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Strand Noll, Mark A. Stanford, ed. Augsburger World Sattler, Gary. Augsburger Smith, Ralph L. Micah-Malachi Arthur J. Copyright g by Andrews University Press. Even in Zurich the commemoration was rather subdued. No major international congress gathered in that city; not even a commemorative stamp was issued.

Somehow, Zwingli is considered by many as a reformer of mostly local significance, who did not make a major contribution to the church at large. While there are clearly identified Lutherans and Calvinists all over the world, where are the Zwinglians It would be a grave mistake, however, to look upon Zwingli as a man who grew up within the narrow confines of an Alpine valley, far out of touch with the rest of the world.

It is true that Zwingli remained a Swiss in language and ways, but his education took him to two of the most vibrant centers of humanism of the time, Vienna and Basel, and he had among his teachers some highly respected humanists. His master at Basel, Amerbach, was the editor of the works of Augustine that Luther used. As a chaplain to Swiss mercenary soldiers in Italy, Zwingli knew Italy as one who had lived there, not merely as a visiting scholar.

There he came in contact with some of the worst social cancers of his age. He knew first-hand the dissolution, the greed, the social diseases which accompany troops in a foreign land. When Zwingli came to Zurich, he had a vision that was far wider than that of the men who grew up in the small villages of the Toggenburg. He knew the world, and his ministry and his writings were concerned with the problems of the world. By blending together the concern for truth and life, he is the fountainhead of the reformed tradition.

By his insistence on a church doctrine, a church polity, and a Christian society that are clearly and exclusively grounded in the Scriptures, he is the spiritual father of the reformed strand of the Protestant family. Centrality of God's Word in Zwingli's Thought Much of Zwingli's attitude and thought can be explained by what was probably the most significant experience of his life. In his sermon on "The Clarity and the Certainty of the Word of God," he says I know for certain that God teaches me, because I have experienced the fact of it and to prevent misunderstanding this is what I mean when I say that I know for certain that God teaches me.

When I was younger, I gave myself overmuch to human teaching, like others of my day, and when about seven or eight years ago I undertook to devote myself entirely to the Scriptures I was always prevented by philosophy and theology. But eventually I came to the point where led by the Word and Spirit of God I saw the need to set aside all these things and to learn the doctrine of God direct from his own Word. Then I began to ask God for light and the Scriptures became far clearer to meeven though I read nothing elsethan if I had studied many commentators and expositors.

Note that this is always a sure sign of God's leading, for I could never have reached that point by my own feeble understanding. You may see then that my interpretation does not derive from the over-estimation of myself but the subjection. First, he holds to a radical concept of scriptura sola, with a frank and a thoroughgoing contempt for teachings that are of human origin.

For him, traditional theology and philosophy are not only unnecessary; they are detrimental, because they prevent a seeker for truth from learning directly from the Word. Even commentaries should be shunned one must learn directly from the sacred text itself. Also, Zwingli is absolutely certain that he understands the Bible properly. It is clear and self-explanatory when one depends on the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, who gives not only an inner witness to the authority of the biblical writings but also the correct 'In Zwingli and Bullinger, trans.

Bromiley, LCC 24 Philadelphia, , pp. On the reformed tradition, see John H. Leith, Introduction to the Reformed Tradition Atlanta, For Zwingli, therefore, the knowledge of truth is the ultimate experience of man. It occupies in his life and thought the place that the assurance of forgiveness of sin and divine favor has in Luther. With Zwingli, the humanist "ad fontes" takes a totally new dimension of being the key to all spiritual enlightenment.

Direct contact with the Scriptures provides a form of mystical ecstasy, the assurance of the proximity of the divine that does away with the need for the "mysteries" of traditional Catholicism, its elaborate ritual in a foreign tongue, and its dependence on music, vestments, and incense to produce an elevation of the soul to God. Zwingli would vehemently reject the accusation commonly heard these days that reformed worship is a barren, didactic experience that says little to the heart or the imagination of the worshiper and fails to provide an experience of the presence of the divine.

For the reformer of Zurich, there is no time when God is so near as when he speaks directly to a person through his Word. Thus, Zwingli could substitute preaching for the Mass, the spoken word for the visual experience of a sacrifice on the altar of the church, without fear of impoverishing the spiritual impact of public worship. With this conviction, he could let go of the magisterium of the church, because too often church councils have depended on human reason and compromise to achieve their objectives.

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To the vicar of the bishop of Constance, who asserted that the church assembled in council in the name of the Holy Spirit cannot err, Zwingli replied "But when he says what has been decreed by councils and fathers is to be obeyed like the Gospels I say what is as true as the Gospels and in accordance with the divine Spirit one is bound to obey, but 2 The witness of the Spirit is usually given as the ground of the authority of Scripture. IV, in Reformed Confessions of the 16th Century, ed.

