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Confessing Eternity: Karl Barth and the Western Tradition

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Confessing Eternity: Karl Barth and the Western Tradition

Adrian Langdon

Christian theological reflection on the divine perfections has combined two major traditions: the biblical narrative, which centers on the self-revelation of God, and Greek philosophical sources. It may be argued that these culminate in the via triplex and analogical reflection. The Greek philosophical tradition primarily defined the divine being negatively, in distinction from human and created existence, while Christianity claims a positive unveiling of the triune divine nature. The Christian revelation complements the via negativa with a via positiva (or via causalitatus). Yet, as Aquinas argues, description of God’s being is not merely univocal; God still transcends normal language and description. Thus the analogical language of the via eminentiae is necessary.1 God is love, for example, but he is love in a most eminent way, the ultimate measure and source of love as demonstrated on the cross and with the resurrection.

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Introduction: What Is Meditation?

Patricia Monaghan New World Library ePub

Meditation means many things to many people. To some, it means simple relaxation; to others, a deep blissful surrender to the divine. To some, meditation means rigorously following a prescribed path; to others, it means exploring a path unique to the self.

Meditation can be any or all of these things, but however it is defined, it is always a practice. Whether that practice means sitting still or moving, reading inspirational words or emptying the mind of all words, meditation is something we do. This book will present you with many ways to meditate, but you will not know what works for you until you put the practices into action.

Meditation involves choice. You choose to be present — now, now, now, and now. Meditation is a practice of training your attention by focusing it on something in the present moment, such as a flower, a candle, a sound, or your own breath. Through the practice, the mind settles down.

Meditation is not a religion. It is not a doctrine or something to be acquired. Meditation is play rather than work. While you are playing, your mind is open. As long as you practice with a lightness of approach, you will experience freedom from desire and ambition.

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25 The Prisoners’ Daily Life

Yitzhak Arad Indiana University Press ePub

The routine of the prisoners’ daily life began early in the morning, usually at four o’clock. In the summer at this time it was already light, but in the winter it was still pitch dark. Rudolf Reder described the start of the day in Belzec:

At 3:30 in the morning the Askar [Ukrainian] who guarded the barrack during the night knocked on the door and shouted: “Get up! Get up!” Before we could even rise, the bully Schmidt burst in and rushed us out with a whip. We ran out with one shoe in our hand, and sometimes even barefoot. Usually we slept in our clothes and shoes because we had no time to get dressed in the morning. . . . We got up feeling miserable and tired. The same feeling we had gone to sleep with.1

As the prisoners got up, the entire area of the Jews’ living barracks came alive. The doors of huts were opened from the outside by the Ukrainians and the urination and excrement bowls were taken to the toilets. The huts were cleaned, the blankets were folded, and the prisoners were allowed to leave for their meager breakfast, which was followed by roll call.

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6 Religion of the Home: Food and Faith

Jeffrey Veidlinger Indiana University Press ePub

When Mendl Osherowitch visited a Ukrainian shtetl in 1932, he lamented that the Sabbath was barely distinguishable from any other day:

In the street . . . it does not feel like Sabbath. Rarely does a Jew do anything different on this day than any other day of the week. There is simply nothing to do. And in the home, there is also no sign of Sabbath food or white challah. People have already forgotten the taste of challah.

The synagogue, the old synagogue, which is locked for almost the entire week, is opened on this day. It is opened by the caretaker, an elderly, beaten-down Jew, in whose heart beats not a single shard of hope. And people say that every time he takes down the lock of the synagogue, tears flow. When he closes the synagogue up again, he cries even more.

Jews come into the synagogue, they pray quickly and leave for home quietly. And at home they catch a little rest from their hard work—and in the shtetl it is hard to find a Jew who doesn’t have to work hard: either they are in a kolkhoz [collective farm] or in an artel, and if they are not in an artel, they work so hard in order to earn a piece of bread. They rest a little from their hard work, and this they call observing the Sabbath.1

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Martin Luther after 500 Years

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Martin Luther after 500 Years

Bruce D. Marshall

Five hundred years ago this past October, on the eve of All Saints—what we call Halloween—a young theology professor at a provincial German university posted a set of theses for academic debate.1 The university was in the northeast German town of Wittenberg, and the professor was Martin Luther, a monk and priest two weeks shy of his thirty-fourth birthday. His aim was a standard academic exercise, a public disputation on a series of contested points, so his theses were written in Latin, the universal academic language of Europe at the time. The subject of his theses was the theology and practice of indulgences. Indulgences had been a standard part of Western medieval religious life for several centuries, one part of a much larger picture about sin, forgiveness, and reconciliation with God and one’s community. Luther was moved to post his “Disputation to Clarify the Power of Indulgences,” to recall its formal title, by his lively irritation over the way a particular indulgence tied to the building of the new St. Peter’s basilica in Rome was, with papal approval, being preached and sold in north Germany at the time. But the proper understanding of indulgences, of what they could and could not do, was already a topic of running controversy, and a good deal of what Luther had to say in his ninety-five theses had already been said by others.

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