What are you currently reading?

Discussion in 'Arts, Literature, and Games' started by Old Christendom, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I think it is. It's not a work of theology as The Pilgrim's Progress is, certainly, but Eco knows his theology and church history, and he gets it right in the book. I do think the book is rather anachronistic in lots of ways; Brother William of Baskerville often strikes me as a thinly-veiled copy of Sherlock Holmes rather than a Medieval Franciscan monk. But I suppose you have to sacrifice a bit of historical accuracy to make the story more palatable to modern audiences. (I did like the fact that in the novel Brother William was a member of the Inquisition; it gives him a bit of complexity in his character.)

    One thing I love about the novel is its investigation of the love of books not for the wisdom they contain, but as idols -- it's no accident that for all the to-do about the Aedificum and the books inside, we never get much of a glimpse as to what those forbidden books contain. Even with the Finis Africae, we only get hints. (Polanski plays the same trick in The Ninth Gate, a much inferior work that steals a lot from Eco's book).

    I also like Ellis Peters' Cadfael novels, which are rather like Medieval mystery stories but the eponymous Welsh monk Cadfael as the protagonist.
     
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  2. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Well, it was popular in semiotics courses when it first came out (the whole signifier/signified thing). But its outlived the semiotics fad and stands quite well on its own. Foucault's Pendulum...not so much.
     
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  3. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    It occurs to me that if the readers here like The Name of the Rose, they will probably also like Gene Wolfe's Latro in the Mist*. Wolfe is generally known for his science-fiction, but this book is...something else. It's usually shelved with fantasy novels because nobody knows where else to put it. It's a complicated, intricate, and hard-to-explain novel about a Roman mercenary who receives a head wound while fighting in Greece and cannot remember anything that happened prior to the current day. He must write everything that happens to him in a scroll, which he must read every morning to refesh his mind. But...he's never sure if his previous self is telling the truth. The story is full of strange creatures, gods and goddesses, famous persons. In a sense, Latro is "reborn" every single morning, a totally new person, and his only knowledge of himself is the scroll he writes. Latro is a wonderful character, but (deliberately, inevitably) an unreliable narrator. How much of what he writes can we believe? How much does he believe?

    This book can be tough sledding, and it helps to have at least a little bit of knowledge about ancient Greek culture and the Greek language to get the full effect, but it's really a great book. It's an artifact from a time when fantasy stories didn't depend on vampires or Harry Potter.

    *It's actually a combination of three shorter novels called "Soldier of the Mist", "Soldier of Arete", and "Soldier of Sidon".
     
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  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That’s really cool, will definitely consider getting it!
     
  5. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    Letter and Spirit by Scott Hahn. I generally place Hahn in the same category as Alistair McGrath, someone who doesn't necessarily represent his own ecclessial community particularly well. I have found some of his introductory assertions fascinating though, particularly in light of the recent edict of the Pope. Hahn asserts that the change to the 3 year lectionary was much more significant than the change to the new vernacular Missals. He viewed that as a positive in this 15 year old work. I wonder if his assessment remains the same.
     
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  6. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    My copy of The Gospel According to a Sitcom Writer by James Cary just arrived. It's supposed to be reverent and entertaining, but I'm skeptical. Will be a week or two until I can get around to starting it.
     
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  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Right now I’m (slowly) working through Gilbert Burnet’s Exposition of the 39 Articles, and Francis Hall’s Dogmatic Theology. Both are of interest to me because they concern the peculiarly American expression of Anglican theological thought, Burnet’s work having been the primary dogmatic text used in Episcopal seminaries for much of the 19th century, and thus acting as a common reference point for evangelicals, Tractarians, and Broad Churchmen. Hall would have studied Burnet’s text during his own training, and so tracing the continuity between his own Anglo-Catholic approach and what had been traditional in the Episcopal Church since the Revolutionary War should be a profitable exercise.
     
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  8. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Well, we have a new word to add to our postmodern lexicon: gaytheism.

    The wicked flee when no one pursues (Prov. 28:1).
     
  9. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I am reading Wilkiens First Thousand Years of Christian History now. I am about 3 pages in
     
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  10. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    An excellent work. I loaned a copy to the previous church history professor at the seminary and he sneakily never returned it. He had been using some crusty old tome from the close of the 19th century. I told him, Fr. There are much better books out there.