Arthur C. Cochrane Philadelphia, , p. Thus, we have in Zurich the public debates held under the sovereignty of the sacred writings. If there is any disagreement, those writings are the proper arbiter in religious matters. As he speaks to the vicar, he says I beg of him for the sake of God and of Christian love to show me the place and location, also of the words of the Scripture, where it is written that one should pray to the saints as mediators, so that if I have erred, and err now, I may be better instructed, since there are here present Bibles in the Hebrew, Greek and Latin languages.

These we will have examined by those present who are sufficiently well taught in the above-mentioned tongues. It is the duty of each individual to learn for himself, to verify for himself, what he is being taught. This certainly announces the reformed layman, who reads the Scriptures for himself and who can discuss theological issues with opponents of his faith. This justifies also Zwingli's concept of the church. The true church is never an assembly of high church officials, but is a collectivity of individuals who depend exclusively upon the Word and the will of God I ask what is meant by "Church" Does one mean the pope at Rome with his tyrannical power and the pomp of cardinals and bishops greater than that of all emperors and princes then I say that this Church has often gone wrong and erred as everyone knows.

But there is another Church which the popes do not wish to recognize; this one is no other than all right Christians, collected in the name of the Holy Ghost and by the will of God, which have placed a firm belief and an unhesitating hope in God, her spouse. That Church does not reign according to the flesh powerfully upon earth, nor does it reign arbitrarily, but depends and rests only upon the word and will of God, does not seek 3 Acts of the First Zurich Disputation, in Ulrich Zwingli Selected Works, ed.

Samuel M. Jackson ; reprint ed. That Church cannot err. At any rate, this divine illumination is a requirement because man by nature cannot come to faith. The presence of belief is a sure sign of the activity of God Since, therefore, it is clear that whoever upon hearing the words "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," immediately believes that the world is the work of God does not come to that through the power of the words or of our intellect for if the words could effect this, all would be made pious; and, if our intellect could, no one who heard would be impious, it is manifest that the faithful believe that God exists, and that the world is His work, etc.

It is of God alone, therefore, that you believe that God exists and that you have faith in him. Men do not believe merely because they hear someone assert something. More people who hear disbelieve than believe. The presence of faith is, therefore, always the evidence of a divine illumination.

For the same reason, truth among Christians and among non-Christians comes from the same source "If certain men have uttered certain truths on this subject, it has been from the 'mouth of God, who has scattered even among the heathen some 5 Ibid. XXI, in Reformed Confessions, p. Being created in the image of God was not only being endowed with mental and moral capacities but especially being driven by a yearning for the experience of hearing the word of God Man has this in common with God, not merely that he is rational, but that he looks to God and to the words of God, thus signifying that by nature he is more closely related, more nearly akin to God, far more like God, all of which undoubtedly derives from the fact that he is created in the divine image Several pages later Now if we have found that the inward man is as stated, and that it delights in the law of God because it is created in the divine image in order to have fellowship with him, it follows necessarily that there is no law or word that will give greater delight to the inward man than the word of God.

To be truly human is to live to hear and understand God's Word. Man will be frustrated and restless as long as he turns to human words. Happiness can only be found in listening to God's communication. The rationale for the reformed obsession with religion, for giving a religious significance to all the acts of life, appears here. To commune with God is not something that is abnormal and which must be reserved to the moments of worship, but it is the purpose of every instant of life.

Communing with God is not an extraordinary experience that easily makes the one who does it somewhat peculiar or strange, but it is the most natural function of a being created in the image of God. It is also easy, according to Zwingli, to distinguish between true and false religion. True religion is suited to the nature of man. It is built on the word of God; false religion is built on the word of man. A pious man cannot rely upon church traditions. His very nature rebels against that. Zwingli sets forth his position as follows 'True and False Religion, p.

Conversely, it follows that the pious man cannot feed on any other word than the divine. For as he trusts in God alone, so he is made sure by His word alone, so he accepts the word of none but God. Nothing, therefore, of ours is to be added to the Word of God, and nothing taken from His word by rashness of ours. And I intend to be taught by him and not by men, that is, in respect to doctrine. For in respect of sin and disobedience I will be subject to all.

All the subtleties of Aristotelian logic are no match for the simple illumination of the Holy Spirit. In True and False Religion, Zwingli calls the reformation the "renascent word. According to Bullinger, he committed to memory the epistles of Paul in the original language. Harold Knight Philadelphia, , p. This has been attained, God be praised, that now a priest who is diligent may learn and know as much in two or three years concerning the Scriptures as formerly in ten or fifteen years.

Therefore I wish all the priests who have benefices under my lords of Zurich or in their counties. For I also am not ashamed to read German at times, on account of easier presentation. For matters have reached such a state that also the laymen and women know more of the Scriptures than some priests and clergymen. Matthew, especially the v. After that let him read the other gospels, so that he may know what they write and say. After that he should take the Acts.

