Monday, November 25, 2013

New Partnership With Logos Bible Software

ad_logos Theology on the Web has teamed up with Logos Bible Software in order to give users of the websites a 15% discount on their Bible study resources. Just click on the banner in the right hand sidebar and you will be taken to a special page on the Logos website where you will find the discount code. Buying your software through this link will also support the development of Theology on the Web as a percentage of the sales will be paid as a commission. Look out for Logos Software giveaways in the New Year.

Monday, September 02, 2013

September Update: Forthcoming Material and Latest Developments

I have updated my brochure introducing Theology on the Web to reflect the latest developments. You can download a copy here. Please pass on a copy to anyone whom you think would be interested in supporting this ministry. The priorities for the rest of the year are:
  • Continuing to focus on uploading high quality theological journals and articles. Although I will be adding a few digitised books, other people are filling this need via archive.org. Unless important titles are blocked, damaged or incomplete then it does not seem a good use of my time to duplicate them.
  • Adding more journal titles to the list I am already working on.
  • To seek paid advertising from Bible Colleges and Seminaries that would guarantee basic site running costs. The websites had over 145,000 visitors in April who are obviously interested in theology, so the sites would seem to lend themselves to this use.
  • To build up a base support of those who are willing to contribute towards the ongoing development of the sites. There are a number of ways to support the sites other than financially, click here to find out how.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Future of "Theology on the Web"

Over the last six months I have been planning how best to take forward the work of Theology on the Web in providing freely available theological material on the Web. To this end I have produced a vision document that I would like to share with those who have benefited from the sites. You can download a copy here. Please pass it on to people and organisations whom you think it might interest.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

New Book on the Cathars and Waldenses

Caterina Bruschi, The Wandering Heretics of Languedoc. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Hbk. ISBN-13: 9780521182270. pp.232.

The publishers blurb reads:

How should historians read sources which record inquisitorial trials in the Middle Ages? How can we understand the fears felt by those on trial? By analysing six volumes of depositions in the trial of Cathar and Waldensian heretics in Languedoc between the late twelfth and the fourteenth century, in this 2009 book, Caterina Bruschi challenges old methodologies in the study of dissent. She examines the intrinsic narratological problems related to the sources and, using approaches from the social sciences, analyses the different fears felt by deponents and how those fears affected their actions and decisions. In so doing, she sheds light on itinerancy within the ecclesial structure of non-conformist movements and contextualises the problem of itinerancy as a benchmark for the definition of heresy. Focusing on the lives and attitudes of trial witnesses, this innovative account is a major contribution to our understanding of the nature of religious non-conformity in the Middle Ages.

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Stories, and how to read them
2. Catharism and its mobility
3. Heretical itinerancy
4. Patterns of fear and risk
Conclusions (and starting points)
Bibliography.

Features

• Challenges methodological assumptions about how to read medieval trial records
• Analyses unpublished primary sources
• Provides insights into the interactions between inquisitors and deponents

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Paul Cavill on 'Signs and Wonders' and the Venerable Bede

With thanks to Dr Cavill for his kind permission the following article is now available on-line in PDF:

Paul Cavill, "'Signs and Wonders' and the Venerable Bede," The Evangelical Quarterly 60.1 (Jan.-Mar. 1988): 31-42.

Click here to read the article.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Question: By whom and when the Four Symbols of the Evangelists became identified with the Four Latin Fathers of the Church?


I received the following question which I hope someone might be able to help with:

"I am interested in finding by whom and when the Four Symbols of the Evangelists became identified with the Four Latin Fathers of the Church:

St. Gregory with the Ox of Luke
                                     
St. Augustine with the Eagle of John

St. Jerome with the Lion of Mark

St. Ambrose with the Man of Matthew.

I know the history of the early use of the four "creatures"  as symbols of the Evangelists, and that St. Iranaeus of Lyons wrote of the further meanings of these symbols. Also I know that the four saints were made Doctors of the Church by Boniface VIII in 1298. I have seen images with the established association of each Doctor with one of the symbols already in the early 14th century. I would like to know when, apparently after 1298, this pairing was set in place.

They appear in a set of windows made in 1888 by Clayton and Bell in London for Christ Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie, NY {pictured above]."

If you have an answer please email me at rob(at)biblicalstudies.org.uk. Many thanks.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

J.A. Taylor on the Trial and Martyrdom of Jerome of Prague

The following article is now available in PDF. Click here for the link.

Rev. J.A. Taylor, "The Trial and Martyrdom of Jerome of Prague," Bibliotheca Sacra 2 No. 8 (1845): 636-649.

