Theology Update for the Week of September 29

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There is a common problem in reading the book of Job, a problem that at least I have had; namely, that the speeches of Job’s friends and Job’s responses just seem like a lot of talk that doesn’t have a clear sense or logic to it. They go on for lots of chapters, but the sense is just that the friends tell Job that the evils that have come upon him indicate that he has done something wrong, that he has somehow sinned; and Job insists that he hasn’t.

So I’m delighted to report that these speeches are starting to have some sense to me, and I’m excited to be sharing that with the classes that meet on Sunday, Septmber 29 and Thursday, September 26. (They are the same class; what I do on Thursday is repeated on Sunday.) This time around the subject is chapters 4-7. Chapters 4-5 are Eliphaz’s first speech to Job; Eliphaz is the first of Job’s friends to speak. Chapters 6-7 are Job’s response. There are some very interesting things in these chapters. Join me if you can: Sunday at 10am on the 5th floor, and then on Thursday at 12:40pm on the 2nd floor. Each class lasts about 40 minutes. Each has coffee and tea, and if you come, thee.

Coming in October: a reading class in Aquinas. On Wednesday evenings at 6:30, starting October 9 and continuing October 23 and weekly thereafter, I plan to read through Questions 12 and 13 of the First Part of the Summa theologiae, which is on how God is known and what names we can literally use when we speak about God. As I mentioned last week, there is a translation of this by Herbert McCabe in the bookstore, which is a great translation but Cambridge University Press prices it at $48. Participants should feel free to consult one of the free translations on the web.

Our Lady of Alice Bhatti is a contemporary novel about a Christian woman of slum origins in Karachi, Pakistan. She has some part-time healing powers, yet all is far from miraculous. Its author, Mohammed Hanif, takes the reader into important interreligious and social-caste questions. Those who read the novel are invited to join me for the next “Good Books and Good Talk” seminar on Monday, October 28, at 6:15pm.