After this the epistles of Paul but first the one to the Galatians. Then the epistle of St. Peter and other divine texts; thus he can readily form within himself a right Christian life, and become more skillful to teach this better to others also. After that let him work in the Old Testament, in the prophets and other books of the Bible, which, I understand, are soon to appear in Latin and German.

But when something is found in them which is like the gospel, then the gospel should be quoted. Zwingli's dependence upon the sacred texts leads him to a kind of prooftext use of the Scriptures that is especially observable in his True and False Religion. For instance, in the chapter on God, after 15First Zurich Disputation, pp.

He interrupts himself at times to ask for divine illumination. For instance, as he is about to discuss the significance of the gospel, he stops and writes "Since by human discourse, however rich, the untaught mind cannot be persuaded in the things of faith unless the Lord so teach and draw the heart that it delights to follow, we must also appear to him. May the Lord put the right words in my mouth"" It was around the Word that the prophesyings at Zurich were conducted. Every day at a. One person read the text for the day in Latin, another gave the Hebrew, while a third provided the reading in the Greek Septuagint and explained the passage.

Then the practical use was shown. Suggestions were made on how to preach on that text, and finally someone would preach a sermon in German on the passage that had been studied. Even though it is very hard to do this, yet they do it, because they are unwilling to lose the soul's treasure when it has been found. Zwingli does not distinguish in the Decalogue between laws grounded on natural law and therefore binding on all mankind and laws given exclusively to the Jews. He says "The law is nothing else than the eternal will of God.

The law is therefore nothing else than teachings as to the will of God, through which we understood what He wills, what He wills not, what He demands, what He forbids. But that the will of God is permanent, so that He is never going to change any part of that law which has to do with the inner man, is evident from the words of the lawgiver himself. For him, salvation is much more than the forgiveness of sin and relief from the sense of guilt before God.

Defining the gospel, he states "The gospel. True and False Religion, p. In the Institutes 2. For God has so depicted His character in the law that if any man carries out in deeds whatever is enjoined there, he will express the image of God, as it were, in his own life. In the Catechism, Calvin writes "Now Christians make a far different use of the law than those without faith can make of it.

For where the Lord has engraved on our hearts the love of His righteousness, the outward teaching of the law which previously was accusing us of nothing but transgression is now a lantern for our feet to keep us from wandering away from the straight path.

It is our wisdom by which we are formed and instructed in complete righteousness. It is our discipline which does not permit us to abandon ourselves in more wicked license" trans. Ford L. Battles Pittsburgh, , p. For those benefits are connected together by an eternal and indissoluble bond" Calvin, Inst. He proclaims, therefore, at the start, that our lives and characters must be changed. For to be a Christian is nothing less than to be a new man and a new creature 2 Cor What is renewed is the heart.

Through the Holy Spirit, the person knows himself. The power of selfdeception of sin is broken. The renewed individual stops trusting his goodness, his wisdom, and puts his hopes in God alone. As the body brings forth carnal works, this person sorrows over the wretched evidence of the power of the "old man" in him, but he refuses to give up.

Zwingli states "This, then, is the Christian life when the hope in God through Christ never wavers, even though man through the weakness of the flesh is not without sin, yet comes out victorious because he does not surrender himself to it, but as often as he falls always rises again.

As Gottfried Locher states "Thus of all the reformers Zwingli is the most conscious reformer not only of the faith of the church, or even of the personal Christian life, but rather of the whole life of Christendom. For him, even the order of worship reflects the action of the Word. The prayer of confession must follow the sermon, for confession without a true exposition of the Word is only hypocrisy; but after the Scripture has been heard, it is possible to have genuine common prayer.

The promise of forgiveness of sin comes before, rather than after, the sermon. That is what God seeks when he appoints some26 True and False Religion, p. Christian love makes man a good citizen and a good magistrate. The state has everything to gain from the influence of the church, and the latter benefits from the protection of the state.

No state, therefore, will be happier than that in which also true religion dwells. Take away from the magistrate, who is above the fear of man, the fear of God and you make him a tyrant. Infuse into the tyrant the fear of God and of his own accord he will do more freely and faithfully what the law orders than any terror could have caused him to, and out of a tyrant you will make a father on the pattern of Him whom as a result of faith he begins to fear and to serve, namely God.

This ideal was expressed in what John Knox called the most perfect school of Christ at Geneva. In the Institutes, John Calvin has stated "For what great zeal for uprightness, for prudence, gentleness, selfcontrol, and for innocence ought to be required of themselves those who know that they have been ordained ministers of divine justice" 32 The unique authority and importance of Scriptures for Zwingli, therefore, cannot be overemphasized.

