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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Pasche's Christliche Weltanschauung (Worldview); Lindemann Jr.; Gräbner; Penrose; Copernicanism Part 19b

[2016-11-10 Updated hyperlink in red below]
      This continues from Part 19a, a series on Copernicanism and Geocentricity (see Intro & Contents in Part 1) in response to a letter from a young person ("Josh") who asked if I believed Geocentricity ... and did not ridicule me in his question.
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      Pastor F.E. Pasche authored 2 extensive books in German to defend against Copernicanism.  In this blog post I address his first and present a translation of the Table of Contents (w/ hyperlinks) and a few brief comments of selected topics covered.  Note that this book is not available elsewhere online.  I have added much highlighting and quite a few hyperlinks to the "full text" version:
                       Contents.
3      Foreword.
                  First part. – Cosmogony.
5      1. How did the world form?
9      2. In what period of time did it come about?
17    3. How long ago did it arise?
                  Second part. – Astronomy.
41     I. The Ptolemian System.
76            The Copernican System.
89            Copernican evidence that the earth goes around the sun.
116          Copernican evidence for the daily rotation of the earth.
139   II. Definite rules which must guide a Christian.
182   III. A safe position which denies neither the Bible nor the results of science..
182          1. The earth has a spherical shape.
187          2. The earth does not make the annual movement around the sun.
193          3. The Earth does not make the daily rotation.
228    Conclusion.
229    Postscript - Lindemann Jr.-Schulblatt article refuted; A.L. Graebner mystery
235    Index

Here is a small sampling of the material covered:
  • p. 15-16, 42, 145-146, 224: Prof. A.L. Gräbner's well-known article "Science and the Church" in the 1902 Theological Quarterly (p. 37-45) is quoted.  Today this article seems to be used by multiple sources on the Internet as the authoritative teaching of the old Missouri Synod.  But I have blogged earlier that Gräbner's essay can be considered somewhat ambiguous regarding a defense against Copernicanism as he is mainly addressing the creation account in Genesis.
  • p. 25: Andrew Dickson White of Cornell introduced
  • p. 72-73: Schöpffer, A. Frantz, and General de Peyster are referenced
  • p. 78: Pastor Pasche judges Copernicus's faith, that he "remained throughout his life seated in popish darkness".  But we will see in a later blog post that C.F.W. Walther held a different judgment on this point -- that Pasche may have missed something on Copernicus himself.
  • p. 150: Carl Gottlob Hofmann is quoted.  I had earlier thought that Pasche had missed him.  However Pasche's quote from Hofmann does not directly address Copernicanism whereas Walther's quote does.
  • p. 172-173: Pasche's quote of the 1886 Synodical Conference Report
  • p. 174: Report of recent attack by the President of Cornell University (Andrew Dickson White) against J.C.W. Lindemann's writing.
  • p. 181: "Flat earth" proposition refuted scientifically; p. 186-187 "flat earth" refuted scripturally
  • p. 220-224: Walther, Chemnitz, Calov, Lindemann Sr., Pieper, and A.L. Gräbner quoted.
  • p. 227: Dr. Woodhouse, Cambridge astronomer, is quoted: “When we consider that the advocates of the earth’s stationary and central position can account for and explain the celestial phenomena as accurately, to their own thinking, as we can to ours, in addition to which they have the evidence of their senses, and Scripture and facts in their favor, which we have not, it is not without a show of reason that they maintain the superiority of their system.”
J.C.W. Lindemann's son (Friedrich)
      On pages 229-234 Pasche is almost apologetic in revealing that a publication of his own Missouri Synod was beginning to teach that "the earth rotates upon its axis", that "the rotation of the earth on its axis causes daytime and night." This was done in the journal Evangelisch-Lutherisches Schulblatt, March 1904 issue, pages 75-79 [added link 2016-11-10].  What is even more surprising and tragic is that the publication is in the very same journal in which J.C.W. Lindemann had forcefully refuted Copernicanism in an article of 1873 ("Copernicus and the Lutheran Theologians").  And to top it all off, the writer was Lindemann's own son, Friedrich Lindemann. There seems to be no denying that there was pressure even in the old (German) Missouri Synod to give up its defense against Copernicanism.

Prof. A.L. Gräbner
      In the same section (p 232), a mystery is related regarding Prof. A.L. Gräbner: how could he approve of "engravings" in the March, 1904 issue of the journal Evangelisch-Lutherisches Schulblatt where an article taught that "the earth rotates upon its axis"... yet he "denies that he teaches the Copernican system".  Pasche handles this mystery surrounding Gräbner by implying that there must have been a misunderstanding or some misinformation somewhere.
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      There is a lot of science and science history covered by Pastor Pasche – I wish Cornell would have his books translated, since they see fit to provide Internet access to the English translated text from another Lutheran theologian, the modernist "accommodating" Johann Heinrich Kurtz and his book Bibel und Astronomie.  I wondered at times that Pastor Pasche delved too much into the science, but after reviewing this book several times, I have been amazed at how much he covered in detail... and from a Biblical perspective.  Still, I consider that Dr. Gerardus Bouw's scientific expertise is more advanced and can correct some areas of science that are better understood today.

Roger Penrose-6Nov2005.jpg
Sir Roger Penrose
      But for all the science where Pastor Pasche may be shown to be incorrect, I would point out that Sir Roger Penrose, the well-known University of Oxford scientist in mathematical physics (and Stephen Hawking's collaborator) has in recent years admitted in his book Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy (p. 14) the possibility of geocentricity:
“Nevertheless, we might not today regard the geocentric perspective as quite so outrageous...” — Roger Penrose
Hmmm, I wonder how the LCMS/CTCR (and Prof. Matthew Becker) responds to this admission?

In the next Part 19c, I review Pastor Pasche's 1906 book in German, Die Bibel und Astronomie.