Wednesday, November 9, 2011

An interesting book...




I have been reading the above book online (via Google preview - LINK). It delves into the use of violence (and politics) on the part of Christians in positions of authority (ecclesiastical and secular) against those who differed with them doctrinally.

I hope to purchase this book soon (I am short of funds this month), but until then, I will have to settle with the online preview (fortunately, a good portion of the book is accessable).

From what I have been reading, this book seems to be an excellent companion to Ramsey MacMullen's, Voting About God (linked to, and discussed, in THIS THREAD).


Grace and peace,

David

10 comments:

Drake Shelton said...

Cool Book!

Joel Wilhelm said...

You should read Leithart's "Defending Constantine."

David Waltz said...

Hi Joel,

Thanks much for the heads-up on Leithart's book, "Defending Constantine"; will check into it later today.


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Well Dave, as "an excellent companion" to Voting About God I must admit that it seems you have found another "interesting book" with another repulsive title.

I have explained to you my position of acceptance of prudential, charitable repression of false religion by the temporal power. I am not familiar with any individuals or institutions who goes beyond my position which is seen as radical in the modern West.

Perhaps you could spare me a lengthy internet read? Would you explain the foundation for the author's apparent allegation that the Catholic Church ever taught that "There is no crime for those who have Christ"? Surely that IS what he means? How "interesting" would his proposition be if it did not negatively effect how we must view any institution that would claim continuity with the "Christian Roman Empire"?

The title seems like hyperbolous sensationalism. You know I have grave misgivings for the secular principles of the French and American revolutions as regards its view of the relationship of church and state. But for practical purposes, I am content to live in and participate in the established political order that we have. However, I find the notions anyone could conceive from the outrageous title of this book to be incompatible with any form of church or state that I could support.

Rory

David Waltz said...

Hi Rory,

Thanks for responding; you wrote:

== Well Dave, as "an excellent companion" to Voting About God I must admit that it seems you have found another "interesting book" with another repulsive title.==

Me: I find it more than a bit 'interesting' that you are terming the titles of the two books in question as "repulsive". I find the description of the post-NT councils as a process that included "voting" to be a very accurate one, and not "repulsive" at all.

As for the title of the book that is being focused on in this thread, I will get to that shortly.

==I have explained to you my position of acceptance of prudential, charitable repression of false religion by the temporal power. I am not familiar with any individuals or institutions who goes beyond my position which is seen as radical in the modern West.==

Me: Could you rephrase the above; I don't think I am 'getting' what you are attempting to convey.

==Perhaps you could spare me a lengthy internet read? Would you explain the foundation for the author's apparent allegation that the Catholic Church ever taught that "There is no crime for those who have Christ"? Surely that IS what he means? How "interesting" would his proposition be if it did not negatively effect how we must view any institution that would claim continuity with the "Christian Roman Empire"?==

Me: I have not finished the book yet, and, unfortunately, the online preview does not include the first 31 pages. But, with that said, the thrust of the book seems to focus on certain comments made by Christian apologists to the pre-Constantine Roman persecutions (especially the last, that of Diocletian). It then goes on to document and discuss the implementation of force and persecution by Christians against Christians, and the attempt to justify/rationalize such conduct.

==The title seems like hyperbolous sensationalism. You know I have grave misgivings for the secular principles of the French and American revolutions as regards its view of the relationship of church and state. But for practical purposes, I am content to live in and participate in the established political order that we have. However, I find the notions anyone could conceive from the outrageous title of this book to be incompatible with any form of church or state that I could support.==

Me: Once again, I do not find the title to be "repulsive", but rather, an accurate description of the events that transpired.

Some 'food for thought': I know that many Christians find the description of the extermination of certain peoples of Palestine during the post-Exodus period by the Israelites as GENOCIDE to be a bit "repulsive", but it is an accurate description of the events we find recorded in the OT.

Personally, I prefer blunt accuracy to 'sugar-coating'; but, that is just me...


Grace and peace,

David

Rory said...

Dave,

It seems to me like "voting about God" makes the deliberations sound trivial. I object to the idea that they were voting "about God". It makes it sound like they imagined that they could decide what God is like. They were voting about what they perceived that the Church had always taught. They were voting about what their convictions were with regards to a particular dogma. It could have been about baptism, the priesthood of all believers, or celibacy.

They bore witness with their vote as to what was compatible with the Traditions they had been taught. I trust that you agree. It seems to me that the title is an unedifying attempt to humanize a reasonable and divinely instituted procedure whereby the Church can be assured as to what the Church Herself teaches.

As for the second title, one does not need to claim oneself to be above all law in order to find revelation that argues in favor of suppression by the temporal power. The title seems to suggest that if one ever defends the rights of the State to suppress religious error, if it so chooses, it is because of some principle that proposes that Christians are above the law.

Apparently, this author is proposing that this teaching about Christians supposedly being beyond earthly law was the teaching of the post-Nicene Fathers. If the charge can be substantiated with a broad consensus of the Fathers, I would be very very disturbed indeed. I can't think of a more ungodly and awful doctrine.

If it seems worthwhile I'll try to clarify another time what I thought my views were with regards to principles for state suppression of error. But if this author is correct as to what the Catholic Church teaches, who would care what I believe anyway? If this author is correct, my high principles and distinctions mean nothing anyway. I would either have to believe the repulsive doctrine or cease being Catholic.

Rory

Lvka said...

An interesting book...


Yeah.. it WAS interesting.. like about a MONTH ago.. but it kinda got OLD and boring in the mean time.. wouldn't you agree? ;)

David Waltz said...

Hi Lvka,

Late Friday evening (PST) you posted:

==Yeah.. it WAS interesting.. like about a MONTH ago.. but it kinda got OLD and boring in the mean time.. wouldn't you agree? ;)==

Me: I cannot agree with either assessment ("OLD and boring"). While the book is probably 'dry' for most folk, I found the presentation to be 'cutting-edge', and for the most part 'neutral'. The coverage of the period (Augustine to Nestorius) is quite exhaustive, delving into a number of factors that contributed to the theological battles of the period.

Now, with that said, I would be interested in hearing what you found to be "OLD and boring"...


Grace and peace,

David

Lvka said...

LOL! What I meant was: you haven't posted anything in over a month now... :-) (Your post is getting old).

David Waltz said...

Hi Lvka,

Ooops...sorry that I missed what you were attempting to convey. As for new threads, I am currently listening to, and researching, a couple of recent debates. I am waiting for some books to arrive that are directly related to the debates, and may be posting some of my reflections soon.


God bless,

David