It stands at the heart of his theology and his actions. We must remember also that in his sermon on the clarity of Scriptures in , Zwingli had joined certainty with the clarity of the Word, which, for the reformer, 30True and False Religion, p. Changing Approach in Bible Study It is interesting to note that this second dimensionthis illumination by the Holy Spiritis greatly toned down in some of Zwingli's later writings. In the Treatise on Baptism , he states "I ask all believers to read and ponder my words with Christian good-will and charity, not allowing themselves to be so hardened by contentiousness or obstinacy that they will not accept that which they clearly perceive, but obscure by controversy.

It could be purely the result of persuasion through the evidence that has been offered. In his work On the Lord's Supper , he describes the method that he will follow in dealing with this subject The whole question has its source in the misunderstanding of the text "This is my body.

As our second article we will turn to the Scriptures and the articles of the Creed in order to prove that the text cannot have the meaning which a wresting of the words has given to it. As our third, we will establish out of Scriptures the true and natural sense. Similarly, to Francis I, he states in his "Dedication" to his Exposition of the Faith "For we teach not a single jot which we have not learned from the sacred Scriptures. Nor do we make a single assertion for which we have not the authority of the first doctors of the Churchprophets, apostles, bishops, evangelists and expositorsthose ancient fathers who drew more purely from the fountainhead.

In the sermon on the clarity and certainty of Scriptures, he had tried to formulate certain criteria for determining when the Spirit was speaking. That request for humility and for the capacity to study the Scriptures without preconceived opinion must be accompanied by a special desire for complete teachability. The secret of hearing the Spirit is humility, and Zwingli notes that when the Word speaks to us, it exalts the lowly and humbles the one who trusts in himself. The activity of the Spirit is also marked by an unselfish attitude of seeking the good of others, rather than the vindication of one's own ideas.

When the Spirit is present, the Word becomes more precious, and there is an assurance of eternal salvation. The fear of God gives joy rather than sorrow.


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When these conditions are met, the Holy Spirit speaks. In his dedicatory epistle in True and False Religion, Zwingli had provided another evidence "This word which we preach today is diametrically opposed to the vices in which we abound. It cannot be denied that it is the Word of God. For by a kind of mutual bond the Lord has joined together ""Clarity," Zwingli and Bullinger, pp. The emphasis lies on the language, on the knowledge of Scriptures, and on comparison with other texts.

That is to say, an historico-literary approach is safer than a pneumatic interpretation. And hence, Zwingli's demand for an educated clergy now takes on an immense significance. To understand truth, one must have the proper training. The tradition of a well-educated ministry is very strong among the Reformed. Thus, the naive trust that anyone who opened the Bible could depend on the Holy Spirit to arrive at the proper meaning of the text and that all who followed that method would agree had to be abandoned.

Zwingli's dream of the "blank mental page" that could register the teaching of the Spirit in complete detachment from one's cultural and spiritual background had to fade. Different people who studied the Word with the same trust in the Spirit came to different conclusions. A more objective method had to be used. But men continued to hold to that ideal of the Spirit's guidance in interpretation, and to the feeling that they could not disregard the truth they had received.

It was a mighty spur for discovering new truth, and led to one of the characteristics of the Reformed family of churches, a more and more complex religious pluralism a trait that manifested itself especially clearly in England. The "Inst. It was also the root of one of the greatest privileges of modern man in many of the Christian lands religious freedom.

Copyright by Andrews University Press. Lakin School of Religion Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia Good and evil, righteousness and wickedness, virtue and vicethese are common subjects in the Scriptures.

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The poetical books, especially, are much concerned with the acts of righteous and unrighteous persons. Qoheleth, in Ecclesiastes, declares that "there is nothing better. In fact, he concludes the book with the warning that "God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil" But how righteous should one try to be, and for what purpose Qoheleth sets forth what appears to be a strange answer in Eccl I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness.

Do not be excessively righteous, and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself Do not be excessively wicked, and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time It is good that you grasp one thing, and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them. NASB 1. Common Interpretations of Ecclesiastes Walter C. Kaiser contends that "few verses in Ecclesiastes are more susceptible to incorrect interpretations than Kaiser, Jr.

Sin to a moderate degree' " 3 Indeed, almost every commentator speaks directly or indirectly of Qoheleth's "doctrine of the golden mean. Whybray, "i his Qoheleth's experience had taught him that neither necessarily has any effect on men's but this is a minority view and is certainly not consistent with the context; cf. Ginsburg, Coheleth ; reprint, New York, , p. Whybray, "Qoheleth the Immoralist Qoh.

John G. Gammie New York, , p. New York, , pp. Aristotle said, "Virtue lies in a mean between opposite extremes" Nicomachean Ethics, 2. Confucius also advocated a type of "common sense" which resembled the Aristotelian mean see Harold H. Buddha recommended his "Middle Way," which sought to avoid the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification; this "Middle Way" involves an eightfold path toward detachment from life, the elimination of desire, and thus the cessation of suffering see Watts, p.

