Talk:Adolf Harnack and the Search for Missing Christianity

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Hello David-Looks as though you enjoyed yourself and are feeling a bit more at ease with the mechanics of the wiki. I appreciate what you have written, and would like to think about the possibility that you have attempted to write a few articles in one that might need fleshing out into more extensive pieces on each. Yes, I can feel you groan - what with having invested so much into this piece alone, but it seems a piece focused upon the person of Harnack is needed in addition to a piece on the historical-critical methodology utilized by the Liberal Protestant movement that could very well utilize the extensive knowledge you hold in this area. Nevertheless, give yourself a break and just enjoy the articles you have written as they are valuable in themselves as they are. --rdavis 04:28, 9 April 2009 (EDT)

compare & contrast

David-I just uploaded an article on Harnack derived from Wikipedia. Might you consider improving it by integrating your thought into it or conversely, integrating elements of it into yours? The objective would be to have a superior biographic article--rdavis 16:12, 9 April 2009 (EDT)

Calling for an editorial meeting... : )

Hi Rob! I'll begin by pointing out that my first image in this article is anything but British and reserved; instead, it is exploding with Teutonic grandiosity! Maybe I should explain that since I have discovered your sensitivity I must now exploit it to see how much you can withstand! I did manage to restrain myself enough to hold off on the iron cross--that might have hastily ended my career here! :)

Secondly, as a writer/editor I'm very familiar with my strengths and weaknesses. Using this article as an example I will make a statement that can be generalized. You suggested (in your first note above) that this article be either (1) replaced by two separate articles, one treating Harnack in detail and one treating historical criticism in detail, or (2) the article should stay intact, but be supplemented by the two separate articles as described. I agree that that would certainly be a great contribution to the Wiki, but I'm probably not the right person to do that. The gift which God has bestowed upon me, in the mystery of his wisdom, is very distinct and very limited and I try hard to recognize it for what it is and not overstep it. That gift is the ability to plow through the caverns of massive verbosity (such as Karl Barth for instance!) and emerge with a tiny jewel called "THE ESSENCE." I then take that jewel, add it to the other jewels I have found, and string them all together into a necklace with symmetry and balance, to create a single object of--hopefully--beauty as well as usefulness. With Harnack the jewels are threefold: (a) he reversed the standard equation of authority, (b) he almost singlehandedly propagated what is still the standard in biblical scholarship, and (c) he believed that Christianity was obscuring a simple but profound truth at its own "core." In my editorial mind, that's all that matters about Harnack. To write a lengthy article on, for example, the life and times of Harnack would, for me, be tedious and dreary. And it would feel essentially like plagiarism--an agonizing exercise in finding new phrases to rewrite everything my sources were saying.

My suggestion is that you, knowing what I can and will do with written words, call upon me when "jewels and necklaces" are required and I will step up to bat as time allows! I can see where you would want to set some kind of limit on outside links, but are you opposed to the idea of using the Symposia to present an original and distinct editorial voice in support of the mission [to cast the light of general knowledge onto the path of spiritual advancement], and for general reference purposes, use quality outside links to refer readers to standard and readily available topics? (Such as I did with Fowler and Ellul).

And finally, you have raised a very good point. My article is not really about "Adolf Harnack" per se. Nor is it about Protestant liberalism or even the historical-critical method, though all those things come into play. If it is to remain posted it should be retitled according to what it really is. I will suggest "Adolf Harnack and the Search for Hidden Christianity." The first paragraph could be changed a bit to set the stage. But it's your site and I may be exploring outside of your map here. What do you think? --Davidc 17:09, 9 April 2009 (EDT)

PS: The other day (in one of our dialogues) I denied being a "Harnackian." Shortly after I posted that, I was thunderstruck by the realization (previously unconscious) that I, in fact, am a thoroughgoing Harnackian in two respects: (1) he is really the single most influential of all Christian theologians on my own life and thought, and (2) like Harnack, I am always in quest of the "kernel" of everything. I suppose the reason this has gone unrealized for so long is because way back in my early studies, Harnack sort of unconsciously became a lens through which I subsequently studied everything else. I was never looking AT the lens, just through it.

Hello David-How great to know what you love and how it relates to others!

Do I sense you may have been searching for some aesthetic/editorial parameters by your choice of images? Nevertheless, I appreciate your thought and would only encourage you to continue as you see fit. As such, it may be that the article on Harnack should be retitled as you have proposed to signify an original work that is a reflection of your own appreciation for Harnack's contribution(s). It could be linked, as we did in previous pieces, to a more 'generic' main article. What would you really like to do because I sense that will be the greatest contribution you or anyone else can make. Looking forward--rdavis 23:08, 9 April 2009 (EDT)

p.s. your love of the essence reminds me of a post on the Daynal Institute blog (Cosmographia) entitled Phenome

Liberal Theology


By the way, I put up an article on "Liberal Christianity", and when I was looking for an image, I was tempted to use this I would have titled "Tree of Knowledge"


that came from a website entitled Democratic Underground where I found a survey to identify one's 'religious profile'. You might find my results a source of humor. They are posted just below.