This article is in the Public Domain and can be freely distributed and copied.

B. Sears on the Contest for Supremacy Between the Papacy and the Empire in the Middle Ages

The following articles is now available on-line in PDF. Click here for the link.

B. Sears, "The Contest for Supremacy Between the Papacy and the Empire in the Middle Ages," Bibliotheca Sacra 2 No. 8 (1845): 757-794.

This article is in the Public Domain.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Brian E. Colless on the Legacy of the Ancient Syrian Church

The following article is now available online in PDF. Click here.to read.

Brian E. Colless, "The Legacy of the Ancient Syrian Church," The Evangelical Quarterly 40.2 (April-June 1968): 83-96.

My thanks to Prof. Brian Colless for his kind permission and encouragement.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ian Stackhouse on The Native Roots of Early English Reformation Theology

The following article on the Lollards is now available in PDF:

Ian Stackhouse, "The Native Roots of Early English Reformation Theology," The Evangelical Quarterly 66.1 (Jan.-Mar. 1994): 19-35.

My thanks to Dr Stackhouse for his kind permission to reproduce this article.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Call for Papers & Conference on the Origins of the English Reformation

WEST MIDLANDS' PLOUGHBOYS NOTTINGHAM CONFERENCE 2011

The English Reformation up to Henry VIII's break with Rome

Speakers will include
Professor Emeritus Sr Anne O'Donnell 
Professor Peter Marshall 
Reverend Doctor Ralph Werrell

Wednesday 3 August to Friday 5 August 2011 
St John's College, Nottingham

We look forward to meeting you in Nottingham in August for the West Midlands Ploughboys' Conference.

The aim of this conference is to consider the early days of the English Reformation separately from the effect of Henry's divorce that triggered the timing of it. Much was published in this period ranging from high-profile names down to Anon. There were also those who wanted a reform within the Catholic Church, and those Catholics who opposed a Reformation outside of the Roman Church. All these are related and important - some have been well covered; others as if they never existed.

We are sure that you will enjoy the speakers, who are among the leading specialists in the subject.

Call for Papers

All too often it is said that the English Reformation was due to Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Although this fixed the date for the Reformation in England, it was by no means the cause of the English Reformation.

There were underlying religious currents that led to the English Reformation - the `English Heresy' stemming from Wyclif as well as Continental influences - these cannot be seen in isolation from the orthodox movements for Reformation (Colet) - nor from the effect of those opposing reform (More). Papers outside the main scope of the conference may also be submitted and will receive a fair consideration. 1534 can never be a fixed deadline - it can only be a guideline. Papers based on Henry's divorce will have a low priority as we consider the programme for the conference.

Time allowed for Papers (25 minutes).

A Summary, of approx. 100-150 words to be submitted to The Revd Dr Ralph S. Werrell; rswerrell@hotmail.com by 24th June 2011.

St John's College is a residential college, and those coming to the conference will be able to stay on the campus. The cost of the conference includes stay in a single-bed room; the showers and bathroom facilities are close by.

Cost
The full conference fee is £140.00. This includes all meals (cooked breakfast, two-course hot meal at lunch and evening, and all refreshments during the conference).

You can come for a day or days at a cost of £80 per day. This includes lunch, dinner and refreshments during the conference. It is possible to stay for a single night with breakfast at St John's for £30.

How to get to Nottingham
Please use the link to St John's College website where full details of how to get to St John's is given. www.stjohns-notttn.ac.uk/find-us/

The West Midlands' Ploughboys are members of the Tyndale Society (visit our website at www.tyndale.org). If you would like details of membership of the Society or any further information about this conference, please contact any of the following.

Brian Johnson, 17 Earlstoke Close, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX16 3WL. Tel., +44 (0)1295 273120; email: brian-johnson@live.co.uk 

Revd Dr Ralph Werrell, 2a Queens Road, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 1JQ. Tel. +44 (0)1926 858677; email: rswerrell@hotmail.co.uk 

David Surtees, 44 Main Street, Desford, Leicestershire LE9 9GR. Tel. +44 (0)1455 828008

Registration Form
Please complete and return a Registration Form as soon as possible. (If you do not want to print this page please provide your details as here.)
Name ............................................................... 
Address ............................................................. 
Telephone number ................................................ 
email .................................................................. 
I enclose a deposit of £25.00 (balance to be paid, if possible, by 15 July 2011). 
All cheques to be in sterling and made out to West Midlands Ploughboys
and sent to Brian Johnson, 17 Earlstoke Close, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX16 3WL. Tel +44 (0)1295 273120 email: brian-johnsonj@live.co.uk

Any dietary or physical requirements (i.e., difficulty with stairs):


................................................................................................