Anderson, The World's Religions Chicago, , p. Barton, who concludes that Qoheleth's warning against "extreme righteousness" is a reproof of the excessive legal observances of the "Chasidim," states further that "some interpreters. That, however, is what he undoubtedly implies. This seems to be the only satisfactory explanation of the verses. AGeorge A. Coleman suggests that the word "saying" belongs at the end of , so that the passage should read "And there is a wicked man who prolongs his life through his iniquity saying, 'Be not righteous overmuch, neither make yourself overwise; why should you destroy yourself ' " " Coleman thus declares that "this worldly maxim is the counsel of the wicked man, not the maxim or teaching of Solomon"; and consequently, the inspired reply of Solomon, then, is at vs.

Scott contends that the "mean" of follows from the assertion in that "men do not receive their just deserts. Ginsburg, it is impossible to make the passage conform to orthodoxy. Robertson Nicoll New York, n. Coleman, Ecclesiastes Edinburgh, , p. He attributes the Greek maxim, "nothing too much," to Solon ca.

Edgar Jones, for instance, says that the passage is "reporting that the fanatical extremist does run into trouble. Power, for example, suggests that possibly "religious" would be a better understanding of the word "righteous" here, "for K. Matt , so perhaps the writer here meant religious or ritualistic, like the Pharisees who strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel. Leupold describes them as referring to "a righteousness that is beginning to go to seed, a righteousness that will flourish in its most distorted form in the days of Jesus, in regard to which Jesus will be moved to say 'Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, etc.

Leupold, Exposition of Ecclesiastes Columbus, Ohio, , p. BRINDLE goal is beyond man's capacity and so it can achieve nothing; and on the other hand it makes life joyless, leading to narrowness and bigotry. So, in one way or another, the striving after perfection produces misery. DeHaan and Herbert Vander Lugt explain Eccl as a warning against overreactions to the truth of First, some conclude that everyone who goes to an early grave somehow must have fallen short of doing what pleases the Lord.

Therefore they set about to make up this lack in their own lives by extreme legalism, ascetic practices, or some other form of works-righteousness. The second wrong reaction is that of going down the road of lustful living, giving oneself over to unbridled sensuality. Many who see apparently good people suffer adversity or die young go down the pathway of a false and artificial worksreligion while others go down the road of unrestrained wickedness. Both courses will lead to disaster.

The command not to be "overly wise" would be interpreted similarly, as a possible overreaction to the failure of wisdom to provide the full answer to life do not devote yourself fully to wisdom as if it were the only solution to life, but do not reject it to become a fool either. Self-righteousness An increasingly common interpretation has been to see in the word "righteous" a reference to hypocrisy, and to understand the author to be referring to "self-righteousness" rather than genuine righteousness.

Castellino, in a careful analysis of the Hebrew forms, comes to a similar conclusion namely, that refers to "passing oneself off as righteous" self-righteousness and "passing oneself off as wise" intellectualization. In the use of the construction haya adjective 'al-t 'hi. The phrase "refers to the self-righteous man, the would-be saddiq, the man who claims to be, or sees himself as, exceptionally righteous. The word 4. He does not distinguish between "righteous" and "perfect," but uses the same term for both. Whybray concludes, therefore, that in he must be using the term in an ironical sense "Do not be a self-styled.

The word harbeh always means "much, many, greatly, very," etc. Qoheleth thus "uses the qualifying adverb harbeh to indicate that he recognizes a tendency in human nature towards self-righteousness. The last two options have a similar meaning "Having first warned his readers against setting themselves up to be, or pretending to be, absolutely righteous, Qoheleth now warns them against similar pretensions to wisdom.

Qoheleth adds a warning not to go to the other extreme and throw off all restraints and all striving towards these virtues, abandoning oneself to a life of folly. But "he knows that one cannot entirely avoid either wickedness or folly cf. But it is a wholesome caution against the 'vain affectation of it. Exegesis of Ecclesiastes In Eccl 68, Qoheleth introduces the question, "What advantage does the wise man have over the fool" Throughout the second half of the book, he deals with the futility, benefits, and limitations of wisdom, focusing especially on the issue, "Who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime" In chap.

God has made adversity as well as prosperity, and both must be accepted from him Human beings cannot really know for certain what the future holds for them during their lifetime. What Qoheleth Has Seen At this point a question surely enters Qoheleth's mind "I have already said that in place of righteousness there is wickedness , and that man can expect both prosperity and adversity from God What, then, of the age-old principle that righteousness brings blessing prosperity, and wickedness brings cursing adversity Is that principle invalid" This question clearly relates closely to the central problems of the Book of Job.

Qoheleth has neither the problem with God's justice that Job had, nor the faulty view of reality that Job's friends demonstrated.

