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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Luther's Chronology, Part 6b (James Barr – "scholar")

In Part 6a of this series (Table of Contents in Part 1 here), I began this review of the modern scholar Professor James Barr († 2006).  He wrote several articles about Biblical chronology, and seems to be the only writer who even mentions Luther's Chronology since the Weimar Edition (or Weimar Ausgabe) published it with comments in 1920 (in Germany).  Except Franz Pieper in 1924 in his Christian Dogmatics, volume 1, page 243 quoted Luther's preface to his Chronikon:
This thing has moved me that though I have not despised the historians completely, I have preferred Holy Scripture to them. I use the historians in such a way that I am not made to contradict the Scriptures. For I believe that in the Scriptures the true God speaks; but in the histories, good people by their ability, their diligence, and their faithfulness prove (but as human beings), or at least that the copyists, can err.
Reading Professor Barr is a lot like reading the editors and translators of the American Edition of Luther's Works – Jaroslav Pelikan, Helmut T. Lehmann, Franklin Sherman, etc – it almost seems they are gleeful when they report some 'error' of Luther or disagreement they have with him.  Neither Barr or the editor/translators of Luther's Works believed the Bible like he did.  Their goal was not to build the Christian faith, but rather appear "scientific", "scholarly", "reasonable", "balanced".  In fact the chief endorsement among "leading Reformation scholars worldwide" for the New Series of Luther's Works says it this way in the Endorsements:
"...this new series should delight scholars as well as engage laity and clergy."
Mark U. Edwards, Jr.
Academic Dean, Harvard Divinity School
That's Harvard University, the same university where Stephen Jay Gould taught the theory of evolution, the same university where Walter A. Maier received his Ph.D. degree.

The Prospectus for the CPH New Series of Luther's Works also says this:
"....an expanded English-language edition of Luther especially useful as a help to scholars and theologians..."
No!  Luther did not write anything for today's modern "scholars", he wrote only for the Christian faith, for the Christian church, and only true scholars in that true faith.  This is true also for Professor James Barr, a modern "scholar" who found faults with Luther.

What faults did Barr find with Luther?  I will begin covering that in Part 6c (after an interruption of this series to review Franz Pieper's teaching to defend the Doctrine of Inspiration).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A weeping seminary student... a Christian. (Prof. Harold Buls)

In my extensive research in the 1990's, I heard an anecdotal story about a student at the Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne.  The story was that this student came running and weeping to Prof. Harold Buls... why?  Because he was so distressed at the teaching of another professor, Professor Walter A. Maier Jr. (son of Walter A. Maier, the original speaker for the Lutheran Hour radio program).  Maier was teaching that faith was required for our justification, that somehow faith was the quality in man that was necessary for there to be a Justification from Sin, for God to be reconciled to him.

Why would this weeping student then run to Professor Buls?  Because the student understood Buls' teaching to be quite different than Professor Walter A. Maier Jr., a teaching that spoke of a universal reconciliation, a reconciliation even before faith.  That this is true of Prof. Buls' teaching can be confirmed in his sermon notes published here (see especially his notes on 2 Cor. 5:19).

I have often thought of this weeping student, whoever he was, a student who ran from a teaching that would cause him to question his faith... who wept when confronted with a teaching to cause doubt on his Christian faith.

This running, weeping student was

a Christian.