Monday, October 25, 2010

Article on the [Catholic] Church and the Wyclifite Bible available

The following article is now available on-line in PDF:

Parochus, "The Church and the Wyclifite Bible," Scripture 6 No. 3 (Jan. 1954): 79-83. Click here to read.

This article offers a Roman Catholic perspective on the subject that many readers will disagree with. If you have a different view you are welcome to explain it in a comment.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Review: Warrior of God. Jan Zizka and the Hussite Revolution

Victor Verney, Warrior of God. Jan Zizka and the Hussite Revolution. London: Frontline Books, 2009. Hbk. ISBN: 978-1-84832-516-6. pp.240.

When I was first offered a review copy of this book I was somewhat surprised, because the publisher specialises in military rather than religious history. Having read the book I would have to say that it would be a great shame if this meant that those interested in medieval and reformation history overlooked it because of its publisher.

The book covers the life of Jan Zizka, a man instrumental in the survival and the success of the Hussite revolution in Bohemia following the martyrdom of Jan Hus. The introductory chapter places the story of the Hussites in the larger context of the political and religious turmoil of the 14th Century, while chapter one introduces Zizka and explains the significance of his military innovations. Zizka proved to be a genius at utilising whatever was at hand in warfare. At this time the significant role in battle was conducted by opposing knights. These engaged one another on horseback as they saw fit and the peasant infantry served mainly to be mowed down by the cavalry.

Faced with a situation where his forces consisted almost entirely of peasant infantry Zizka equipped them by converting their wagons into mobile fortresses and (literally) turned their pruning hooks into swords and a variety of vicious clubs and other weapons. Faced with Zizka’s battle wagons drawn up in formation strategically utilising the terrain, cavalry charges proved useless and knights were forced to dismount and attack on more equal terms with their opponents. In such circumstances the knights were invariably routed.

Chapter 2 describes the career of Jan Hus and includes this significant passage which is worth quoting in full:

Before being burned at the stake, Hus declared ‘You are now going to burn a goose [the meaning of his surname] , but in a century you will have a swan which you can neither roast or boil.’ Copies of Wyclif’s writings were used to kindle the fire. One hundred and two years later, Luther posted his theses, and today the swan is a symbol of many Lutheran churches. The seeming prescience of Hus’s remark, served to heighten his saintly stature with subsequent generations of Bohemians, and Protestant iconography commonly connects Wyclif, Hus, and Luther. Has Hus lived longer,he would have presided over difficult times for his followers, and his memory might be less revered. Some feel that Hus left the historical stage at the proper time and in the proper manner to ensure everlasting fame respect. A living Hus would have been a valuable voice for the movement, but the dead Hus embodied a spirit of pride and resistance, inspiring the Hussites and steeling them for the coming doctrinal a military assault upon their beliefs. [p.36]

These military assaults came from without, in the form of the five anti-Hussite Crusades, and from within as divisions in the Hussite cause led to discord and civil war. The brutality of these wars – on all sides – was incredible and one has to remind oneself that the Hussites were literally fighting for their lives as their “heresy” was a capital offence. Through Zizka’s leadership the Hussite armies finally subjugated almost all of of Bohemia and after his death invaded Moravia and Austria.

Victor Verney does a splendid job of translating the incredible complex events of this period into an engaging account that is a delight to read. He describes the origins of the various Hussites sects, the Orebites (Orphans), Taborites, Pichards, Adamites, etc. in such as way that one is able to understand clearly the historical and religious context of each.

Towards the end of his book Verney sums up the significance of the Hussite revolution in these words, which again are worth quoting in full:

Continual Hussite victories also sowed widespread religious doubt, ultimately more subversive to Rome than their military incursions. Many could not understand why, if they were fighting for God as the Pope, the Emperor, and their nobles and clerics kept assuring them, they kept losing. If the Hussites were indeed sacriligious heretics, why was God permitting them to enjoy such success? These widespread misgivings about the Vatican’s omnipotence and righteousness prepared Central Europe for Martin Luther a century later. The Hussites, particularly Tabor, exploited this by distributing thousands of pamphlets throughout Western Europe, explaining themselves and making their case – a remarkable exercise in mass media four decades before Gutenberg’s printing press. [p,222]

In summary, I would like to highly commend this book to anyone interested in medieval and reformation history and hope that it becomes required reading on all courses dealing with these subjects.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September Website News

With new academic year due to begin in the next few weeks I thought it would be good to update my visitors on recent and forthcoming developments across the “Theology on the Web” websites.