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He sees clearly with Job that the principle of righteousness. Qoheleth thus states from his experience "There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked. In spite of their righteous character, some men die young. And in spite of their wickedness, some evil men live long, prosperous lives. The Law stated time after time that those who obeyed God and lived righteously would "prolong" ''Tilt their days and receive blessing Deut , 40; , 33; 62; ; ; ; ; Solomon in his wisdom had also made similar promises cf.

Prov But the problem of exceptions persisted. Job recognized the same problem when he asked, "Why do the wicked still live, continue on, also become very powerful" Job They have many children, safe houses, prosperity, and many days of rejoicing The psalmist also "saw the prosperity of the wicked" Ps , and it nearly caused him to stumble He complains "Behold, these are the wicked; and always at ease, they have increased in wealth.

Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure, and washed my hands in innocence" Ps This was very "troublesome" to him , until he went to God's sanctuary and finally understood the end of the wicked God would destroy them, sooner or later The psalmist's solution is to focus all his desires on God "Whom have I in heaven but Thee And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth.

God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Matt Qoheleth himself explains the problem and its principle more in detail in the following chapter Eccl 8. The general principle is valid, he says, that "it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God" And, on the other side, it is still true generally that "it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly" However, judgment for evil does not come quickly; and because of that, many are inclined to give themselves over to do evil Qoheleth declares further that "there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked," and, on the other hand, "there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous.

I say that this too is futility" Righteousness does not necessarily bring prosperity, and wickedness does not necessarily bring suffering and death. Qoheleth's Advice The following two verses must therefore be understood as Qoheleth's counsel in the light of vs.


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  • It is here that the two major exegetical problems of the passage arise 1 Do the expressions "excessively righteous" and "overly wise" really refer to selfrighteousness and pretended wisdom, as Kaiser, Whybray, Castellino, and others contend Or do these expressions imply, instead, an exaggerated "striving after" righteousness and wisdom 2 Does Qoheleth in intend to warn against a possible overreaction on the part of some to the statement in that righteousness does not guarantee prosperity, nor wickedness death i.

    BRINDLE generally containing a negative particle 'nt, a verb or verbal clause, and an adverb the adverb is lacking in b. The third part of each verse consists of an interrogative sentence introduced by the word rrO followed by a verb. And in each case, the interrogative sentence implies a positive concept or result. Lexically, the word ply in a means "just" or "righteous" in conduct and character, either toward God or, ethically, toward others.

    Nothing more than this can be read into the statement from the term itself. The form rpin is the hiphil infinitive absolute of the verb na, "to be many, much, great", and is here used adverbially to mean "greatly," "exceedingly. If, however, "righteous" refers to outward conduct, then the warning probably has to do with excessive occupation with some sort of Pharisaic externalism. In b, nDruri is the hithpael form of the verb OD, "to be wise", and, according to Whybray, means "to pretend to be wise" or "to make great pretensions to wisdom.

    Davidson states that the hithpael is reflexive of pie in this case, "to make wise," "to teach wisdom". Thus, the hithpael would mean "to make oneself wise" or "to teach oneself wisdom. Another interesting aspect of this structure is the fact that there is a decrescendo in the meter of vs. Driver, and C. Briggs, eds. This title hereinafter cited as BDB.

    Davidson, An Introductory Hebrew Grammar, 25th ed. Edinburgh, , p. First, there is absolutely no reason from the context to understand the verb as a reference to pretense. Second, grammatically the hithpael form may just as easily mean "to make oneself wise" or "to teach oneself wisdom," as noted above. Third, the only other use of the hithpael of 07r1 is in Exod , where it refers to wise conduct"Let us deal wisely with this people"and there is no reason to treat it in any other way in Eccl The appeal made by some exegetes to Prov 37 "Do not be wise in your own eyes" is invalid, since the reference there has the modifying expression "in your own eyes" spelled out; and, moreover, the verb is not hithpael, but rather "to be" with an adjective.

    The word Eccl b is common in Ecclesiastes, usually meaning "superiority," "advantage," or "excess. It is not worth the trouble. In c, the verb oniu,r is the hithpael form of Dbtp, which means "to be desolated. The verb iner in a is simply the Qal imperfect of the verb 17V1 "to be wicked," "to act wickedly". It is important to note that on this negative side of the coin, no process is in view such as was the case with "make yourself excessively wise".

    The word simply looks on the actions of wickedness. It is perhaps obvious by now that Whybray's interpretation of the passage depends almost entirely upon a highly questionable "Ibid. He thus concludes that the piety referred to is also sincere and genuine piety. Having concluded that this word refers to "pretensions of wisdom," he reasons that a is parallel and that it should therefore read, "Do not pretend to be righteous" or "Do not be self-righteous. Whybray's solution fits neither the context nor the details of the passage.

    He is forced to conclude that is totally disconnected from , and that in no way provides counsel for the problem of In addition, Whybray completely boxes in as a separate passage almost totally unrelated to the rest of the chapter,49 since he has divorced himself from any sort of correct contextual meaning.