All Christians should run weeping away from any and all teachings (doctrines, dogmatics) that cause them to question and doubt their faith.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Luther's Chronology, Part 6a (James Barr review)

In Part 5 of this series (Table of Contents in Part 1 here), I commented on the modern scholar Professor James Barr († 2006) who wrote several articles about Biblical chronology:
Professor Barr "was ordained to the ministry of the Church of Scotland" which is Presbyterian in doctrine – essentially Calvinist.  Judging by his professorships and life, he would have claimed to be a Christian.  However in his 1999 article for the American Philosophical Society, he said the following:
...the question of modern “creationism,” which will certainly be in the minds of some of you. Modern creationists commonly want a world with a shorter duration than evolutionary theory requires, a world perhaps twelve thousand or fifteen thousand years old. Such a figure would be more like the biblical world but would not agree with it exactly or literally. A literal biblical chronology would mean a world created in seven days about 4000 b.c., give or take one or two hundred years. But many creationists do not want to be biblical literalists. Of course the Bible in a general way is a big source of inspiration for their movement, but the exact figures of the Bible are not a matter of principle for them, as I understand them.  In my opinion it was a big mistake for many of the mainline religious organizations when they opposed the creationists by saying that the Bible should not be taken literally. This is not what the creationists do. It is, on the contrary, what the churches and other organizations should do: that is, to argue that, in this respect, the Bible’s figures should be taken literally, because it is when they are taken literally that it becomes clear that they are not historically or scientifically true.
Professor Barr wanted to appear to be on the "fence": one foot in Christianity, one foot in modern science.  He wants us to take the people of the Bible "literally", but "not historically or scientifically true".  By saying this, Professor Barr could keep his membership in both Christianity (he is a "modern creationist") and the American Philosophical Society (Bible's figures were not historically true).  Although the "Bible in a general way is a big source of inspiration" for Professor Barr, he does not believe that Holy Scripture is inerrant and infallible.

One can contrast this with what Franz Pieper taught in his Christian Dogmatics, volume 1, pages 317-318:
Scripture does not treat everything a man can know, for example, the things pertaining to the sphere of earthly or civil life.  Scripture is certainly not, as some have put it, "a general encyclopedia of human knowledge." It is not a textbook of agriculture or architecture or of medical science. It is not "a manual of history and geography."  Natural reason teaches these things, as Luther often reminds us, if men will only use their reason.  But remember: When Scripture incidentally treats a scientific subject, it is always right, let "science" say what it pleases; for πασα γραφη θεοπνευστος.  Thus Luther says concerning the chronological data of Scripture that the Bible is the only book in which historical errors cannot occur (St. L. XIV:491). And when the "enthusiasts" of ancient and particularly of modern times assert that wine is under all circumstances "poison," we know from Scripture that this is not true. (John 2:1-11; 1 Tim. 5:23; etc.)  Nevertheless, it must be maintained that the Bible is not a textbook of "universal human knowledge."  There is a large area of human knowledge that is based on natural reason and human experience.
So we see before going into the details of Professor Barr's article on Luther's Chronikon that he will surely find fault with Luther who does not find fault with Holy Scripture.  But will he find something of use?

In the next Part 6b, I will go into the details of Professor Barr's article on Luther.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What / who can save us? (The great "but")

There is an almost inexhaustible list if things the modern mind tries to rest on to soothe its trouble conscience.  Even the "fools" who deny there is a God know in their heart it isn't true... their very denial speaks of it.
Psalms 14:1 — The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.
Just a small sampling of these modern ideas that could save us can be put as the following:


Safety awareness
Health improvement
Organic food / organic farming
No smoking
Eliminate racism
Reading Literacy for all
Science
Technology
End hunger 
Cure cancer
End all wars
Human rights
Sports
Space program / NASA
Mother's day celebrations
Gourmet food cooking
Environmentalism
Americanism
A soldier
Boy Scouts
A little bird
Reminiscing / nostalgia / antiques
Graphics / photoshop

This list does not include the more crass ideas for salvation, those comic book characters – those "superheros" like Superman (against Lex Luthor)... comics that have been largely put out by Jewish creators and producers.  But no doubt, our modern mind is troubled... for

  • The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.  Psalms 14:1
  • ...a prating fool shall fall  Proverbs 10:8
  • A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself. Proverbs 18:2
  • He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool Proverbs 28:26
  • when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a foolEcclesiastes 10:3  

Maybe the reader is thinking I'm being facetious with some of the items on my above list.  I guess I'm just a fool for I thought of these things when I threw off my Christian faith...
Ah, but the Bible hammers this home even more when it speaks of fools like me:
Psalms 14:1 – The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
If that wasn't bad enough, the New Testament confirms all this with the death sentence from Romans 3:10-20:
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Wow, the Bible just put me in my place -->> dead in my sins.