File Formats for Articles

Over the last few months I’ve been experimenting with different formats for the articles I upload. Since I began in 2001 I’ve scanned, OCR’d and then proof-read all the articles that I’ve placed online. This produces very clear text and very small file sizes, but it does have the disadvantage of being very time consuming as well as introducing typos.

The situation is at present that I have a full-time job in a Christian charity, a wife and three little boys, so website work must be confined to my lunch hour or late evenings. Although I received over a million visitors each year only 4 of these support the work regularly on a monthly basis. The two advertisers who paid for space on the websites have decided not to renew this year. All this means is that while I still hope to do this work full-time on the sites at some point there is no prospect of this in the near future on the basis of current funding levels. If you would like to support the development of the sites I suggest a number of ways of doing so here.

This has led me to change the format of the articles I upload to scanned PDF’s with OCR’d text. These retain the original layout, can be searched, cut and pasted and appear in search engines. They can be produced very quickly (I could scan and place online an entire book in a few hours) but the file size is around 15-20 times larger a word-processed version. A few people have complained about this change, but I would rather have the material available now rather in several years time (if ever) even if the format does not please everyone.

New (old!) Journals Online

I have recently completed the entire 11 volumes of the Bulletin of the Evangelical Theological Society and will be integrating the articles into my site in the next few weeks. Vox Evangelica (which I began working on in 2006) should be complete by the end of next week. I have recently completed a table of contents for the Theological Students Fellowship (TSF) Bulletin (UK) and a number of these articles are now online. Anvil journal recently allowed me to publish around 27 of its articles and these are appearing as permissions from the authors are received. I am now working on a table of contents for Themelios (1962-1974) when it was published by IFES. I hope to be able to place many of these articles online as well in due course in partnership with Tyndale House and the Gospel Coalition.

Missiology Website

Due to my present workload the launch of this site has been put back until sometime next year.

That’s all for now. Remember to subscribe to the site feeds to received the latest news. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Theology on the Web Hub launched

I have today launched a "hub site" called "Theology on the Web" which contains some of the material that has previously been duplicated on several sites. Having a central hub will help me to be able to keep the shared material updated and help visitors to understand better the vision that underlies the development of the other four - soon to be five - sites.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

John T. Christian on The Paulician Churches

The following article is now available on-line in PDF:



There are so few articles on the Paulicians (ATLA lists only one) that I was very pleased to find this one while working on an on-line table of contents for the Review & Expositor. As the article was published prior to 1921 it is now Public Domain and can therefore be freely distributed and copied. My thanks to Harding University Library for providing a PDF of the original article.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A. Skevington Wood on Nicolas of Lyra

The following article is now on-line in PDF:

A. Skevington Wood, "Nicholas of Lyra," Evangelical Quarterly 33 (1961): 196-206.

Nicholas of Lyra was one of the most influencial exegetes of the Middle Ages because he mediated to the Church the fruits of medieval Jewish exegesis. His was the first every Bible commentary to appear in print. My own research on the history of the interpretation of Genesis indicates that he is the first known proponent of a form of the Framework Hypothesis for interpreting the Days of Genesis 1:

The idea that the first three days describe the acts of creation, separation and adornment has a much longer history. It is mentioned by Martin Luther in his Lectures on Genesis, but Luther disregarded it because in his opinion it did not appear to fit the facts. He referred those interested in such trivia to the work of Nicholas de Lyra (c. 1270-1349) on Genesis, to whom Luther himself was heavily indebted.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

David Keep on William Tyndale and the Lollards

The following article is now on-line in PDF:


This article portrays Tyndale, in both churchmanship and doctrine, as a radical in the tradition of the Lollards.

My thanks to Methodist Publishing House for their kind permission to reproduce this article.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Theology on the Web group launched on Facebook

I have created a new group on Facebook called Theology on the Web. I am hoping that it will serve both to raise the profile of my websites and provide a forum for visitors to provide feedback on current and future projects. Feel free to sign up.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Book Review: Islam. The Challenge to the Church


Patrick Sookhdeo, Islam. The Challenge to the Church. Pewsey: Isaac Publishing, 2006. Pbk. ISBN: 0954783549. pp.125.

