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

The Distinctions between the Persons

In today’s passage, David Chytraeus gives a traditional, classical Western account of the distinctions (discrimina) among the three Persons of the Godhead. He thus teaches the eternal generation of the Son. Chytraeus connects the Son’s intercession and mediation to the Fall, which is to say that the Son became man’s intercessor as soon as the […]

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Archive E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Nota Bene Sacred Doctrine

Augustine and Manducatio Interna

In a striking passage in Confessions 1.13.21, Augustine has this to say about his weeping over the death of Vergil’s Dido while not weeping over his own death: quid enim miserius misero non miserante se ipsum et flente Didonis mortem, quae fiebat amando Aenean, non flente autem mortem suam, quae fiebat non amando te, deus, lumen […]

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Authors Eric Parker Natural Law Nota Bene Philosophy

Listen to Cicero as to a Frog: Alsted on Natural Theology (VI)

In the third theorem of his Theologia naturalis Alsted discusses the issue of non-Christian authors and commends their use even for public preaching, though with certain caveats: III. Præclara ethnicorum dicta Theologica ab eis tanquam iniustis possessoribus, in usum nostrum transferenda sunt. Hoc theorema totidem ferme verbis occurrit apud Augustinum lib. 3. de doctrina Christ. […]

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Archive Early Church Fathers Eric Parker Nota Bene Philosophy

Augustine’s Platonic Eroticism

Phillip Cary offers an informative summary of Augustine’s appropriation of the Platonic concept of love or eros (ἔρος) – the Symposium (a dialogue “περὶ τῶν ἐρωτικῶν λόγων”) is perhaps the most famous dialogue in this regard – and its relationship to his theology of grace and freedom of the will – for those who are interested in further examination […]

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Archive E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Nota Bene

Change and Identity, Infancy and Pre-Infancy, Personhood

In Confessions 1.6.9, Augustine wonders aloud at the stability of his identity, his “ego,” over time as he leaves different stages of life (or they leave him). The issue arises at the beginning of the paragraph, where he writes: et ecce infantia mea olim mortua est et ego vivo (“And behold, my infancy at some […]

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Authors Eric Parker Natural Law Nota Bene Philosophy

Is Natural Theology an Exercise in Neutrality? Alsted on Natural Theology (IV)

Alsted does not directly address the issue of “neutrality” in apologetics, that is, the question of whether one may or should use rational principles in an effort to neither promote nor refute the truth claims of religion, thus establishing a sort of “public space” in which to debate the importance of religion on non-religious grounds. […]

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Archive Eric Parker Natural Law Philosophy Sacred Doctrine

Self-Knowledge as “Foundation” and “Preparation” for Grace?

Although Martin Luther rejected the Roman Catholic notion of “preparatory works” for justification he did not reject the language of preparation altogether. Rather, he writes of the torments of the Law which “shows sin, terrifies, and humbles; thus it prepares us for justification and drives us to Christ” (Luther’s Works, 26:126). For Luther, it is […]

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Andrew Fulford Archive Natural Law Philosophy

The God of Psalm 19

It is perhaps one of the most famous wisdom Psalms, and with good reason. Psalm 19 meditates on creation and the law, distilling their message and benefits for Israel’s choirs. However, for at least two reasons readers today may miss the wisdom of the song. Firstly, David’s brevity assumes wisdom in his audience without providing […]

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Archive Eric Parker Nota Bene

Dissertation on Puritanism and Natural Theology

Speaking of natural theology in the Reformed tradition, a friend directed me to a fairly recent dissertation on the subject by Wallace W. Marshall, entitled “Puritanism and Natural Theology.” Rarely does a dissertation threaten to upend long-standing historical narratives. Marshall’s dissertation does exactly that, adding much needed clarification to this very important issue. Marshall sets […]

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Archive Eric Parker Natural Law Philosophy

Johann Heinrich Alsted: Natural Theology in the Reformed Tradition

The works of Johann Heinrich Alsted (1588-1638) have recently been the subject of research into the nature of theology and philosophy in the Early Modern period, specifically regarding the reception of Ramist and Lullist logic (cf. Howard Hotson’s work for example). Descartes read Alsted’s Encyclopaedia and, though he thought it was a rather curious work, commended the […]