But the Bible doesn't stop there, for Romans 3:21 starts with the great "BUT":
Romans 3:21 – But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Dear God! You gave us a "but"!... all is not lost with us, you gave us a "but"!  But what??  God fills in the blank with "the rest of the story" (Romans 3:22-31):

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

"... a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."  So what or who can save us?  Rather the question is:
Who has saved us?  
-->> Only Jesus, the Saviour of the World... "by the faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe".

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Luther's Chronology of the World, Part 5 (comments)

     This continues from Part 4 in this series (Table of Contents in Part 1 here) on Luther's Biblical Chronology.  In the last post, the text of the Prefaces were given, both for translator Pastor Kenneth K. Miller and Martin Luther.
     Pastor Miller indicates in his footnote (3) at the bottom of "Page 4" of his Preface that modern interpreters differ from Luther's entire approach to the "forth-six" years of John 2:20.  I suppose Pastor Miller had to mention this because his readers in the late 20th century were surrounded by "modern interpreters"... as we still are today.  I mention this also because the Wikipedia links I provide for some of the historical figures do not subscribe to the infallible truth of the historical record of Holy Scripture and so will largely present "histories" that contain mistakes where they clearly contradict the Biblical record.  An example of this is "Darius the Mede" for whom modern historians, at least the Wikipedia reference author John J. Collins, "suggests that it was highly probable that Daniel created the figure of Darius the Mede to fit this schema".   I have news for Professor Collins and all "modern interpreters" — Luther is much more correct than you because the Bible is absolutely true... there was a Darius the Mede for he is recorded in the Book of Daniel:
Daniel 5:31: And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.
----------------------
      On the lighter side, the name of "Matasthenes" that Luther mentions in the last paragraph of his Preface is unknown to all the search engines that I tried – quite remarkable.  Perhaps a scholar could shed some light on who Luther is referring to by this person.  I suppose the Internet does not know everything!
----------------------
     There is so much material on the Internet regarding "Biblical Chronology".  Much, if not most, of this material relies to some extent on modern ideas or the author's own ideas.  I especially enjoy the various charting methods (link here) here – quite fascinating.  Perhaps most of these present themselves as "Christian" sources.  I have no doubt that some of these presenters are Christians – most would be from the sects, those who call themselves "Protestants" but are not Lutheran.  But I have yet to find any material on the Internet that bases their "Biblical Chronology" on Luther's work... none!  (correct me if I'm wrong)... Luther is perhaps the premier scholar of all time to give the best Biblical Chronology.  Why?  Because Luther was not only a tremendous scholar, he was also the Reformer of the Church... he was the true herald bringing to the "modern" world the everlasting Gospel...  he believed God's Word.

   Yes, scholars will label all who hold the Bible to be an infallible record, who believe the Bible to be infallibly true, as "cranks and crackpots".  The highly regarded modern scholar Professor James Barr († 2006) perhaps said it best when he used these terms in his 1999 article for the American Philosophical Society entitled Pre-scientific Chronology: The Bible and the Origin of the World.  In this article, Professor Barr also mentions that he wrote an earlier paper in 1990 entitled Luther and Biblical Chronology for the Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester.  I have obtained a copy of this article and will later comment on it.  One can deduce from Barr's later comments that he would not believe any biblical chronology.  I will find out if he compliments Luther in any "scholarly" way.  He laughs at Archbishop James Ussher's attempt at Biblical Chronology.  In any event, James Barr believed the so-called "scientific" chronology of the world instead of the Bible – the title of his article states it clearly.

