05 September, 2012

Luther and Hercules

Lutheranism & the ClassicsII (L&CII), "Reading the Church Fathers," is only a few weeks away. But there's still time to register. You can even do it online here.

There's a lot that L&CII means. But it also means we can officially start talking about L&CI. Now, supposing you planned on making it to L&C II but very much regretted having missed L&CI. What could you do?

Due to the good offices of our friends at Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology and its kind editor, Michael Albrecht, the proceedings of L&CI are available for all to read. Oh, to be sure, you'll miss Carl Springer's wry manner as he recounted the name and epithet of the great Viking Ragnar Shaggypants. You'll have to imagine, as you read, the booming voice of John Nordling explaining how to sing modern American Jesus-camp songs in ancient Greek (χαίρετε, κτλ). And you'll need nothing to restrain you when tempted by Diane Johnson's siren-voiced reading of Johannes Posselius' heroized, versified Gospel lectionary. Viva voce was great. But, as I say, if you missed it, you can read it in Logia. The editors inform us there are still copies. If your bent is modern, the ever-enterprising Logia continues to come out with ways to access that important journal electronically.

The one thing the Logia XXI.2 (Eastertide 2012) has in scads over the live event? Its cover depicts Lvthervs Germanicvs as Hercvles, clad in the pelt of the Nemean lion. He is Hercvles redivivus--Hercules resurrected--this time doing battle not against the Stymphalian birds, not against the Hydra (nine heads), but against the seven-headed beast (Rev. 13), known in the German cartoons of the day as das siebenhauptige Papsttier. Luther qua Hercules' battle entailed not only retrieving Scripture from Nicholas of Lyra, but the entire academic method lassoed to idiosyncratic readings of Aristotle, represented here by the papal beast. For his efforts Luther was credited with extirpating all that was good, including the good arts. Wrongly as, it turns out--rebuttal, Kopff, in the aforementioned volume. In the church of the Reformation Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, Vergil--all had their place in court. The Wittenberg Reformation just put the Queen back on her throne. But this was no corporate downsizing. The Queen retained her courtiers in Wittenberg. Without the arts, Luther said, no theology. 

Oh, and did I mention that Logia XXI.2 contains nearly all the papers from L&C I? So if you missed it, it's not too late.