2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Thomas Traherne Studies and Their Future Directions/Future Directions for Traherne Studies

Friday, December 14 – Saturday, December 15

Selwyn College , Cambridge University

Thomas Traherne (c.1637-1674) was a polymath with a distinctive theological vision. He wrote extensively, but remains a relatively obscure figure in seventeenth-century studies.  Traditionally misunderstood as a figure somewhat out of his time, he is frequently considered within the contexts of medieval mysticism or post-Enlightenment Romanticism, when in fact he was strongly engaged with the thought of his age.  Traherne read, noted and wrote upon a great variety of subjects – philosophical, theological, literary and scientific – perhaps remarkably considering his geographical circumstances and the relative privacy of his life.  His works are grounded in many influences and reveal a great openness as to what writings, ancient and modern, could offer inspiration and guidance.  This is a writer that believed, rather emphatically, that it would be possible both to discover and to communicate to others the intrinsic nature of “ALL THINGS”.

The aim of this symposium is to address the interdisciplinarity of Traherne’s work, with the hope of encouraging future interdisciplinary collaboration in Traherne studies.  We are particularly interested in bringing together the endeavours of literary criticism – which cover an early and persistent association between Traherne and the metaphysical poets, the historicising of Traherne and a more recent interest in the manuscript evidence – with the fields of theology and philosophy, in which Traherne has been considered as a Christian mystic, an Anglican founding-father, a spiritual brother to the Cambridge Platonists, or a unique theological thinker with relevance to broader discussions on the practice of theology.

This will be the first academic symposium on Traherne since the discovery of the new manuscripts in 1996/7.  The works of the Lambeth Palace MS (Inducements to Retiredness, A Sober View of Dr Twisse, Seeds of Eternity and The Kingdom of God) and the unfinished biblical epic, The Ceremonial Law, have opened up previously unknown aspects of Traherne’s thought and shone new light on the more well-known poems, Centuries, Thanksgivings and Select Meditations.  We especially welcome papers that focus on the content of the Lambeth MS and The Ceremonial Law, and work that considers ways of responding to the overall question of the symposium: what is the way forward for Traherne studies?

Contacts: Cassie Gorman (ceg47@cam.ac.uk) and Beth Dodd (esd26@cam.ac.uk).

SOURCE: http://philevents.org/event/show/2998

“Peter Sterry, fast sermons and Quakerism” at Mercurius Politicus (Blog)

 

Selection:

The five sermons by Sterry that the book includes are:

  • The Spirits Conviction of Sinne. Opened in a Sermon before the Honorable House of Commons [26 November 1645].
  • The Teachings of Christ In The Soule. Opened in a Sermon before the Right Honble House of Peers, in Covent-garden-Church [March 29, 1648].
  • The Clouds in which Christ Comes. Opened in a Sermon before the Honourable House of Commons [27 October 1647].
  • The Comings Forth of Christ In the Power of his Death. Opened in a Sermon Preached before the High Court of Parliament [1 November 1649]
  • England’s Deliverance From the Northern Presbytery, compared with its Deliverance from the Roman Papacy: or A Thanksgiving Sermon Preached [5 November 1651].

This is not every sermon Sterry published, but it is nearly all of them. And they are all significant sermons: placed together, they tell something of the story of the puritan victories of the 1640s and the growth in religious radicalism that the same decade saw.

The first three are fast sermons. These had become established as a Parliamentary tradition by the 1620s and were significant in the 1640s as a venue where preachers favoured by Presbyterian and Independent grandees could be used to fly religious and political kites to an audience of MPs or peers. They stopped in 1649, at least as regular sermons, but extraordinary fast sermons carried on after that date.

The 1645 sermon is the first one Sterry ever preached to Parliament. He was chaplain to Lord Brooke, who along with other disaffected peers like the Earl of Warwick and Lord Saye and Sele had played a significant role in leading Parliamentary opposition to Charles I during the early 1640s. Brooke was shot by a sniper while laying siege to Lichfield Castle in 1643. After that, Sterry became part of the Westminster Assembly of religious divines. The sermon is fairly conventionally puritan, in that it focuses on the role of the holy spirit in redeeming the chosen. But it’s sold by Henry Overton and Benjamin Allen, booksellers with more radical sympathies. Both were partners based in Cripplegate.

The Clouds in which Christ Comes is the first sign of Sterry moving in a more radical direction. It dabbles in the mysticism of Jakob Boehme, who was a German theologian who had various personal experiences of God. It was delivered at a critical time for the Parliamentary side: a coup by the Presbyterians had been seen off but the Independents were now having to deal with Leveller influences in the army. The Putney debates started the day after this sermon was delivered. As a result, the text is rather apocalyptic. The Teachings of Christ In The Soule was preached at a time when Parliament’s relationship with the Scots had broken down, and both were preparing for war. It also shows signs of being influenced by Boehme. Both texts were sold by Robert Dawlman, a specialist in theological literature with a shop in St Paul’s Yard.

The Comings Forth of Christ In the Power of his Death marked Cromwell’s victories at Drogheda and Wexford. By this stage Sterry was preacher to the Council of State, the executive body set up after the death of Charles I which included Cromwell and various of the Independent and New Model Army grandees as its members. It was much more overtly millenarian than Sterry’s previous sermons. England’s Deliverance From the Northern Presbytery marks the defeat of the Scots at Worcester, and argues that this is a greater deliverance for England than having rid itself of Catholics.

The fact that all of these texts were collected in one place indicates someone with a significant interest in Sterry and the radical, millenarian end of puritanism. . . .

For the full blog entry see here.