the Apocrypha.
3. No Jewish writer of the first century (such as Philo or Josephus) accepted these books as genuine. Jerome (translator of the Latin Vulgate) likewise believed that these books were "apocryphal."
4. The apocryphal writings contain historical, chronological, and geographical
errors. See Judith 1:1.
5. "There is no evidence that the [LXX] ever had a fixed or closed canon of
6. The books cannot be maintained "on a compromise basis." I.e. The Deuterocanonicals may possibly supplement (at times) or conversely be at odds with Scripture. Therefore, these works must not be accepted at all.
7. The "Roman Catholic Church" pronounced the OT Apocrypha (except 2 Esdras
and the Prayer of Manasseh) as "authoritative and canonical Scripture" at the Council of Trent. Yet conciliar authority is not a sufficient condition for determining a work to be canonical. Prior to Trent, Lightfoot states, there were officials of the "Roman Church" who spoke out against the canonicity of apocryphal works.

These points can be found on pp. 121-122 of Lightfoot's book, the Second edition which was published by the Baker Pub Group in August 1988. The work has since been updated.


Saturday, October 01, 2011

Origen of Alexandria Interpreting Ecclesiastes 12:12

For, to judge by the words of the phrase, 'My son, beware of making many books,' two things appear to be indicated by it: first, that we ought not to possess many books, and then that we ought not to compose many books. If the first is not the meaning the second must be, and if the second is the meaning the first does not necessarily follow. In either case we appear to be told that we ought not to make many books. I might take my stand on this dictum which now confronts us, and send you the text as an excuse, and I might appeal in support of this position to the fact that not even the saints found leisure to compose many books; and thus I might cry off from the bargain we made with each other, and give up writing what I was to send to you. You, on your side, would no doubt feel the force of the text I have cited, and might, for the future, excuse me. But we must treat Scripture conscientiously, and must not congratulate ourselves because we see the primary meaning of a text, that we understand it altogether. I do not, therefore, shrink from bringing forward what excuse I think I am able to offer for myself, and to point out the arguments, which you would certainly use against me, if I acted contrary to our agreement. And in the first place, the Sacred History seems to agree with the text in question, inasmuch as none of the saints composed several works, or set forth his views in a number of books. I will take up this point: when I proceed to write a number of books, the critic will remind me that even such a one as Moses left behind him only five books.

Quote taken from Commentary on the Gospel of John V.2

The Semantics of the Greek Term LOGOS

Many of you are probably quite familiar with the listings and examples in BAGD Greek-English Lexicon [now BDAG] for the word LOGOS. But for the benefit of others, here is what this lexicon has to say:

1a. Speaking (generally, a word). See Matt. 22:46; 1 Pet. 3:1.

1B. Statement, question, pastoral counseling, preaching, prophecy, command, report, story, proclamation, instruction (1 Tim. 5:17; Tit. 1:9; James 3:2).

1g. A statement of definite content (Matt. 12:32).

1d. "The [plural] (oi) LOGOI is used (1) either of words uttered on various occasions, of speeches made here and there (Matt. 12:37a).

1e. The subject under discussion (Acts 8:21).

1z. Of written words and speeches and of the separate books of a particular

work (Acts 1:1).

1b. Of revelation by God (and of the divine disclosure through Christ).

Cf. Heb. 13:7.

2. Computation or reckoning (1 Pet. 3:15).

2b. Settlement of an account (Matt. 18:23; 25:19).

2c. Respect, regard (1 Samuel 10:1 LXX).

2d. Reason, motive (Matt. 5:32).

2e. "With whom we have to do" (Heb. 4:13).

2f. Have a concern for wisdom (possible meaning). Cf. Col. 2:23.

3. The Logos. This sense needs to be quoted directly from BAGD: "Our lit. shows traces of a way of thinking that was widespread in contemporary syncretism, as well as in Jewish wisdom lit. and Philo, the most prominent feature of which is the concept of the Logos, the independent, personified 'Word' (of God): J 1:1a, b, c, 14. It is the distinctive teaching that this divine 'Word' took on human form in a historical person, that is, in Jesus."

On this last point, John Burnet cites the famous Heraclitean fragment that he lists as R.P. 32, in which Heraclitus of Ephesus uses the term LOGOS in this way:

"Though the Word [LOGOS] is true evermore, ye men are as unable to understand it when they have heard it at all. For, though all things come to pass in accordance with this Word [LOGOS], men seem as if they had no experience of them, when they make trial of words and deeds such as I set forth, dividing each thing according to its kind and showing how it truly is. But other men know not what they're doing when awake, even as they forget what they do in sleep."

Burnet then makes the following remarks:

"The LOGOS is primarily the discourse of Heraclitus himself; though, as he is a prophet, we may call it his 'word.' It can neither mean a discourse addressed to Heraclitus nor yet 'reason'" (Early Greek Philosophy, P. 133).

Burnet adds: "In any case, the Johannine doctrine of the LOGOS has nothing to do with Heraclitus or with anything at all in Greek philosophy, but comes from the Hebrew Wisdom literature."

See Rendel Harris, "The Origin of the Prologue to St. John's Gospel," in The Expositor, 1916, pp. 147 sqq.

Hopefully these comments will shed light on the LOGOS definition.