Jordan Ballor Nota Bene

Berman on Historical Fallacies

Here is an insightful section from Harold Berman outlining the ways in which historical frameworks (e.g. ancient, medieval, modern) can obscure rather than clarify: In addition to nationalist fallacies, legal historiography has suffered also from religious fallacies, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, which have obscured the continuity between the Catholic Middle Ages and post-Reformation modern […]

Archive Authors Civic Polity Corpus Iuris Civilis E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

The Right of Appeal and Constitutional Order

It is well known that the Apostle Paul appeals to his Roman citizenship to notify the Roman military tribune in Acts 22 that he should not be flogged. He later, in Acts 25, appeals to Caesar in order to gain a just hearing with respect to the charges leveled against by the “chief priests and […]

Archive Civic Polity Economics Reformed Irenicism Steven Wedgeworth

Law, Charity, and Politics

I appreciated Andrew Fulford’s recent essay on the relationship between the classic Protestant understanding of supererogatory works and civil polity. He gets down to the basic theological and philosophical distinctions that the older Protestant thinkers made regarding law, justice, charity, and the political life of the commonwealth. However, I was left feeling that Mr. Fulford had […]

Authors Eric Parker Natural Law

Calvin’s Solution to an Aristotelian Cosmological Problem

Many of John Calvin’s references to Aristotelian cosmology occur during his later years, representing his mature theology. Christopher Kaiser has shown that Calvin viewed the universe through the lens of Aristotelian natural philosophy. He accepted such ideas as the concept of natural place (the earth is the center of the spheres due to its weight), […]

Andrew Fulford Authors Civic Polity Economics Reformed Irenicism

Horst Hutter on Our Politics of Friendship

What is a friend worth? The Preacher taught us long ago: Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has not another to help him up. […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

The Four Heads of Christian Duty

When I was younger, the acronym “ACTS” was a popular shorthand for helping people to remember how to pray. The four letters stand for: Adoration; Confession; Thanksgiving; Supplication. We begin with God, and move on to sin, the solution for sin, and intercession for others. In a similar vein, John Calvin believes that all Christian duty–non […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Sacred Doctrine

Lex Superaddita

In Institutes 2.7.1, Calvin discusses why the Law was “superadded” at Sinai. The giving of the Law to Moses and, through him, to Israel can only be properly understood, he believes, when connected with the end of the Law, which was always Christ and the spiritual worship of God by a “kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” This […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

On Hemmingsonian Hexameters

Niels Hemmingsen makes use of the standard division of the law into three uses in the Enchiridion Theologicum (I may return at some point to his discussion more broadly). The first use (usus) he discusses is the usus politicus, the “political” or “civil” use of the law, which consists in “external discipline” (externa disciplina). He notes that his […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine

Hemmingsen’s Principium of Theology (2)

Last time we noted that Niels Hemmingsen finds two “prefaces” (prooemia) to the Decalogue: “And God spoke all these words, saying” and “‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery’”). In the first, the (inspired) authorial comment that precedes God’s speech reported in […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Natural Law Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

Hemmingsen on the Tripartita Legis Distinctio (1)

In the Enchiridion theologicum,  Niels Hemmingsen holds to the traditional threefold distinction of the Law (ceremonial, judicial, moral). His comments on the lex ceremonialis are exceedingly brief: it is entirely abolished (tota…abolita est), together with the Aaronic priesthood–insofar the matter pertains to its use (usum), not its “signification” (significationem). Nam res quas figurabant, ceremoniae sunt aeternae: “For the […]