Search This Blog

Monday, August 24, 2015

Dogmatik Index- Eckhardt’s Foreword - Part 2 (delightful pearls and diamonds)

      This continues from Part 1 regarding Franz Pieper's original German textbook series Christliche Dogmatik and its Index. — Who was Ernst Eckhardt?  He gives us a picture of this work of his in his Foreword.  The dear Eckhardt recognized the greatness of Pieper's work and gives a wonderful account of this.  I have translated it and present it in the following.  Highlightling is mine.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = 
(by Ernst Eckhardt)
If one wants to go through a commercial building, you usually get a guide. If you want to visit a larger city to some extent, you achieve your goal faster when you have a guide. This book is intended to be a guide, a guide through Dr. F. Pieper’s Christliche Dogmatik.
In our Synod, a large mass books, treatises and writings have been printed since its beginning, but only a few greater works – Dr. Pieper’s Christliche Dogmatik is one most outstanding among them. It is a mature fruit of the life work of the dogmatist of the Missouri Synod.  One  notices on every page of the book how diligently and carefully the author has worked through and tested the rich material, how he controls from all sides the whole dogmatic substance, how carefully he tries to bring the teaching of Scripture to a clear and also intimately warm representation – a gift the author has in particular.  Especially at a time in which a change of language is taking place in our Synod, Dr. Pieper has once again clearly testified to the German identity of the world what the Missouri Synod believes, teaches, and confesses.  It will probably be the last major work of its kind in the German language.  
The author of this triple index has not "studied" Dr. Pieper’s Christliche Dogmatik. This includes at least a full year. There is a difference between studying and indexing.  Whoever makes the object of God's nature a special study, observes every field, every house, every striking tree, every excellent flower; one who merely indexes, flies over it in an airship.  When he puts an index to a dogmatic theology, he is content to find out that on a certain page this or that teaching point has been treated, and can skip scriptural proof, quotes, parables, beautiful pictures etc.  In spite of this brief overview, yet we found on all pages delightful pearls and diamonds which we have tried to express in the Index.  We wondered at the great extent to which the Scripture was cited everywhere as evidence for all teachings, and therefore felt the need to attach a directory of all treated Scripture passages.  We have been surprised at the knowledge of literature by the author of this Dogmatik who is well-informed in all possible writings impacting in this field of the Church Fathers, dogmatists, exegetes and heretics as no one else has in the Synod, so that it became necessary to make a special index on quotations or a name index.  If a pastor wants to know when preparing a sermon or a conference work what Dr. Pieper wrote in his Dogmatics over a certain point of doctrine, or if he is looking for a special quote or an interpretation of a Bible passage to him this book will be for him a roadmap which leads him quickly to the goal.
We cannot yet close without a few words pointing to the difficulty that confronted us in drawing up of such an index, the difficulty of specifying the content of a quotation in as few words as possible and yet to bring expression of the matter clearly and dogmatically correct.  This often requires an acquaintance with the writings of the ancients, with their whole teaching presentation, with the disputes, etc., which we unfortunately do not have.   Perhaps now and then just the words which would be necessary to better understand the matter were omitted.  We feel and sense our weakness and clumsiness. How dissatisfactory, how small and low our work appears to us!  However, we console ourselves with the fact that probably everywhere enough has been given to find a quotation in the Dogmatik, and that our work, in spite of its imperfections, still provides a not insignificant service to the pastors.         E. Eckhardt.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Again, who was Ernst Eckhardt?  He was better known for his greater work, his "Reallexicon" which was a massive index (8 volumes, Google Books, HathiTrust) of almost all of old Missouri writings and teachings, also for the Synodical Conference.  I still wonder why Concordia Publishing was not the publisher of Eckhardt's greater work (Success Printing, St. Louis??).  Hmmm... Eckhardt's lament of
"How dissatisfactory, how small and low our work appears to us!"
reminds me of the wonderful remark of Pastor Mark Zarling of the Wisconsin Synod who said the following to preface his essay "Stand in Awe of Justification":
"It is not without some trepidation that this paper is presented. I certainly must confess, 'Who is sufficient for these things?"
      Somewhere the later Prof. Theodore Graebner scoffed at Eckhardt's indexing work, but we see now that "Graebner's scorn" becomes Eckhardt's praise.  How so?  Because Eckhardt "found on all pages delightful pearls and diamonds", spiritual gems.  —  In a private response to my blog about 3 years ago, an ELCA pastor called me the derogatory term "Franzie baby"!  May I continue to earn that term from all of "Lutheran" pastors of the ELCA today... just as Ernst Eckhardt earned the scorn of Theodore Graebner because Eckhardt was quite sufficient for his wonderful "roadmap" to old Missouri, and to "the life work of the dogmatist of the Missouri Synod"... Franz Pieper! —
      Now what did I find in Eckhardt's Index of Pieper that was omitted in the English version published in 1957?  See the next Part 3...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments only accepted when directly related to the post.