    What, then, is the conclusion of the matter 1 The expressions "excessively righteous" and "make yourself overly wise" are best understood as an exaggerated striving and seeking after perfection and super-wisdom. Qoheleth's point is that these things are not really of value; he had discovered that himselfboth experientially and through observation.


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    As DeHaan and Vander Lugt suggest, if the principle that righteousness brings prosperity does not always hold , and if wisdom cannot really discover everything that man needs to know for his life , many people would have one of two types of reaction a They might decide that if they could reach perfection in character and knowledge, their problems would be solved; or b they might decide that God is unfair and simply devote themselves to immorality and foolish living as the best they can get out of life. Qoheleth warns them against both of these options, since both of them lead to disaster.

    The best life, he says, depends on the fear of God. The Spiritual Conclusion Following the negative admonitions of , Qoheleth now describes positively a "good" in life. Though neither righteousness nor wisdom can guarantee prosperity or unlock the mystery of the future, they are nevertheless good and necessary. It is good to hold "Ibid. Both wickedness and foolishness lead to disaster. Both righteousness and wisdom are achieved through the fear of God. It is through trust in, and obedience to, God that righteousness and wisdom can actually be balanced and made worthwhile. Conclusion In Eccl , Qoheleth discusses the problem of the value and balance of righteousness and wisdom.

    He has concluded that human wisdom cannot really explain all of life nor the future , and that even the principle that righteousness brings prosperity has many exceptions Thus, he notes in that some righteous people die in spite of their righteousness, and some wicked people live long lives in spite of their wickedness. How would a concerned human react to this admission of reality Many would tend to overreact either toward striving harder, or toward ending all efforts and slipping into identity with those who do not know God. Qoheleth offers some helpful counsel Do not strive for exaggerated righteousness or try to make yourself the wisest person on earth, for these are not really worthwhile goals; and in the end, such striving will ruin your life.

    Likewise, do not turn to immorality or act like a fool, since God's principles do still operate and you will put yourself in danger of premature death. God is still in control. What then of righteousness and wisdom What good are they Qoheleth answers that they are both of great benefit. Grasp them both.

    If you learn to fear God which is the important thing, you will come out right in both areas. I also dealt with their use of allegory, noting that although the later preachers Bonner and Watson made little genuine attempt to exegete passages of Scripture, they did move away from the more thoroughgoing use of allegory noticeable in the sermons of Fisher and Peryn. The doctrinal stance of all four preachers was the same and did not undergo modification because of the methodological changea Part I was published in AUSS 23 John E.

    Ann Arbor, Mich. GANE change which, on the part of Bonner and Watson was undoubtedly intended to address more effectively the "literal" interpretations of the Protestant Reformers. In the present article I will continue my analysis of the preaching methods of the four preachers, noting specifically their procedures with regard to 1 typology, 2 literal exposition of Scripture, 3 redaction, 4 use of patristic sources, and 5 appeal to classical antiquity.

    Typology Typology, which borders upon and merges into allegory, is relatively common in Fisher's early sermons and in Peryn's sermons. But this exegetical method is quite rare in Fisher's later sermons and in those of Bonner and Watson. With the exception of Peryn's, the apologetic sermons of these preachers tended to diverge from the interpretive methods of the late Middle Ages. Peryn's sermons were specifically designed to answer heresy. He was concerned by the news that "the horrible heresye, of Berengary and Wikclyfe sacramentaries abbomynable was raysed agayne, of late, and by meanes of evell and pestiferous bookes crept secretlye into the hartes of manye of the yonger and carnall sort.

    Peryn's sermons were first published in These were years of reaction against Protestantism, when most Englishmen still regarded themselves as Roman Catholic, and when the methods of biblical interpretation generally accepted in England involved allegory and typology. Although Fisher's controversial sermons made scant use of these techniques, they did make some use of them. The fact that his sermons, in which allegory was quite well represented, were not published until would indicate that 'Peryn, sig. Evidently Fisher had seen that allegory and typology were not best suited to answering the heretics, even though those methods were quite acceptable to himself.

    Either Peryn lacked insight into the kind of approach most likely to win his opponents, or he felt sufficiently comfortable in using a time-honored method which, at the point of his preaching, was acceptable to the majority of Englishmen. By far the greatest instance of typology in Fisher's sermons is to be found in his Fruytful Sayings of David, the sermons on the penitential psalms, preached in and first published in Preaching on Ps 51, Fisher argues that animal sacrifices in the OT sanctuary services prefigured the shedding of the blood of Christ.

    He cites the book of Hebrews chaps. Then he provides the application. In the government of Israel there were two heads appointed, Moses and Aaron, to lead them through the wilderness to the promised land.