    I like it well enough that I bought another copy.
     
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  11. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I just picked up Bishop Peter Akinola's memoir Who Blinks First? It's Akinola's account (through interviews with the writer Gbenga Gbesan) of GAFCON's birth and formation up to the current time. I've long wanted to read up on the history of the ACNA and GAFCON, and what better source than Akinola himself?

    I've only read a little way, and it's a corker already. It's pretty obvious that Akinola is still furious about the way he (and the African Anglican churches as a body) was treated by Rowan Williams and the rest of the Lambeth crowd. This book is not reasoned theology or academic history; it is a polemic, and the language is at times raw and angry.

    If you are interested in the cultural and church-political background of the Anglican Realignment and the formation of GAFCON, I'd recommend this book. If you're aligned with CofE or TEC, it'll probably just make you mad.
     
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  12. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The ACNA folks here might be interested in a new series from Crossway: "The Reformation Anglicanism Essential Library".

    The first book, Reformation Anglicanism (Null, Ashley and Yates, John W., eds.) is a series of essays by various ACNA and GAFCON alums going over the history and theology behind the Reformation Anglican movement. The second volume, Anglican Mission, is now out, and the third volume, Reformation Anglican Worship, is due out early next year.

    I think these books are meant to undergird the 2019 BCP, and to ground both the theology and church practice of ACNA in a Reformation-era historical and theological framework. This is clear as the first volume is mostly an Anglican exposition of the solas of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Soli Deo Gloria. I wouldn't go so far as to call it a systematic theology like Calvin's Institutes, but rather an expansion and extension of the 2008 Jerusalem Declaration. Given the provenance of the editors and contributors, I think is fair to say that this book series is the closest thing we currently have to a statement of "official doctrine" in ACNA and GAFCON.
     
  13. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I wouldn't agree with that. Firstly, anything official would have to come through official Gafcon channels. The Jerusalem Declaration is official. Private essays by private individuals is not. As we know very well, Anglicanism can be polemical at this moment in history, so we need to steer very clear of private individuals inserting their agenda into 'official' church documents.

    Secondly, it is well known that Ashley Null is pretty polemical. This is not an impartial representer of historical data, but rather the starting point is with an agenda, and the historical data is made to fit that. For example I doubt he would assert the divine right of episcopacy as a 'Reformational Anglican' doctrine despite it being heavily represented in the Elizabethan Church. That's why we should steer very clear of agendas being considered official. As a private book, though, sure, it's worth perusing and considering.
     
  14. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Michael Nazir-Ali and Ben Kwashi are also contributors, and Nicholas Okoh and Mouneer Amis blurbed the book favorably. Foley Beach's name isn't on the cover, but I have to think he's fully on board with this given his speaking and writing over the years. That makes it pretty "official", in my view.

    I know there is a lot of angst from the Anglo-Catholic and High Church factions that fear an Evangelical takeover, but I don't understand the reason for it. I also don't understand the resistance to grounding Anglican theology and belief in the Reformation -- certainly Cranmer's theological and episcopal views are echoed here. What is the "agenda" you see?
     
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  15. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Not having read the book yet, I'm primarily reacting against the evangelical books of this type in prior years. Actually I'm reacting to Ashley Null in particular, who has made a bad name of making polemical books that try to influence and set agendas. Perhaps he has softened in recent years and allowed the full Anglicanism to be present in his books. In his previous books he definitely took a more polemical stance that was more agenda driven. Just as we don't want anglo-catholic agenda in our history, similarly we don't want the evangelical agenda.

    That agenda, in a nutshell, is the same one pursued by the Evangelicals of the 19th century, to re-fashion the Anglican tradition as something which was born in the 16th century, and 'just one of many protestant churches'.