-------------------------------
     Each page of Luther's chronology covers 50 years and is in 2 columns.  The designation A.M. is in the header of the left side on each page and is used by Pastor Miller to translate Luther's Jahre der Welt.  It stands for Anno Mundi – Latin for "in the year of the world".  The right side notation follows the more familiar B.C. and A.D. or Anno Domini which Luther calls Jahre der Christo.

     In the following installments, I hope to bring out further details of Luther's chronology.  Now if I could find a piece of software that would make it easy to enter Luther's data and then chart it out graphically so that it made it crystal clear...   can anybody help me?

See the next Part 6a for the first installment of the review of Prof. Barr's 3 essays (all downloadable) on Luther and Biblical Chronology.
(This post may be modified as a work in progress.)

Luther's Chronology of the World, Part 4 (Luther's Preface text)

In the previous Part 3, (Table of Contents in Part 1 here) I presented the original version of Luther's Chronikon or Biblical Chronology, including a download link for a PDF copy of the entire publication.

Part 4 in this series is the text of both prefaces, Pastor Kenneth K. Miller's preface and Martin Luther's Preface:
(Preface of Pastor Kenneth K. Miller)

Page 2

Luther had earlier, in 1525, completed a chronological table of the Medo-Persian kings, to be used for the exposition of the Minor Prophets.  He authorized its printing, probably for his audience.  He himself tells us so in the preface to his exposition of the prophet Haggai, according to both the Altenburg and the Zwickau texts.  Even in the commentary on Zechariah the same table appears in the manuscript.  It ought not be altered with our present text, which was first completed in 1540 and set to print in 1541.  Luther afterwards revised it considerably and re-published it in 1545.
Luther originally prepared this Chronology for his own use, and did not consider publishing it, but his friends, who had been permitted to see it in preparation, urged him to publish it.  On March 3, 1541, Dr. Justus Jonas had it copied out "by a Master who understands it," and he sent the copy to Prince Joachim of Anhalt.
The original was in the library at Dresden.  It was probably destroyed in the fire-storm due to Allied bombing in 1943. The Latin title reads: Supputatio annorum mundi D. M. Lutheri.
In the collected German editions the chronology is continued to the year 1559 and a preface of Aurifaber is affixed.  The German translation in the St. Louis edition, the basis of this English translation, was newly prepared from the Wittenberg edition, of which the Jena is simply a reproduction.

Preface of Dr. Martin Luther

I had prepared this reckoning of years for my own use alone, not that it should be a chronicle or history book, but so I might have it before my eyes as something of a time chart to see at a glance the times and years of the history that is narrated in the Bible, so I might remind myself how many years the Patriarchs, Judges, kings, and princes lived or reigned, or in how much of a time span they followed upon one another. Hence there is no reason for me to use many words either to commend or to disparage it.  I was not even thinking what use or how useful it might be to others, since so many chronologies or histories are already extant, with more every day.  I am satisfied with the use I have already made of it.  Those who wanted to see it published when I gave them an opportunity, upon their request, to look at it; or those who are going to read it, may decide for themselves whether it is worth their effort to read it.  It makes no difference to me whether it perishes or abides‚ but it also does not bother me very much whether it satisfies other people or not.
I grant that the Chronicon of Charion and Philip (1) is the first and is a very good example of reckoning, in which the whole course of the years is very beautifully divided into six millennia, which I also followed. I have presumed to do one thing in the history of Jehoram, the king of Judah under Elijah and Elishah: I counted twenty more years than all other chronologists. This is my own fault or my own achievement, for which I shall have to give account in due time. For the chronology of Eusebius, which was drawn from the Septuagint, constantly translated "two hundred" instead a of "one hundred" in Genesis 5.  Perhaps that is because it read the singular meath instead of the plural meoth.  Jerome lists that chapter among his "Hebraic questions."  That chronology is responsible for the same error in all the chronologies prior to our time, all of which have 1249 years too many in that chapter. Indeed, they have gone beyond
-------------------------
(1) In the year 1532 the mathematician Carion issued a chronology on which Melanchthon had collaborated.