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    But the Jews were but "a shadow of the chrystn people. In fact, both instances illustrate how typology very readily merges into allegory. Although Fisher's arguments in his sermon did not make wholesale use of allegory, his typological applications were so tenuous that they verged on allegory of the late-medieval variety. William Peryn employs typology quite extensively. He quotes Origen as his authority for the claim that the passing of the children of Israel through the Red Sea was a type of Christian baptism. The sacrifices of the "old law" were pre-enactments of the sacrifice of Christ.

    In the sermons of Bonner and Watson, there is very little of typological exegesis. As noted in my previous article, they 'Ibid. Literal Exposition of Scripture Scriptural exposition, like interpretation of any literature, cannot be regarded as "literal" just because it is not allegorical or typological. Surely, literal interpretation is that which says exactly what the author of the particular literature intended to say. Because there is little allegory or typology in the homilies of Bonner and Watson, it does not follow that their interpretations are all literal.

    This point will become more evident as we proceed. Nevertheless, there are parts of the sermons of Fisher, Bonner, and Watson which can be regarded as a genuine attempt to explicate the literal meaning of the text. It would be an exaggeration to claim, however, that this is the most characteristic exegetical method employed in their sermons. Fisher's interpretations, as we have seen, were quite characteristically allegorical or typological, and Bonner and Watson often used biblical passages in a manner which was quite unrepresentative of their meaning in context. See the first note marked by I at the beginning of the present article.

    GANE In the introduction to his sermons on the penitential psalms, Fisher does make some attempt to put the literature into its historical setting. He tells the background story of David, who was the youngest and least significant of Jesse's sons. Nevertheless, he was chosen by God and anointed by Samuel as king. Because of the guidance and protection he had enjoyed, when David became king he should have remained humble and pure.

    But he committed adultery and manslaughter. Although he was forgiven for all this, he fell into the sin of pride. Again he was forgiven. Fisher indicates that the penitential psalms depict for us the efforts of David to gain forgiveness and cleansing at a time of physical and spiritual calamity. The moral issue raised by Fisher's use of this incident is interesting, but he did not misrepresent the biblical account.

    He provided a literal interpretation of Ps and Gen 1,28 and of the narrative portions of Gen 2 and 3. And so on. It was when Bonner broached the controversial issues raised by the Reformation that he allowed his scriptural interpretations to become strained. Watson, like Bonner, cannot be regarded as famous for literal exposition of the Bible, but it occurs occasionally in his sermons.

    He briefly outlines the life story of Peter in the fifth sermon of his Holsome and Catholyke doctryne GANE 3. Redaction Redaction, in the sense of editorial embellishment, is not frequent in the homilies of these sixteenth-century Roman Catholic preachers. In this respect, their sermons reveal a marked evolution of method from that of the late Middle Ages, when homiletical embellishment was an accepted procedure.

    In the sixteenth-century sermons there are no examples of legends and fabulous miraclestories that were used to supplement the biblical account in the Middle Ages. There are a few examples of redaction in the sermons of John Fisher. Speaking on the first penitential psalm Ps 6, Fisher declares that David prayed that God would neither "punysshe hum eternally by the paynes of hell, neyther. Later in the same sermon Fisher cites the Vulgate version of Ps 61 as though it were referring to purgatory; and in commenting on vs.

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    No creature beynge in purgatory may have the in remembraunce as he sholde. Then syth it is so that in purgatorye we can not laude and prayse god how shal we do yf we be in hell, truely in that terryble place no creature shall neyther loue god, neyther laude him. The "Month's Mind of the Lady Margaret" embellishes the life story of Martha so that she might be depicted as an ancient counterpart of the Lady Margaret. Martha is said to have been commended in ordering her soul to God by frequent kneelings, sorrowful weepings, and continual prayers and meditations, "wherein this noble prynces somwhat toke her part.

    The Two Fruytfull Sermons, published in , contain the information that, because he had eaten the apple, Adam was kept after death for three thousand years in a prison of darkness limbus patru. For example, interpreting 1 Cor , which enjoins a right attitude upon those who are to partake of the Lord's Supper, Peryn comments that it should not be eaten or received "with the olde leaven, neither with the leaven of malice, neither with the leaven of wyckednes, That is to say, in obstinate Jewishnes or froward heresie, neither with wicked myne, or unpure lyfe.

    This kind of redaction is quite common in Peryn, Bonner, and Watson. The obvious intent is to render the text of Scripture relevant to the contemporary situation. The effort results in the preachers reading into the text meanings and applications which were not intended by the author. The method becomes especially potent when the issue being discussed is controversial.

    Bonner, for example, uses the scriptural passages which speak of Christ's promise of the Holy Spirit to his disciples as evidence that the Spirit was given to the church forever, not to individuals apart from the church. Your new post is loading Scooped by Voyance planet. Flashback en - Voyance : ringard ou tendance?

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