    Here are some facts from the Anglican Reformation that the Evangelicals expend a lot of effort to suppress:
    -the Reformers directly categorized the Anglican Church as being born in the 1st-2nd centuries AD. Not a single Reformer I know would say that the CofE "was created in the 16th century".
    -the Reformers saw themselves as Catholics. They would never accept viewing that era as being between "Catholics and Protestants".
    -they cared very much about things like apostolic succession, there being a 'proper' ordination (as against the Nag's Head Fable), and in general ensuring that they could trace their ordinations of bishops to antiquity.
    -they did not see themselves as indebted to some prior "more serious" Protestant school of thought, be it Wittenberg or Geneva. They saw the Anglican tradition as fully authoritative and substantial in its own right.
    -The Church Fathers played a foundational role for them, unlike those on the Continent. They heavily pored over the teachings of the church fathers and didn't think very much of the writings of modern teachers. As Lancelot Andrews says, "we follow neither Calvin nor the Popes, except insofar they agree with the teachings of the church fathers."
    -doctrinal teachings like 'jure divino episcopacy' are heavily taught in the latter Elizabethan period. That's Reformational Anglican doctrine, later codified in the 1662 Prayer book. But in the evangelical version of history, Anglicans had 'open borders' with anyone self-identifying as protestant.

    In short, the evangelical version of history (which I no longer assert is represented in the volume, not having read it), distorts the Anglican tradition by defining it as 'against Rome', without taking into account the later civil war, the schisms and dissent from the puritans, the persecutions and destruction of churches by Cromwell, and the resulting Anglican conviction that we are as far from most Protestants as we are from Rome. We have our own tradition, which can't be equated or subsumed under any other.

    We are Catholics, perhaps the only particular Church in the world today that most closely resembles the culture and beliefs of the first 5 centuries of Christendom. The Reformation was a good, but only insofar as it brought us to that state. The reformation is not itself foundational in the same way that being an apostolic Christian is. Anyway that's all I want to say here since I don't want to take anyone off track. Sorry, I should post what I'm reading when I have the chance!
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2021
  16. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    With that clarification, I understand where you're coming from. I don't agree -- I consider the modern Anglican church, and even more so ACNA, to be a Reformation-era church -- but I do understand your argument.

    Modern Anglicans, in my experience, have a terribly difficult time explaining themselves. Ask ten Anglicans to answer the question, "What is an Anglican?" and you'll get ten different answers. J. I. Packer tells a funny story about this in his book The Heritage of Anglican Theology:
    My own take on this is that GAFCON and ACNA are now separated from the historic church of England. Global Anglicanism is a different thing; we share a root system with the mother church, but have forked off into our own branch.* "Anglicanism" now is what the Africans decide it's going to be, whether we like it or not. And the African imprint of Anglicanism came from the English missionaries in the 18th and 19th centuries. World Anglicanism is a Reformation church, regardless of what goes on in England. Now if you say that the Reformers were recovering orthodox Christianity from Roman Catholic error, I agree with you; but I do not agree that this is all there was to the Reformation. (Nor would the Reformers say so, I assert.) Reformation Christianity is, well, reformed -- it's not a throwback to 1st century Christianity, because no one knows what that looked like, or what the actual rubber-meets-the-road theology was. (Historically speaking, the early Christian churches were a syncretic disaster area, and remained so until the Council of Nicea some centuries later.)

    The project of the Reformation wasn't just to discard Roman Catholic error; it was also to build up a coherent theological foundation based on a return to Scriptural first principles. To the extent that the Reformation had a fully-formed early-church antecedent, it was Augustine.

    *Nor is this a recent development. I'd argue that this process of forking started with the Puritan immigration in North America in the early 17th century.
     
  17. Ananias

    Ananias Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I am not blind to the fact ACNA is better defined by what it's not rather than by what it is, by the way. ACNA is the remnant of orthodox Anglican faith in North America, but that encompasses the full spectrum of Anglican theology and church practice. From low-church Evangelicalism to Anglo-Catholicism, ACNA has gathered the orthodox faithful in. But we are never going to be a completely harmonious province: we have as many differences as similarities. We've tabled issues like Women's Ordination to avoid disunity, but that will only last for so long. Right now we are unified only in our opposition to homosexual marriage and homosexual clergy, but if ACNA is to survive and grow, it has to come to a consensus over theology and church practice. And this consensus will have to be enforced by the episcopate, and this in particular is where my concerns lie -- I hope ACNA leadership has the belly not just to guide and nurture, but also to punish when necessary. If the GAFCON/ACNA effort fails, it will be due to internal division, not external pressure.
     
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  18. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono.
     
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  19. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    What is it about?
     
  20. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    It is a book I was going to read about thinking some 30 years ago. Essentially it proposes an alternative method for decision making, planning, and solving complex problems to the traditional adversarial approach. I honestly think the Church could make good use of it, and in a way it reflects the methodology of Acts 15,