Page 3

the sixth millennium, which they call the sixth aeon, and reckon the years in question in the seventh millennium, their "seventh aeon."(2) Still, there is little reason to find fault with Eusebius. Indeed, as Jerome writes, he was an amazing and very precise man.  We complain about all other historians, and they complain among themselves that they have not a clue to the precise reckoning of the years.  So I have set them all aside, and in this work I have tried to derive this chronology chiefly out of Holy Writ, upon which we can and should rest.  The Bible has the following information:
 Sections for the Calculation of Years
from the creation of the world to:

1656
Creation to the Flood
367
to the call of Abraham
430
to the Exodus from Egypt
480
to Solomon's Temple
158
to the end of Solomon's dynasty
291
to exile of Jehoiachin
11
reign of Zedekiah
70
length of the Exile
46
to beginning of weeks, 2nd years of Darius
John 2:20
483
years or 69 weeks to death and


resurrection of Christ
7
years of the last week in which the


covenant is confirmed and a law done

away in the midst of the week

The following chronology of Christ is self-explanatory.

Others portray it this way:

1656
to the Flood
292
to the birth of Abraham
425
to the birth of Moses

80
to the Exodus from Egypt

480
to the Temple of Solomon

158
to King Joash and the end of Solomon's dynasty

291
to the captivity of Zedekiah

11
of Zedekiah to the destruction of Jerusalem

70
years of desolation

46
to the 2nd year of Darius, beginning of weeks

483
years or 69 weeks to death of Christ

7
years of the final week


I have no doubts whatever over any of the parts of the calculation.  Hence the sum need not be questioned, except for one item: from the end of the solation to the beginning of weeks, or from Cyrus to the second year of Darius.  I want to say a little about that, because it bothers me.
--------------------------------
(2) Luther accepted in 1540, that this was the year 5500 of the world, while they took it as year 6749.

Page 4

In John 2:20 the Jews said to Jesus, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?  It is clear from this that more than forty-six years passed between the first year of Darius and Cyrus and the completion of the Temple, for it is also clear from Ezra 6:15 that the Temple was completed, not in the second year of Darius or the forty-sixth since Cyrus, since the word of God went forth through Haggai and Zechariah at the beginning of weeks, but in the sixth year of Darius. So four additional years are to be added to the aforementioned forty-six, and it is a full fifty years from Cyrus to the completion of the Temple.  Only this circumstance gives rise to a question about the four years; otherwise everything is certain arid sure. This question arises from the uncertainty about the years of the Persian kings.  For the historians differ, not only on the years of Cyrus, but also about those of Darius and others. (3)
Perhaps I am being foolish, but I am submitting my thoughts about those four years for publication. If anyone will or can, let him put forth a better proposal and decision.  In Daniel 5 and 6, Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian each seem to rule alone, for it says that Darius the Mede succeeded Belshazzar in dominion over the Chaldeans, and Cyrus is not mentioned. (Dan. 5:31)  Likewise, it says in Dan 6:28, that Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. It is not as though it were untrue that Cyrus and Darius reigned jointly, a custom common in the Bible, where we read that sons reigned together with their fathers; nevertheless, we must distinguish between the co-regency of Cyrus and Darius and the sole rule of Cyrus.  I say that on this account, that it seems necessary to me on this passage to understand the first year of Cyrus (2 Chron 36:22; Ezra 1:1) as the first year Cyrus reigned alone, after Darius. So two years are deleted from these four extra years, and there remain only two years to explain away, which I do as follows:
Since in great realms and dominions, especially when they are new, plans proceed very slowly and with great hindrance before they reach completion. So it could well have been the case that the command of Cyrus was issued very near the end of the first year; hence one year could be deleted. And then it seems necessary to add at least another year for the Jews to make their preparations after receiving the order for travelling back to Jerusalem; hence one could say that they did very well if they managed to begin building by the end of the second or beginning of the third year of Cyrus. So the remaining two years melt away, and the text of John 2:20 is correct when it says the temple was built in forty-six years. I know, of course, that there are problems with this that I could well raise myself, but that does not bother me much.
Of course, it could be, if you will, that these two years of Darius the Mede can be included in the seventy years of desolation, but I prefer to reckon them as coming after them. For after Belshazzar died and his kingdom passed to Darius the Mede, the Jews were for all practical purposes liberated, and the prophecies of Jeremiah were fulfilled. So in these two years efforts were made and arrangements made for the Jewish people, already liberated, to return to their homeland, which Daniel and his friends were busy doing.
If this does not please someone, he is welcome to do better or to define the matter more precisely. I must say that it is not all that important, as long as the chronology as a whole is fixed, and doubt remains only about two or four years. For if everything works out right to the end of the world except for two or four years, faith and the Church are in no danger; we can in good conscience overlook a mere four years in so large a matter such as the entire course of the world.
-------------------------
(3) Luther's entire approach to these forty-six years differs from modern interpreters, who view them as the time of the improvement and enlargement of the Temple by Herod, which was not entirely completed at the times the Jews spoke these words. For more on Luther's approach, see his commentary on John 2:20.