Available from the Barnabas Fund, Old Rectory, River Street, PEWSEY, Wiltshire, SN9 5DB. Tel: +44 1672 564938. Fax: +44 1672 565030

Contents and Summary:

1) Understanding Islam

Discusses the basic teachings of Islam, its sects, morality (including the issues of lying, Jihad and Shari'a). Four "myths" about Islam are refuted:


  1. The Word "Islam" means "peace".

  2. Islam is a religion of peace and there are many verses to prove this in the Qur'an.

  3. The Qur'an says: "If you kill one soul it is as if you killed all mankind."

  4. The Qur'an says: "There is no compulsion in religion."
2) Comparing Islam with Christianity

This chapter is one fo the best in the book and provides a very pithy analysis of a complex subject. My favourite section deals with the knotty issue of the Crusades and is worth citing in full:


The real difference between Christianity and Islam lies in the core issues of their sacred writings and the persons of their founders. Christians have frequently in their long history departed from Christ's teachings and perpetrated cruelties against Jews, Muslims and heretics. However, when returning to their source scriptures they come face to face with the person of Christ and the Gospel of love and forgiveness he preached, as well as his atoning death and supreme example of humility, service, suffering and non-violence.

When Muslims return to their original sources, they have a very different encounter. The later dated verses of the Qur'an, revealed to Muhammad in Medina, contain much that is intolerant and belligerent. According to the most commonly followed doctrine of abrogation, later verses supersede earlier (more peaceable) verses dating from his days in Mecca. Muslims also meet Muhammad, whose words and actions, recorded in the hadith, give many clear examples of aggression, warmongering, even what in modern terminology appear to be assassination, torture and genocide. Some Muslims will argue that these actions were for a particular context only, but the fact remains that they occurred. Setting up Muhammad as the supreme example in every aspect of his words and actions, nece­ssitates transforming his vices into virtues. This is the real cause of the contradictions so prevalent in Islamic soci­eties and Islamic history, especially on issues relating to jihad, the treatment of women, and the contempt shown to non-Muslims.

Having made this comparison, it should be added that another vital difference is the relative importance of the founder and of the scriptures. The Christian faith is ulti­mately a relationship with a Person, but Islam is focused on the authority of a book.
Dr Sookhdeo concludes the chapter by refuting the claim that Islam, along with Judaism and Christianity are the three Abrahamic faiths. To say that they are is to accept the muslim's claim that Islam is the final and purest revelation.


3) Issues

This chapter outlines the use made by Muslims of the Law, the media, politics and our education system in order to further their aims. There are helpful sections on the position within Islam of women and non-muslims living in an Islamic society (Dhimmi).

4) Christian-Muslim Relations

Good relations between Christian and Muslims are seriously hampered by Islam's teaching about the correct way to treat unbelievers. hospitality and gifts may be given by Muslims, but not accepted from Christians. The dangers of allowing Muslims to address churches are outlined, as are those arising from allowing muslims to use church buildings for Friday prayers and inter-faith marches of witness and giving to Islamic charities. Conversion from Islam to Christianity can have severe - sometimes fatal - consequences, even in the UK. This has implications for how church's support new believers and their families.

Conclusion

Appendix: Ten Christian Approaches to Islam

Glossary of Arabic Terms

Assessment

I am continually surprised at how naive many Christians in the UK are about the teachings and practice of Islam. Dr Sookhdeo has done us a great service in producing a brief but authoritative summary of the ways in which Islam is a challenge to the church and how it can respond to these challenges. It is a book that every Christian should read.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Margaret Deanesly on the Lollard Bible

I have just uploaded the following lecture in PDF:

Prof. Margaret Deanesly, The Significance of the Lollard Bible. Ethel M. Wood Lecture delivered before the University of London on 13 March, 1951 London: Athlone Press, 1951. pp.23.

All reasonable efforts have been made to contact the copyright holder without success. If you are the copyright holder, please contact me.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Lecture by Brian Edwards on William Tyndale available

The Christian Institute have made available a lecture by Brian Edwards on William Tyndale in mp3 format. Click here for more details.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity

This site hosts a large number of thought-provoking articles on Islam.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Two important books on Islam

Anyone interested in Islam should take a look at these two works, published 142 years apart.

William Muir, The Life of Mohamet, Vol. 1. Smith, Elder, & Co., London, 1861. is available in HTML format from the Answering Islam website. It may be an old book, but it is still well-worth reading.

Don Richardson, Secrets of the Koran: Revealing Insight into Islam's Holy Book Regal Books, 2003. Pbk. ISBN: 0830731237. pp.260. Richardson presents a detailed case against the claims of Islam - this book is highly recommended.

MedievalChurch site upgraded to PHP

Regular visitors will notice that almost all the pages have changed from .html to .php to allow easier updating of page elements. If you link to any page other than the home page (index.html) please update your link. Thanks!