For my paternal grandmother, Margaret.

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Cyril of Alexandria on the Star-Studded Expanse of the Heavens, and on the Ascension of Jesus

This is the twenty-seventh follow-up entry to the post, “Gagarin and the Seven Heavens”.

The previous posts ranged across a number of authors at different times and places and religious affiliations, and were not organized well into any outline, so I ordered them; further, the follow-up posts were becoming so numerous, and the text block listing and briefly introducing them was so large, that they were soon going to take up more space than the posts themselves. Thus, I organized and listed them here.

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The Economic Horizon

Insofar as every message has an audience, and every social institution has an appeal to certain demographics more than to others, both are limited by the economy. The degree to which a message/institution is limited and the number of niches to which it can address itself varies. We overlook these limitations of our beloved institutions at our peril. It may be that, given social differentiation, anything that claims to be universal needs to see what, exactly, its social form is. It may be something quite different from a universal — it may be a sect, or a special interest group, or something else. Economic pressures and patterns of social organization may be more universal in this age; it is not clear that modern Orthodoxy has a social articulation of a universal message about the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of the dead that could hint at a universal horizon whose myriad signs (charity, in all its senses) are bastioned in a minority group that does something revolutionary, something futural. Rather, modern Orthodoxy seems largely poised to sell as a product to certain niches, as is evidenced by the average educational attainment of its members (see the Pew study, below).

I had originally intended to publish this somewhere, in a different form; I leave it here for whoever may be interested in reading it — and to justify closing a number of tabs left open on my browser. :-)

Were I to write this properly, I’d go through Durkheim, Weber, Tönnies, Berger (and Berger, and Berger), Moore, Luckmann, Bruce (and Bruce), Stout, Warner, Pitts, Chambers, Giddens, Parsons, and Táíwò. Sadly, there’s only so much time, and a man needs to work. 

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Norman Geisler on the Ascension of Jesus

This is the twenty-sixth follow-up post to Gagarin and the Seven Heavens. The evangelical Protestant apologist Norman Geisler died on the 1st of July, 2019. He was 86 years old. While he had a PhD in philosophy, he is not remembered for his contributions to that field, but applied his philosophical training to the defense of the school positions peculiar to the religious tribe of evangelical Protestant Christians — inerrantism of the Bible and such. I read him a little bit when I was nineteen, and promptly moved on to Pannenberg and Nietzsche. Most of Geisler strikes me as strangely preoccupied with something like sales — preconceiving the Bible to be a document that is divinely pristine and unerring (but confirming the historically specific tribal assumptions of evangelical Protestants), a document that is understood to be a foundation of truth, and vindicating it against anyone who would deny its normativity or trustworthiness (in the sense that Geisler wants it to be trustworthy). Recently, I recently came across his four-volume “Systematic Theology,” and wondered: what does he say about the ascension of Jesus? So I dug through it. Here is what I found.

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I cannot seem to translate the wordless words in my heart;

the young foals spill from their mother and walk in seconds; Continue reading