Page 5

But I do want to remind anyone who will listen that I am firmly and unshakeably convinced that the beginning of the weeks is to be placed nowhere else than in the second year of Darius Longimanus, and you can be sure that if you want to argue with me about it, you will be wasting your breath.
Indeed, as I said, I made this reckoning just for myself, and I am quite prepared to cheerfully let someone else do it for himself or for others I base mine solely on the Bible. Therefore I find it necessary, reluctantly, to reject Philo who in another place inserts eighteen years too many in the middle of the weeks of Daniel.  I also do not care very much where Alexander, Antiochus Epiphanes, the Maccabees and others are placed where I place them, nor does it matter much to me whether I have them in the right place or not, as long as the years of the weeks meanwhile remain unassailable and certain in their course.
I also find it necessary to depart from Metasthenes over twelve years, for if his reckoning and the chronology of the Assyrian kings stands, then it would necessarily follow that Sennacharib came against Jerusalem in the second year of Hezekiah, which is impossible.  For in the sixth year of Hezekiah, Shalmanezer carried away all Israel to Assyria, 2 Kings 17, and only in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah did Sennacherib come against Jerusalem, 2 Kings 18This matter convinced me that I should not completely disdain the historians; but I should give preference to Holy Writ.  I use them in such a way that I am not compelled to contradict the Bible, for I believe that the truthful God speaks in the Bible, but in the histories good people, according to their ability, show their diligence and their honesty (but as men)‚ or at least, that the copyists could have made mistakes.
-----------  end of text  ----------------------------------------------
This series will be continued in the next blog post Part 5 where I will present some comments.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Luther's Chronology of the World, Part 3 (original German)

In the previous post Part 2, (Table of Contents in Part 1 here) I presented the English translation download for Luther's Chronikon or Chronology of the World.

In this Part 3, I present the original German version, not that hardly anyone can understand it, but to use it as a reference... and maybe gain a little familiarity with the language and original publishings of Luther and the old German Missouri Synod.
Here is an image of the initial page – click on it to enlarge it:
The download for the PDF of the original St. Louis Edition version (over 100 pages) of Luther's Chronikon is here (about 5 MB - allow time to download).

Added November 1, 2012: Here is complete Weimar Ausgabe Latin version (9 MB PDF!), obtained from here and here, entitled Supputatio annorum mundi.