Religious profile.jpg

It ranks the probability from top to bottom as most amenable to least amenable. Why don't you try it and let's compare?--rdavis 01:12, 10 April 2009 (EDT)


What a coincidence.....I personally have always thought of you as a "neo-Pagan." : )

PS: Are you sure that's not the "tree of carnal knowledge"?

Well, I thought about it, but the role of incarnation in mainline Christianity suggests knowledge can't' exist without a 'body'.

uh oh...

Well one thing's for sure: we're both lousy Jehovah's Witnesses! I need to go back and retake the test and increase my belief in karma because I've just been seriously struck by it--in the future I'd better be very careful who I call a Neo-Pagan (see previous message).

1. Neo-Pagan (100%)

2. Liberal Quakers (93%)

3. New Age (91%)

4. Unitarian Universalism (84%)

5. Taoism (80%)

6. Secular Humanism (76%)

7. Mahayana Buddhism (75%)

8. Theravada Buddhism (64%)

9. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (62%)

10. Baha'i Faith (55%)

11. Orthodox Quaker (54%)

12. Scientology (54%)

13. Hinduism (51%)

14. New Thought (48%)

15. Nontheist (47%)

16. Reform Judaism (45%)

17. Jainism (44%)

18. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (43%)

19. Sikhism (41%)

20. Seventh Day Adventist (31%)

21. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (22%)

22. Eastern Orthodox (20%)

23. Islam (20%)

24. Orthodox Judaism (20%)

25. Roman Catholic (20%)

26. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (18%)

27. Jehovah's Witness (11%)

Tell me how you scored 100% liberal protestant. I'm the "thoroughgoing Harnackian" and barely registered on the scale! What did you think you were doing with this test, filling out an application with Cokesbury again? (haha).

Really?! What is the difference between "neo-Pagan" and "mainline Protestant Christianity". Oops, there goes the Cokesbury job - again.

Hahaha, if you keep being funnier than me I'm going to have to crawl away in shame!

I'm feeling the sudden urge to affiliate. Where in Mississippi is the nearest Neo-Pagan church?

That will be difficult. "Neo-Pagans" were outlawed in Mississippi by the "neo-Pagans" during desegregation.--rdavis 14:45, 11 April 2009 (EDT)

alternative images?

What-is-christianity 2.jpg Christianity?2.jpg Whatischristianity?.jpg

Vivid black and red is hard to work with as it allows no ambiguity.

or something more mysterious yet, an Anselm Kiefer piece entitled The Five Wise Virgins. Kiefer-the-five-wise-virgins.jpg

What I propose is use one image as I tend to prefer one 'iconic' piece for articles, and while a part of me prefers the Kiefer image, its meaning for this article is obscure. Otherwise, I think the first image using a question mark is effective. What do you think?--rdavis 20:20, 11 April 2009 (EDT)

Ah, still allergic to primaries! Here you go: dimension, ambiguous color, and loads of British reservedness--the best of all worlds!

I definitely don't like the purple evangelical bumper sticker. Or the scene from X-files. : )

What 3.jpg

That's great! Let's use it. What about the links and bibliographic additions? Do you have suggestions, comments, etc.?--rdavis 00:27, 12 April 2009 (EDT)

What 3.jpg

I glad you liked it or I would have wept like a 7th grader--I created it from scratch with Photoshop. [The original version was half imported, half Photoshop]. At first I thought I would do all gray just to bore you to death by going from one extreme to the other. But then it backfired on me because I really liked what was emerging. [Sigh] I hate it when you are right!

I saw that you added some very nice links!

I am glad you like the links, but if not, I promise not to cry ;-) Let me know what you think about the color adjustment. Afterwards, I thought a bit of color could make it more consonant with the overall design context. Are you wanting to retain additional images? If so, might you consider just one? Multiple images can distract from reading the written dimension of an article--rdavis 00:44, 12 April 2009 (EDT)

I noticed the coloration and thought it nicely repeated the Daynal color scheme. Regarding the proliferation of images, I thought maybe we could go into the comic book business! You have a good point but there is also the opposite argument that most humans will see a mile of text down there and give up whereas an image may draw them on down so they can see what it's context is. Of course your readers aren't "most people." That being said, let's delete the Brandenburg gate for sure, which I partially did put out there as a form of rebellion and expected you to snuff it already. Get back to "merciless editing"--you're being too nice (although I appreciate it). As for the Bible image, I kind of like it and it repeats the color theme. Maybe it's far enough down to give the eye a break. But I won't cry if it disappears one day. A big reason I do images is because I just like playing with the software. Maybe I'll compensate by adding 50 more photos to my user page!

Comic Books!

Now you're talking! Can you smell the market for "religious" humor? Not since I hosted Will Campbell and Doug Marlette at Duke Divinity School, have witnessed humor of your calibre!

I know how we can resolve the image controversy. I will select a single image that will be my "editorial signature" and I will place it at the beginning of every article. Here's my choice:

Ratfink 1.jpg

Actually, there is a way for you to assign an image to your account name, but I believe it would appear on the Scirptorium only. Nevertheless, you are really going to have to start cranking out more designs in your own image as it seems you are liable to heal with hilarity what billions of worthless US dollars could not do with technology.--rdavis 20:31, 12 April 2009 (EDT)