In the next Part 4, I will provide the text of the English translation of Luther's preface to his Chronikon.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Luther's Chronology of the World, Part 2 (English translation)

In an earlier post Part 1 (from March 2012, see Table of Contents), I introduced the work of Luther called Chronology of the World, or Luther's Chronology or Calculation of the Years of the World; in German it's Luthers Chronikon oder Berechnung der Jahre der Welt.  This work was published in volume 14 (columns 484 - 723) of the St. Louis Edition of Luther's Works, and Franz Pieper hailed it as a wonderful work that was
"...particularly important, because Luther here clearly provides the authority of Scripture over all human research and science."
Luther and Pieper say we should believe the Bible, even where it is contradicted by "human research and science".  Everybody knows that the Bible is constantly contradicted in its details in today's modern world, not only by "technical science", but also by archaeologists who may think they have found physical evidences that contradict the Biblical account.

This work of Luther was not included in the original English translations of the American Edition of Luther's Works, nor is it planned to be in the "New Series" of the same name that is in the process of being published now by Concordia Publishing House.  None of the "endorsements" for the "New Series" (Harvard! Boston! Nebraska! Princeton! Notre Dame! Marquette!) lament the fact that Luther's Chronikon is not included.  One wonders why this work is not included... could it be because they don't have space for it, or could it be that they don't believe the Biblical account is true in all its details, including the years of the world... and so it would be too embarrassing before the world?  Could it be that they believe "human research and science" over the Bible?

Could it be they might believe whatever NASA finds in its "research" regarding the origins of the universe?  We are all waiting breathlessly for the great finding on Mars now.  Maybe modern science will put the findings of the "God particle" to good use and have it tell us from whence it came?  Maybe nanotechnology will help us in this quest?  Maybe our universe isn't just millions or billions of years old, but a googol years old?

But there was a Lutheran pastor who has translated this work of Luther, not as "interesting stuff", but because the Biblical account is true.  Yes, the Bible is true...  our universe is only a few thousand years old.  The Lutheran pastor was Pastor Kenneth K. Miller of the Lutheran Churches of the Reformation or LCR.  I received a copy of this translation from a Lutheran pastor in Australia some years ago and am publishing this paper now on my blog.  Pastor Miller has since passed on and I want to honor his memory with this important translation work.  The scanned copy is a bit rough in some areas for several reasons:
  1. The Australian copies were done on their A4 (Metric?) size paper which is narrower and longer than American standard 8-1/2" x 11" size of Miller's original paper, hence some pages are a bit skewed.
  2. Evidently the originals had been 3-hole punched, so a few pages show text cut off by the punched holes.
  3. Some pages are missing — I don't know why yet.  It could be that the missing pages were blank (without any events) in the original St. Louis Edition and therefore extraneous.
Dr. Martin Luther's Chronology
Tr. by Kenneth K. Miller

Download scan in PDF format (~ 1.5 MB) as of September 6, 2012:
Translated by Kenneth K. Miller
Pastor
A slightly higher resolution version, about 4 MB, is here.

Because of the great amount of information in this work of Luther, I will present further explanations as I can and provide clear links between various posts on this subject.  In the next Part 3, I provide a download of the original version from the St. Louis Edition.
[Added image Dec. 21, 2014]
In the next Part 3...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Another, a different, Lutheran pastor...

After my previous post, I received further private correspondence from the ELCA Lutheran pastor, correspondence  which would attempt to put me (and Luther, and God) in the defendant's dock at Nuremberg... charges which have already been largely addressed in my previous blog posts.  He has the whole world behind him now... but I do thank him in this regard, that I will address his condemnations of Luther even more than I did in my my blog post of August 13, 2011.

But I also received a comment to my blog post regarding the account of the Good Samaritan, this time from a different Lutheran pastor.  How refreshing this was to me... how his sermon, based on the same Bible text, caused tears of joy, that God had refreshed me as He told me through this Lutheran pastor that Jesus is the Good Samaritan.  Does this Lutheran pastor know that God indeed had sent him to comfort me?